Ovarian cysts are an issue that many women have without even realizing it, either because they have no symptoms or haven't made the connection that their symptoms are anything other than regular period-related pain. If your doctor suspects that you may have ovarian cysts, you may be recommended to undergo an examination to find out for sure. Here is what you can expect from this diagnostic process.
The first thing your doctor is likely to want to do is to perform a pelvic examination, though not of the typical variety. Instead of samples being taken through the vagina, this step is usually performed by palpating the lower abdomen and pelvis.
This process allows your doctor to physically feel for anything abnormal that shouldn't be there. If the cysts are large enough, they can be felt through the belly while your doctor is pressing down. This process may be somewhat uncomfortable but is unlikely to induce any pain, and will only last for a few seconds.
Unfortunately, examinations are rarely enough to detect ovarian cysts for certain. Even if your doctor feels one, they'll likely order scans to ensure that what they're feeling is actually a cyst and not something else, like endometriosis or a tumor.
The scan that's used for this diagnostic is usually an ultrasound. The ultrasound will be taken through the pelvic wall and via the vagina, using an ultrasound wand. This process shouldn't cause any pain, though you may feel similar pressure to when your doctor was palpating the area while the ultrasound is being pressed down on your pelvis.
Once your scans have been returned to your doctor, they'll be able to tell for sure what's going on. At this point you'll likely start discussing treatment if you do indeed have ovarian cysts.
Thankfully, treatment for ovarian cysts is usually minor. Most women will be given a prescription for birth control, as the shift in hormones can help cysts to shrink in size. However, it's worth noting that in cases where cysts have grown to an extreme size or have become twisted, surgery to remove them will be recommended.
Ovarian cysts can go unnoticed for years or go even longer before they start to pose a problem. Thankfully, a few easy tests in your doctor's office can give you the answers that you need. If you've been hesitant to get tested because of fears of pain, rest assured that you shouldn't experience any either during the pelvic exam or the scans. For more information, contact a clinic like Naples Ob-Gyn.