Menstruation is a normal process of the female reproductive system in which vaginal bleeding occurs. This process is very important for a woman to maintain a healthy body. The menstrual cycle can be disturbed due to many different reasons resulting in irregular periods, which may include hormonal changes, PCOS, very high or very low body weight, birth control pills, and other medications. In addition, a disorder known as ovarian cysts can also lead to complications in the menstrual cycle. Are you struggling with your menstrual cycle? Are you worried that you may have an ovarian cyst? You don’t need to worry anymore because we are here to answer all your questions related to irregular periods, PCOS, and ovarian cysts.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs formed in the ovaries. These cysts are very common and many women have ovarian cysts at some point in their lifetime. The common symptoms of ovarian cysts are severe pelvic pain, pain during sexual intercourse, bloating, difficulty emptying your bowels, etc.
Most cysts are painless and only require watchful waiting as they often go away on their own. But if your ovarian cyst ruptures, you may face many complications that may lead to ovarian cancer. Ovarian cysts can cause many problems in the menstrual cycle, such as low or heavy bleeding and irregular cycles. The vast majority of women with ovarian cysts have reported period cycles of 48-60 days.
Types Of Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts can be divided into two types, functional ovarian cysts, and non-functional ovarian cysts. Out of these two, functional cysts are more common and can further be divided into two types:
A follicle is a structure from which an egg is released during ovulation. If for some reason the follicle does not rupture, the fluid inside the follicle can form a cyst.
Corpus Luteum Cysts
After the egg is released from the follicle, it disintegrates into a yellowish mass called corpus luteum. If for some reason the follicle does not dissolve and its opening seals, this fluid-filled sac can develop a cyst inside it.
In addition to these, other types of ovarian cysts are:
- Dermoid Cysts: These are sac-like outgrowths present on the ovary, containing hair, tissues, and fats. Usually, dermoid cysts are non-cancerous, but in very rare cases they can develop into cancerous cysts.
- Cystadenomas: These are non-cancerous outgrowths formed on the outer surface of your ovary. These are classified as borderline tumors
- Endometriomas: In this type, the tissue that grows inside the uterus starts to grow outside it and results in the formation of a cyst. These cysts are often referred to as chocolate cysts because of their dark brown discoloration.
Do Ovarian Cysts Cause Positive Pregnancy Test?
Generally, ovarian cysts do not interfere with the results of a pregnancy test, but a certain type of ovarian cysts can alter the results of a pregnancy test. This type of ovarian cyst is called the corpus luteum cyst.
A corpus luteum is a fluid-filled mass that forms in your ovary and is a part of your normal menstrual cycle. This yellowish mass remains in your ovary after the egg is released. After some time, this mass disintegrates.
However, if the yellowish mass is filled up with blood or other fluids, it may turn into a cyst. Corpus luteum cysts produce HCG hormone, which helps indicate conception and alters the accuracy of a pregnancy test. To avoid this, consult a doctor who may recommend a urine, blood test, or ultrasound exam that will give an accurate result.
What Is PCOS?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a very common disorder of the female reproductive system. In this disorder, there is a hormonal imbalance in your body caused by the ovaries, which are responsible for producing eggs for fertilization.
In PCOS, the ovaries produce an excess of male sex hormones. These male hormones are also present in the female body but are secreted in a small amount. Women with PCOS have high amounts of hormones called androgens in their bodies, which result in an imbalance of other hormones. This leads to delayed periods, along with low and heavy bleeding.
In this disorder, a large number of small cysts are formed in the ovaries, but some women with PCOS may not develop any cysts, while some may develop complicated cysts without polycystic ovary syndrome.
Effects Of PCOS
Polycystic ovarian syndrome has many adverse effects on the female body. These may include severe acne and the growth of unwanted hair around the body. But the more problematic effects of PCOS are the unseen ones. Some of these effects are mentioned below:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Endometrial cancer
- Weight gain
- Anxiety and depression
- Heart disease
In addition, women with PCOS often have difficulty getting pregnant and can develop complications like preterm labor, gestational diabetes, etc. So if you are suffering from PCOS, it is in your best interest to contact a doctor who may help you make the best decisions for your body.
PCOS And Periods What Should I Know?
PCOS has significant effects on your periods. These effects can result in several complications, one of which is infertility. Therefore, to deal with these complications, a woman needs to understand how PCOS can affect her normal menstrual cycle. The following is a list of common characteristics of periods under the influence of PCOS.
1. Irregular Periods
In women, periods normally occur at specific time intervals. Though, it is normal for a period to be a little too early or late. But if your periods are very irregular, this may be a sign of PCOS. An irregular period can be defined as cycles that last more than 35 days or occur eight or fewer times each year.
