Age 52. Year and a half postmenopausal. Six months ago during a check up and eventual ultrasound, discovered a 5 cm cyst on left ovary. I was told it was the size of a naval orange. Once diagnosed, I realized it had probably been there for a much longer time. Had been feeling very bloated, lots of pelvic pressure, constant peeing, occasional lower back pain and very tired for months before. I tend to avoid Dr's other then my yearly GYN visit when this was discovered. I've had five ultrasounds, about one every six or eight weeks since discovered, per Dr's orders and of course all the appropriate blood work which all was fine. I have breast and ovarian cancer in my family. Mom and her three sister all had breast cancer and my mom's mom died of ovarian cancer. Doc has told me it is large enough to warrant removing it when ever I decide, but as long as it is not disrupting my daily living we can continue to watch it with ultrasounds. I am so tired of having these transvaginal ultrasounds. (By the way, what a vile piece of machinery.) The last few days I have been having lots of lower back pain and groin pain. Asked doc for pain med's and was told we have to do another scan to see what is going on. She told me again that removing it might be the direction to go at this point but has also told me these things can go away own their own. Have an appointment for yet another scan next week and then a consult with her go over results. I just wish it would go away, really do not want surgery. Not that anyone does!! Open to any input, advice, suggestions, remedies...thanks ladies.
After menopause the ovaries are just not active enough to aid in natural resolution of a cyst. You have already had this thing far too long. Surgery is the only logical solution. I would suggest removal of both ovaries as well to spare you from ever dealing with this peoblem again.
I am surprised that your doctor is being so lax about this, especially since you have a family history of ovarian cancer. I think you should really consider the surgery. You are right, no one wants surgery, but if it will make you feel better and put your mind at ease, then you need to think hard about this. Good luck!
Thanks for your comments. It was interesting to hear about the ovaries not being able to help in resolution. Did not realize that. Also wondering why my doctor does not know or acknowledge this. She has lead me to believe that resolution remains a possibility. When we spoke about removing a while ago, she told me that the ovary would not necessarily have to come out, yet everything I am reading online disagrees with her. I do not know this Dr. at all. She is the MD in the practice I have been using my whole adult life. There are two mid wives there and I have been seeing them for years but after the discovery of the cyst, was turned over to the MD. I am so torn on what to do here. I completely dread the idea of being laid up...even for a week or two. I am already considering canceling the ultrasound I have this coming week since the pain I was experiencing last week is gone. All the blood work which has been done 2 times has come back fine, so I assume there is no worry about cancer. I am continuing to read through the forum for answers and guidance.
I'm also Postmenapausal and am recovering from my Laparoscopy on March 26th for removal of an ovary and a 5+ cm cyst. I was diagnosed by a Gynecologist and he didn't seem to be too worried about my cyst. I did some research on my own, which included finding this site and reading all the posts for other postmenapausal women that have had the cysts. Based on everything I had read I found a Gynecologic/Oncologist and went to him for a second opinion. He felt that my age and my PM status warranted removal as it would not/could not resolve itself when you're postmenapausal.
I'm really shocked that your Dr is not being more proactive about your cyst considering your PM status, but most importantly, the ovarian cancer history in your family. I'll give you the same advice I was given, and that was to find a Gynecologic/Oncologist to handle this situation, and don't rely on your regular MD - who it doesn't seem is knowledgeable about ovarian cysts - nor about the consequences of postmenapausal cysts. No one wants to face surgery, but I need to express the relief that I feel having had the surgery and knowing that the situation has been taken care of. The pain after surgery is manageable and the peace of mind you will feel afterwards will be immense.
Good luck to you and pls let us know what transpires.
Thank you for sharing your story. Glad to know you are feeling better. I am also thrilled I found this site. The support from other women who have similar stories has been priceless. Until I read through the posts, I had no idea this cyst would not resolve on it's own. I have been waiting and hoping for months for it to disappear. I am very puzzled and now concerned as to why my doctor would not know this. In all fairness to her, I have not pressured her at all to have the cyst removed. She has been telling me all along that it can come out when I am having pain or the discomfort becomes to much to deal with. I am normally not an alarmist and decided the mild discomfort and occasional pain was certainly easier to deal with then surgery. I have another ultrasound tomorrow and then will meet with the MD on Friday. I will keep you posted. Thanks again....
