Discovering you have an ovarian cyst during pregnancy can be a scary thing for any woman. But in general, there is not much to worry about. Only around 0.01% of 1,000 pregnant women will have them and fortunately, the cysts are usually benign and will cause harm only when they are malignant, which is quite the rare condition to begin with. In all cases, however, the pregnant woman will definitely need immediate medical attention.
The symptoms of ovarian cysts are usually the same in both pregnant and non-pregnant women. Most women who have them will feel abdominal pain that spreads to the lower back and thighs. Both groups may feel queasiness and some may vomit. There are no ovarian cyst manifestations that are particular to pregnant women alone. With a few exceptions, treatment is basically the same for both groups.
Doctors usually order an ultrasound for pregnant women with ovarian cysts to determine whether the cyst is malignant. However, ultrasounds are not always accurate and may need to be supplemented with other tests.
A large ovarian cyst can be extremely painful for pregnant women if it grows on a stem and twists or ruptures. Although the substances inside the cyst are usually not infected, the pain can cause premature birth or miscarriage.
While a burst ovarian cyst will not stop a woman from getting pregnant or going into labor, it can cause pain for the mother. There are many pain relievers that can be used to relieve the pain without negative effects on both mother and child.
Surgically removing large ovarian cysts during pregnancy is usually not recommended unless a rupture occurs. Oftentimes, doctors will refrain from taking drastic action until later on in the pregnancy. However, it is generally accepted practice for doctors to remove ovarian cysts that are 6 to 8 cm in size. These are most likely to rupture and even if they don’t, they can cause a lot of discomfort for pregnant women. Ovarian cysts are known to grow and shrink quickly, so doctors usually adopt a “wait and see” attitude. They will only resort to surgery when it is clear that the cysts will not shrink on their own, or when they are in danger of rupturing.
Ovarian cysts are not cancerous in most cases, but they can rupture and cause a lot of pain if they are not monitored carefully. Women who are pregnant and have an ovarian cyst need to be examined frequently to ensure that they will be able to deliver their baby without too many complications.