How to Ease Pain Caused by Ovarian Cysts

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Ovarian cysts are fluid filled sac like structures that form on the inside walls of the ovary. There are numerous reasons for the formation of ovarian cysts. They can be briefly classified into two types, functional cysts and non-functional cysts. Functional cysts are formed as a normal process of the menstrual cycle. These include, follicular cysts, the most common variety, Corpus Luteum cysts that occur after ovulation and Thecal cysts. Non functional cysts include conditions where, there are many cysts in the ovary, cysts caused by endometriosis, dermoid cysts, hemorrhagic cysts, ovarian serous cystadenoma, ovarian mucinous cystadenoma, cystic adenofibroma, paraovarian cyst and borderline tumoral cysts.

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Though follicular cysts occur in women of childbearing age and disappear naturally in one to three months and are rarely painful, occasionally ovarian cysts do cause a lot of pain and discomfort as they enlarge and especially if they rupture. They also cause a lot of discomfort as they enlarge and push against the walls of the bladder or bowels, sometimes growing large enough to twist the fallopian tube to the extent that blood circulation can be cut off and surgical intervention becomes necessary. The pain caused by ovarian cysts is usually felt around the lower abdomen, with a sense of bloating and a sensation of nausea accompanying it. Pain can be felt during the menstrual cycle and during bowel movements and urination. The cysts can rupture causing a sharp shooting pain accompanied by vomiting and fever.

There are many procedures to relieve the pain caused by ovarian cysts once detected. Some pain relievers like paracetamol or acetaminophen(Panadol or Tylenol) can be administered to the patient. Also, non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen(Advil or Motrin) or even narcotic pain relief medicine can be administered as per a doctor’s prescription to help reduce pelvic pain. Non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs usually work best when administered at the first signs of ovarian cyst pain. Natural anti-inflammatory such as turmeric or ginger when taken alone or in combination can also act as a pain reliever, and has the added advantage of causing no side effects such as stomach upsets those non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other medication causes.

In case of major discomfort and signs of cramping, hot water bottles or heating pads are applied to the lower abdomen, helping the tense ovarian muscles relax and relieve cramps. A warm bath is also often prescribed. Alternately, in case circulation has been cut off, ice bags and wet towels can be applied to stimulate local circulation near the lower abdominal region. Relaxation techniques like hypnosis and guided imagery can aid the process of relieving discomfort and the symptoms that arise out of tension. Also, since ovarian cysts press against their surrounding structures, it is highly recommended that one empties their bladders whenever they feel the urge and avoid constipation.
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Methods of hormonal contraception like combined oral contraceptive pills can also be prescribed as a precautionary measure. These hormonal pills help regulate the menstrual cycles and prevent formation of cyst causing follicles. Also these pills can help shrink the size of existing cysts. The added benefit of these pills is that they reduce chances of ovarian cancer. Some doctors also recommend Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) which has a good record in curing hormonal issues in women. Traditional Chinese Medicines, focuses on acupuncture treatment in combination with various herbs and techniques that relives stress, improves blood supply and regulates hormonal imbalances that cause ovarian cysts.

Strenuous activities are to be prevented because they can lead to a rupture in the cysts or torsion causing extreme pain. It is to be noted however that if a cyst persists beyond two to three menstrual cycles, it is indicative of some underlying disease and must be thoroughly investigated by doctors. The same goes for cysts occurring in post-menopausal women. Usually these cysts are removed through surgery in a procedure named cystectomy. Occasionally the doctor may also advice to remove the affected ovary.

Although there is no particular way in which an ovarian cyst can be completely prevented, it is advised that women go in for pelvic examinations at least once in a year so that any cyst formation can be detected as early as possible. Also, one must remain vigilant for any change in their monthly cycles and any new symptoms that accompany menstruation. In such cases, one should consult their doctors for advice and proper diagnosis.

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