For many women, passing through perimenopause and into postmenopause is something of a relief, as the transition period of menopause is often the most intense. Finally, the worries of menstruation and pregnancy are over. But postmenopause comes with its own set of symptoms and risks. One such risk that is still possible during this time is the growth of ovarian cysts – an occurrence doubly worrying since it usually associated with the reproductive life. Many women may wonder just how common ovarian cysts are during postmenopause.
What Are Ovarian Cysts?
An ovarian cyst is a sac of fluid that grows in, or on the outside of, the ovary or ovaries. They occur when a follicle fails to break open and release an egg during ovulation, and thus retain their fluid. Cysts can also happen after an egg has been released from a follicle. To be classified as an ovarian cyst, the growth must be larger than two centimeters, but cysts can grow to larger than the size of a grown man's fist.
Most of the time, even in postmenopausal women, ovarian cysts are benign. They usually don't require treatment, often disappearing by themselves. However, sometimes these cysts can become malignant or cause pain, and in these cases, treatment is required. Treatment may involve surgery, which can entail the removal of one or both ovaries in extreme cases.
Postmenopause and Ovarian Cysts
Before menopause, ovarian cysts are very common; in fact, most women will have them at some point in their lives. However, 14-17% of postmenopausal women also develop cysts, so although the risks are smaller, cysts are still possible.
There is also a small chance – about 5% – that a cyst could be cancerous, even during postmenopause. In this regard, it's good to recognize the symptoms of ovarian cysts in order to know when to see a doctor.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts during Postmenopause
Though ovarian cysts don't always cause symptoms, there are some symptoms that may indicate the presence of an ovarian cyst. The most common include:
Pain in your lower abdomen
Bloating or swelling of the abdomen
Ache of the pelvis, lower back or thighs
Pain with nausea and vomiting
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be that you have an ovarian cyst.
These are usually benign, but it is worth visiting a doctor to get symptoms checked out, even in postmenopause.
Click on the following link to learn about postmenopause.