Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Peritoneal cysts are typically benign masses of tissue that can form around the ovaries of still-fertile women, particularly after invasive pelvic surgery, injury or infection. Even though this condition can cause persistent pain, many doctors take a slow approach since the tissue usually is not malignant. When pain persists, a surgical excision may be used to remove a peritoneal cyst. In many cases, however, draining the cyst and taking contraceptive medication can ease painful symptoms.
When peritoneal fluid is not absorbed, it accumulates in and around the ovaries. This is further perpetuated when neighboring tissue becomes inflamed, and the body then produces even more peritoneal fluid to be trapped within a growing cyst. When a peritoneal cyst is suspected after a physical examination, doctors will confirm suspicions with an ultrasound, which easily reveals whether peritoneal growths have set up shop next to either ovary.
The treatment a doctor will recommend for a peritoneal cyst varies depending on a handful of factors, such as age, the severity of the pain, and whether the woman wants more children in the future. A key factor that many physicians bring up when discussing treatment with patients is how reappearance occurs in as many as half of all those who undergo surgical excision. Many immediately recommend birth control, however, to remove the ovarian impulse and shut down most production of peritoneal fluid. Pain medication often accompanies prescribed contraception in the baseline of treatment.
Invasive or non-invasive surgeries are possible, depending on the location and severity of the growths. An arthroscopic procedure allows doctors to make tiny incisions and drain cysts of much of the fluid that gives them bulk. This is not sufficient for some, especially for those who worry about losing fertility. These patients decide instead on a more invasive procedure to actually dislodge and remove the cyst. In other cases, especially when pain persists and having babies is no longer a goal, doctors recommend a hysterectomy to immediately put an end to the cysts and accompanying pain.
This reproductive condition, also referred to as a peritoneal inclusion cyst or post-operative peritoneal cyst, cannot happen to all woman. Those who have passed menopause are safe, since a condition for developing a peritoneal cyst is active ovaries. Another condition for these growths developing is problems with peritoneal absorption, commonly brought on by trauma, a previous surgical procedure, conditions like endometriosis, or even an invasive infection.