Just a few more comments.... I was not having severe pains regularly before my cyst was discovered, but did have some discomfort occasionally and didn't know what was causing it. I certainly had no idea it was an ovarian cyst, in fact knew nothing about them until I found this site and started researching about the cysts, the symptoms, etc. I then discovered that lots of symptoms I was having were coming from this cyst - and I had thought they were unrelated, and probably just some of the charm of growing older (LOL).
When the cyst was found I did lots of research and what concerned me (scared me) was the fact that ovarian cysts don't always present themselves obviously, and can be present for many years before they are diagnosed as ovarian cancer and by then its in a later stage.......that's why its known as "the Silent Killer". I'm not telling you this to scare you Lori - just to share my thought processes when I discovered that I had a cyst. Obviously they're not always cancerous but the only way they can determine that is with a Laparoscopy. So, my decision was fairly easy and I did not want to "wait and watch" and have continuous ultrasounds and continual worry. I had 2 ultrasounds and after the second one with no change, I opted for the Lap procedure and removal of the cyst and the ovary. Now that it's behind me I feel like a major weight has been lifted off my shoulders. And, I had my post-op yesterday afternoon with the Gyn/Onc that did the surgery and he told me the pathology report showed the cyst was benign, and also that he looked at the other ovary and everything looked fine there. So, I'm looking forward to total recuperation in a few weeks and then all will be back to normal.
Do let us know what your MD says at your next visit. Best to you.
I agree with the others about having the cyst removed. 5 cm is kind of borderline as to size but why wait for it to grow. It's not likely to resolve on its own, you have a family history of cancer and if it does grow, it makes removal by laparoscope more difficult. It would be better to have to out by scope than needing an open incision - quicker recovery and less risk that way.
Like you I was having symptoms for quite a while that I know now are clearly being caused by the cyst. I also thought all the aches and pains, especially the lower back pain were signs of getting older and read little into them. I assumed they could tell from all these ultrasounds and the blood work that there is no cancer present. After all my research I found this not to be true in some cases. I have great insurance and that is not a worry but my dr. told me that this could only be removed by incision and that it is not out patient...which is the part of my hesitation Today was my fifth ultrasound since last Oct. and was told unofficially by the tech that is was a bit bigger. She told me the reason I am having so much back pain is that the cyst in behind the ovary. ?? I have my appointment with my dr on Friday to go over the results and talk about a plan...as she puts it. I do want to feel better and as you put it have this weight lifted off my body and my mind. I also ponder whether mild to moderate discomfort justifies surgery. I am glad to know you are fine and are on the mend. I wonder though, can the cysts grow back and then you are back to square one?
You mentioned the cyst growing...it has remained the same for several months, as long as we have been aware of it anyhow. Was told just today that it is only slightly bigger. It also could have been measured off here and there each time and not have grown at all. I have to admit, up until reading posts on this site, I had high hopes of it resolving. I wonder what the odds are of it getting any larger after remaining the same for so long now. You mentioned it being borderline in terms of size. That is another reason I have opted for the wait and watch theory. I have never had any serious conversation with my doctor on details of removing it. I do remember her telling me it is in-patient and is done by incision. This seems to disagree with all I am reading here. I see her Friday to go over results...I will post then.
If your doctor is talking about a Laparoscopy, it is an out-patient procedure. Only if they decide during the surgery that it is more serious, or cancerous, then they may need to switch to a Laparotomy, which is the larger horizontal incision. Also, my understanding is that the standard procedure is to have a Gyn/Onc available should cancer be found during the Laparoscopy. Finding this out is one of the reasons that I felt more comfortable having the Laporoscopic surgery performed by a Gynecolog/Oncologist - this is his specialty and he does this type of surgery day in and day out - and can handle any surprises that may surface during the surgery.
As for the borderline size - the general rule of thumb, particularly for post menopausal women, is 5 cm - in which case they usually go with removal.
Regarding the ultrasounds and your cyst growing - that would concern me and I would think should concern your doctor - if in fact it actually has grown. My gynecologist told me that my cyst had shrunk a teeny bit when he had my second ultrasound ordered. I didn't believe that, as one has to ovulate for cysts to reduce or dissipate, and I haven't ovulated in years. When I asked the Gyn/Oncologist that I then switched to if he thought it had shrunk, he agreed with me and said that it had just been viewed from a different angle by the lab tech and reported a little differently.........it was the same size. Even though it had not grown, he still believed that it should be removed due to its 5+ cm size.