2. No Periods At All
It is very common for women suffering from PCOS to not have their periods for 3 or more consecutive cycles. This condition is termed Amenorrhea, a leading cause of infertility in women. Therefore, you should keep track of your periods.
3. Very Heavy Bleeding
Women suffering from PCOS have low levels of progesterone in their bodies, which leads to excessive bleeding during the menstrual cycle. This condition is called Menorrhagia. Women with this condition can pass up to 80ml of blood during periods.
4. PCOS Causes Painful Periods
Pelvic and abdominal pain are a normal part of the menstrual cycle. The vast majority of women experience sharp pain during periods, which causes slight discomfort, but women suffering from PCOS experience excruciating and unbearable pain. Keep in mind that this severe pain may have another cause. It is in your best interest to visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Can I Get Pregnant With PCOS?
Yes, having PCOS does not mean that you can’t have a baby. In PCOS, your ovaries produce eggs and ovulation occurs, so you can get pregnant. But PCOS may make it a little harder for you to get pregnant. To deal with this, you can follow the tips below:
- Take Care Of Your Weight: PCOS tends to cause women to gain weight. This weight gain can make it difficult for you to conceive. To deal with this, talk to your doctor about the weight you need to lose before getting pregnant.
- Healthy Diet: Being active and eating healthy foods will help you develop a healthy environment for your fetus.
- Track Your Ovulation: This helps you get a better idea about the days of the month in which you have a higher chance of getting pregnant.
- Blood Sugar Level: Blood sugar level is an important factor in getting pregnant. You should try to keep track of your blood sugar level with the help of a blood test.
Trying to get pregnant with PCOS can be a tricky task, but it is not impossible. You can always talk to a doctor about your problems, and they will help you make the best decisions for your body.
Symptoms of PCOS
Typically, women discover PCOS when they start gaining weight or have trouble getting pregnant. The symptoms of PCOS are seen at the time of the first period. The most common symptoms of PCOS are:
- Irregular Periods: As discussed above, women with PCOS have an irregular cycle, some women have eight periods or fewer in a year. This is because of a lack of ovulation.
- Hair Growth: Most women with PCOS have a condition called hirsutism in which there is excessive growth of hair on one’s face and body.
- Acne: The male hormones secreted during PCOS causes the skin to become oiler, leading to breakouts on the face, chest, and upper back area.
- Weight Gain: Women with PCOS tend to be obese and overweight.
- Darkening Of Skin: In PCOS, dark patches of skin are formed in areas like the breast, neck, and, groin.
- Headaches: Hormonal changes can lead to headaches in some women.
If you are experiencing any of these aforementioned symptoms, you should contact a doctor for a proper diagnosis. The healthcare provider might conduct some tests like a pelvic exam, blood tests, and an ultrasound scan.
Though there is no specific cause of PCOS, research shows that it has a connection with the following factors:
50% of women with PCOS tend to have an immediate family member who suffers from the same complication. But so far no single gene is found to be responsible for PCOS.
An imbalance of hormones like androgen and insulin is a symptom of PCOS. This hormonal imbalance can affect the activity of other hormones that control the proper functioning of your menstrual cycle. 85% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, which in turn leads to an increase in the production of male hormones like androgens. These androgens cause symptoms like acne, scalp hair loss, and excessive hair growth.
Weight And Lifestyle
Women who are overweight are at a higher risk of getting PCOS as compared to slimmer women. This occurs because overweight women have worse insulin resistance. As mentioned above this insulin resistance plays a key role in the development of PCOS. To deal with this, you should have a properly balanced diet.
Is Ovarian Cyst Curable?
In the vast majority of cases, ovarian cysts disappear after a few months without requiring any treatment. But some cysts require surgery. If your cysts start to grow larger, or if you start developing symptoms, you may need to get proper treatment. The type of surgery done depends upon the appearance of the cyst on the ultrasound, the two procedures that can be done are:
- Laparotomy: this procedure is done if the cyst is enlarged. Enlarged cysts are at a higher risk of being cancerous.
- Laparoscopy: In this procedure, a small camera is inserted into your abdomen in order o view your reproductive organs and pelvic cavity. The ovarian cysts are removed by tiny incisions.
Both of these procedures can help you get rid of the cysts and save you from any severe complications.
Ovarian cysts are very common and tend to go away on their own, but if these cysts don’t disappear, they can cause several health complications. In order to get rid of these cysts, doctors perform procedures like laparotomy and laparoscopy.
PCOS is a disorder in which numerous small cysts are formed in the ovaries; this causes many problems in the menstrual cycle like irregular periods and low and heavy bleeding. In addition, women with PCOS have symptoms like excessive hair growth, acne, weight gain, and headaches. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact a doctor because this can ultimately lead to infertility in women.