Most ovarian cysts are small, benign (non-cancerous), and cause no symptoms. Dermoid cysts often occur in young women. They can grow quite large and often contain odd contents such as hair, parts of teeth or bone, fatty tissue, etc. These cysts develop from cells which make eggs in the ovary and have the potential to develop into any type of cell. In about 10% cases, a dermoid cyst develops in both ovaries. Dermoid cysts can range in size from a centimeter up to 45 cm in diameter. Most of the dermoid cysts resolve and disappear within a few months, especially when they are small. In a small fraction of cases they may become malignant. They often tend to run in families.
Most dermoid cysts cause no symptoms and are therefore diagnosed by chance, during a routine pelvic examination, or an ultrasound scan for other reasons. Symptoms may include pain or discomfort in lower abdomen, which may be constant or intermittent. Periods sometimes become irregular. The cyst may bleed into itself or burst causing sudden severe pain. Occasionally, the cyst may twist on itself cutting off the blood supply to the ovary. Both these are surgical emergencies and need to be diagnosed and treated accordingly. If symptoms are suggestive of an ovarian dermoid cyst the doctor may perform a vaginal examination. An ultrasound scan can confirm the size and type of the ovarian cyst. Certain blood tests may also be ordered.
Treatment depends on age, whether the patient is post menopausal, the appearance and size of the cyst, and severity of symptoms. Removal of the dermoid cyst is usually the treatment of choice. This can be done by laparotomy or laparoscopy. Unless the cyst involves the entire ovary, the ovary is usually left behind. Removal of the dermoid does not affect the fertility of the patient. Sometimes the dermoid cyst may be associated with pregnancy. This presents a dilemma of balancing the risks of surgery and anesthesia versus the risks of untreated adnexal mass. The skill and experience of the surgeon in such cases is very important.
Since dermoid cysts cannot be prevented, maintaining the health and function of the ovary is vital. A holistic medicine practitioner will help you chalk out a personal program. Since the symptoms are of least importance in a holistic medicine program, it does not interfere with conventional medicines. In fact, it complements it by augmenting the body's own healing powers, reducing the side effects of medications, and restoring affected tissues and their function. This ensures a return of health and the disease disappears on its own.