Since cysts can grow back, the Gyn/Onc also recommended that we remove the ovary along with the cyst - to ensure that no future cysts occur and to remove the possibility of cancer. That is always a possibility and with your family history of ovarian cancer, I would think it would be something to consider as a future preventative for your health and safety.
Pls keep us posted on what your doctor says and what you decide to do.
Thanks again for your reply. I appreciate you taking time during your recovery to share your experience. I honestly do not know which procedure she mentioned. The conversation was on the phone and was a quick one. All I remember her saying was that it is not out patient, because that has been my biggest concern since this nightmare began...having to stay in the hospital. Other then having my 2 children I have never had any hospital stay. Probably sounds trivial in the grand scheme of things, but I dread the idea never the less. Now that this question has come to light, I will ask her on Friday just exactly what the process is for having it removed, among other questions. This will be only my second sit down with her since the cyst was discovered. All of our communications have been on the phone after each scan or the blood work.
About the cyst size....early on is this process, after one of the scans, the MD left a message on my cell telling me call her back with the update and mentioned that it was a tiny bit smaller. Then when I actually spoke with her, she said she had misspoken, that it was exactly the same size. Now that I think back over some of our conversations, I do feel that she has been inconsistent with some her thoughts along the way. I need to gather my thoughts and questions and be armed when I go see her on Friday. I feel like I should be more concerned and worried, but she has never seemed alarmed or shown any urgency with this so I felt secure her hands. Originally I was grateful for the fact that she was not putting pressure on me to remove the cyst or making me feel that it was anything but benign. Now I am wondering if she is on target.
Thanks for your concerns. I probably sound like I am whining...just hate the idea of being laid up. I have not slept well the last couple of nights in anticipation of my sit down with the MD on Friday. I kept hoping with each scan that it would be smaller but I think I am going to have to admit to myself that it's not likely to happen. Lot's to think about and decide on. I will keep you posted...
Have not been on in quite some time. After seeing my doctor in April, I decided to leave the cyst and return in Oct. for my yearly check up. That did not last long since in late May the pain became unbearable and I called my doctor and told her I think the time had come to remove it. She told me to come in so we could go over the whole procedure and hoped since the only abdominal surgery I had was a tubal that she could go through the belly button. At that time we still believed the cyst to be about 5cm. This was May 25th. She wanted to examine me and do another vaginal ultrasound since she suspected from my pain level that the cyst had grown. I was feeling good about the removal since she said laparoscopic and only overnight in the hospital. She could not guarantee all this since it could all change once she was inside, but I was hoping it would go as planned. We set a date for June 3rd. On June 1, I had the ultrasound and on June 2 she called me at work to tell me the cyst was now 7+ cm and she would have to cut, lap was no longer an option. I was devastated and stressed since she changed the stay from overnight to 3 nights. She also told me my uterus which should be about 2 to 3 inches thick was 13 inches. She had no idea why that had happened but wanted me to know what was going to happen going into the surgery the next day. Had the surgery the next morning, June 3rd and did stay 3 nights as she indicated. She said the cyst was a bit larger then a softball and looked like a bunch of grapes, she also did a D+C. Afterwards she told me the cyst was completely benign and had sent the uterine scraping for biopsy. I had the staples out this past Wednesday and she told me the pathology came back completely fine...cancer free, so that was wonderful to hear. She still had no explanation on why my uterus thickened since the cyst was not a hormone releasing kind. I am sorry I did not decide to have the cyst out earlier since it probably would have come through the scope, but all is done and I am feeling good. She wants me out of work for six weeks which is already driving me a bit nutty. I wanted everyone to know how grateful I was to find this site and through all your comments and concerns was able to find the courage to move forward on this and not continue to live in pain.
I am 64 have no history of family cancer but had a partial hysterectomy in 1984 and now have a complex ovarian cyst 9 cm and a SLIGHTLY elevated CA125 and cancer tests. I have had pain for several months on the right side even though the cyst is on the left. I am having surgery tomorrow to remove it but am scared that it may be malignant. The oncologist says that it appears to be two cysts grown together.
Anyone gone thru this?
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