Being diagnosed with an ovarian cyst might be alarming at first, but ultimately, it's a benign condition that shouldn't pose a serious risk to your health. Even so, ovarian cysts can make periods for women much more painful than average. If you're wondering why this is and what options you have available to you, keep reading.
What They Are
Ovarian cysts are essentially small pouches of tissue that develop on or around the ovaries. Depending on the type of cyst, these tissue pouches may either be empty, full of fluid, or even contain strange bodily substances in them. For example, some ovarian cysts have been found to contain things like bits of bone. These aren't from a fetus but are actually your own tissue that's mistakenly growing in the cyst. Although it may strike you as gross, it's still ultimately harmless, so you don't need to worry too much about it.
How They Impact Periods
Ovarian cysts do two main things when you have a period. The first is that they tend to swell when the hormones in your body shift in order to prepare it for a period. This swelling can put additional pressure and weight on the ovaries and even the uterus, depending on the size and location of the cyst. This can lead to an uncomfortable bloated or swollen feeling in your abdomen and groin that only comes around when you're on your period.
The other problem is that some ovarian cysts contain uterine tissue. When they do, the uterine tissue responds to hormone changes by actually bleeding inside the cyst, just like uterine tissue in the uterus does during a period. This won't injure you, but it can cause a lot of discomfort.
What to Do About It
There are two main things you can do about ovarian cysts, depending on the severity and how bad the symptoms you're going through are.
The first is to ask your doctor about birth control pills. By controlling the hormonal shifts in your body, you can reduce the discomfort of your periods, and your ovarian cysts may actually shrink as a result.
Additionally, surgery is an option. Surgery is usually only utilized when ovarian cysts are large and causing a lot of pain, but it is a possibility for you.
While ovarian cysts are benign, that doesn't mean that they're always pleasant to have. Talk to a doctor or gynecologist if you have questions or concerns or are just tired of hurting.