At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 176
actually produce cysts each month as part of the monthly
cycle, which appear and disappear of their own accord.
Similarly, in post-menopausal women, it is not unusual
for the ovaries to briefly spring back into action and
produce ovarian cysts, many of which are benign; however,
it is important to realise that if you are a post-menopausal
woman, the risk of an ovarian cyst being malignant, and
caused by ovarian cancer, is significantly greater.
Symptoms of ovarian cysts vary considerably, according
to the size and type of cyst. It may cause few symptoms
other than a feeling of abdominal bloating, or pressure on
the bladder (causing either difficulty passing urine or
more frequency) or bowel (causing constipation
or diarrhoea). Other cysts may be the cause of
irregular bleeding, pelvic discomfort during sex
(dyspareunia) or pelvic pain.
These symptoms can also be a sign of
ovarian cancer and, although this is rare
WHILE WE HAVE TO
in pre-menopausal women and very
rare in women under 40 years old, if
DONT HAVE TO SUFFER
you have these symptoms it is crucial to get
EXTREME PAIN. SEEK HELP
checked out, just in case.
IF YOU ARE IN AGONY
Sarah 38, was sent for tests after
visiting her GP with a swollen belly and
constipation. 'I worried at first, but my
doctor reassured me that even if it was a cyst,
the vast majority were benign. An ultrasound
showed a cyst, but the gynecologist recommended
keeping an eye on it. At the follow up scan three
months later, it had gone.'
Where an ovarian cyst is causing few symptoms,
provided the blood tests and scan show no cause for
concern, the cyst may disappear without treatment so a
'watch and wait' approach is usually recommended. Where
there are more significant symptoms that may cause the
doctor concern, laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery is often the
best choice to remove the cyst, leaving the ovary behind, a
procedure called a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy.
A 'HEAVY' FEELING
IT COULD BE: A PROLAPSE
Pelvic prolapse is a very common condition and affects
about 20-30% of adult women. Approximately 11% of
women will require surgery for prolapse during their
lifetime.* Contrary to popular belief, the pelvic floor is not
just made up of muscles but also ligaments, blood vessels,
nerves and connective tissue. Damage to any of these
structures may lead to problems with support of the pelvic
organs, causing prolapse. The causes are as varied as the
symptoms, although childbirth is often one.
A prolapse of the bladder into the front wall of the vagina
is called a cystocele. If the rectum bulges into the back
wall of the vagina this is called a rectocele; if the uterus
prolapses this is called uterine prolapse.
Symptoms vary according to which area has collapsed,
but include difficulty with intercourse, the need to go to the
toilet more often or more suddenly, difficulty in emptying
the bladder or bowel and recurrent urinary infections.
'I suffered from a bladder prolapse after my third child,'
says Kate, 45. 'I had a feeling of fullness in my vagina and
could feel a bulge when I inserted my finger into my vagina.
I plucked up the courage to see my GP, who was great.
176 | FEBRUARY 2018