Cysts, polyps and fibroids are fairly common and often easily treated. However, whilst they may share similar symptoms such as unusual bleeding and pain, they are different conditions that require different treatment.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on an ovary. Most ovarian cysts can go away on their own, although they can prevent you from getting pregnant and have potential to grow large enough to block the blood supply to the ovary.
The symptoms of ovarian cysts include:
Pain during sex
Difficulty emptying your bowels
Frequent need to urinate
Unusual bloating and a swollen tummy
Feeling very full quickly
Many women will experience an ovarian cyst at some point in their lifetime, and they often go away on their own. However, if you experience the above symptoms and if you have sudden severe onset of pain then you should see a professional as it is possible for cysts to rupture.
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths in and around the uterus.
Often, fibroids don't cause any symptoms but some women do experience:
heavy or painful periods
lower back pain
a frequent need to urinate
pain during intercourse
Whilst fibroids do not stop you conceiving, they may impact on your fertility.
Polyps are non-cancerous tumours formed when the lining of the uterus, doesn’t shed as it normally would during menstruation.
Some people don't experience many symptoms, while some may experience:
Bleeding between periods
Unusually heavy periods
Postmenopausal vaginal bleeding
Difficulty getting pregnant
Depending on if you have cysts, fibroids or polyps you may be offered medication to either help control and regulate your hormones, or medication to help reduce your symptoms.
If you require surgery, you may well be offered minimal access surgery such as a laparoscopy or hysteroscopy.
A laparoscopy procedure is where a very small incision is made near your belly button and a device with a camera on the end is inserted and the images displayed on a screen. Instruments to perform your treatment are inserted through another small incision and your gynaecologist performs surgery while looking at the display screen. Gas is usually pumped into the abdomen to create more space for your surgeon to see what they are doing inside.
A hysteroscopy is when a speculum is inserted into the vagina to enable your surgeon to open your cervix. A small tube with a light and camera on it is inserted to allow your surgeon to examine your uterus and other surrounding areas. Surgical tools can be passed along the hysteroscope to perform the treatment required.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms for ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids and polyps, make sure you get seen by a professional to get treated and rule out anything serious.
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