Once you have been diagnosed with an ovarian cyst, it can be painful and scary. These cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs developed in the ovaries, develop during ovulation. Although common, most go away on their own without ever causing noticeable symptoms to the woman. Other times however, they can cause extreme pain and harsh symptoms that are too severe to ignore. The first thing to do is get an accurate diagnosis by a reputable doctor, preferably an OB/GYN (Obstetrician/Gynecologist). Be honest about your past health history. The doctor cannot give you his or her best care if they are not properly informed on your health and any risks you have. Once diagnosed, keep track of your symptoms. Mark on your calendar when certain symptoms seem to flare up, like headaches, bloating, or pain. This is important because it will show you (and your doctor) how close to ovulation some symptoms happen, which in turn will help decide your treatment. Know the full list of possible symptoms so you are fully educated.
Here is a list of the most common symptoms: Pain or swelling on or around one or both of your ovaries, bleeding that is not from your menstrual period, nausea and/or vomiting, headaches, lower back pain or ache (which may radiate down your legs), bloating, pelvic pain during sexual intercourse, pain or pressure during or after urination or bowel movements, and infertility. Sufferers can have some or all of these symptoms.
What to do
Your doctor may prescribe birth control pills in hopes of stopping ovulation, and thus eliminating your chances of producing cysts. To alleviate the pain, ask your doctor if you can take over-the-counter pain relievers, like Ibuprofen or Tylenol. Taking warm baths or using a heating pad over the painful area can help comfort swelling and hurt. Know your limits and don’t push yourself. Overdoing it will only make the pain worse later on. For nausea or vomiting, see if you can take over-the-counter medication, or try sipping soda or carbonated beverages.
Stretch or try yoga. Exercising not only can relieve menstrual cramping, but is good for you in general. Staying healthy by exercising your muscles, taking vitamins, and eating a well-balanced diet will help strengthen your body. This will also boost your immune system. Don’t be afraid to ask family or friends for help, even with simple tasks. It may be an ongoing ailment you are faced with, but that is no reason to brush it off as minor. If it is severely affecting your life, let those close to you know so. They can’t help if they don’t know how badly you are suffering. Don’t get me wrong- you don’t have to shout it from the rooftops. But, informing others who care for you and love you that you are hurting and in pain will help them cut you some slack and help out.
Make sure to get enough sleep at night, rest when you can, and relax. It may sound easier said than done since most women today juggle family, careers, school, social lives, etc. It can be a struggle to manage just the day-to-day responsibilities. While in pain on some days, know it is okay to take it easy. Put off until tomorrow what you simply cannot get to today. If you are faced with infertility, look into all of your options and find a specialist you are comfortable with. Ask for referrals for any healthcare professional you are seeing, and consider getting a second (or third or fourth) opinion from other doctors. Surgery is drastic, so see if there are any alternatives before signing up to go under the knife. Join online support groups, keep a journal, or talk to someone who will truly listen. Sometimes just venting your frustration can help alleviate some of the pain and headache.
Last and most importantly, if you experience extreme or sudden pain, heavy bleeding, or other concerns, don’t wait and see if it will go away. Call 911, contact your doctor, or go to your nearest hospital. Ovarian cysts usually aren’t cause for emergency, but it can happen. It is better to be safe than sorry.