I am new to this site and recently had a complex ovarian cyst that resolved on its own (thankfully). Now here's my statement/question, and I look forward to hearing any and all opinions...
I believe, due to my symptoms for this cyst, that this is not the first time I've had an ovarian cyst. My symptoms pertaining to the cyst have been extreme bloating on and off, pain in my sides (alternatively), irrregual menstrual cycles, etc. I am 39 years old (about to be 40) and I would have sworn I was perimenopausal. I am a textbook case.
- PMS regarding irritability, anxiety, hunger, aches, etc.
- Bloating and fluxuating bowel issues prior to menstruation.
- Hot flashes and night sweats (during the 2 weeks prior to menstruating)
Then when I get my period, it's like sweet relief. So basically two weeks out of every month, on average, I am a physical and psychological mess.
Now, I have had bloodwork done three times, and all my hormone levels and thyroid levels come back normal. My GP has said that ovarian cysts do not effect hormone levels. But I wonder.
So, ladies....what are your views of ovarian cysts causing perimenopausal-like physical and psychological problems? Or do we just call it perimenopause?
I ask because I am at my wit's end about hormonal treatment for the two weeks prior to my period. I don't want to do it, but I may have to slap a patch on my arm before I slap my husband.
Any discussion most appreciated on this topic of "cysts vs. perimenopause" (or both) causing problems.
Ovarian cysts in and of themselves probably do not cause the hormonal imbalance that you are describing, although quite rarely there is a type of cyst that actually produces a specific hormone, be it progesterone or estrogen or testosterone or whatever. However, when you are ovulating and therefore making cysts (we grow cysts on our ovaries every month and one of these breaks open about fifteen days after the start of our period in order to release a egg into our uterus .. the other less dominant cysts regress back into our ovaries) you are experiencing a specific hormonal condition and between ovulation and your period is when you would be feeling the premenstrual syndrome which typically includes the symptoms that you are describing. In perimenopause this things are magnified.
I am 42 years of age and two years ago I decided to go off the birth control pill due to irregular bleeding (after twenty years of being on it and feeling OK). At that point, I began to ovulate again and although the irregular bleeding stopped and I began to have regular periods again, they found a very large ovarian cyst on my left ovary which is now so large that it has to be removed with surgery. I am very curious to know what type of cyst this is (serous, dermoid, mucinous, follicular ...) because I go through absolutely "furious" episodes. I don't know what comes over me and my husband is at my mercy during these times. I hope that this will go away when they remove the cyst but I suspect not. I genuinely think that when we are ovulating, we are going through some sort of hormonal process that has an emotional impact on us.
At perimenopause I think that this process is magnified because we begin to experience much larger imbalances in our hormones so where before we were slightly imbalanced the difference is much greater now. As our ovaries begin to shrink and become irregular in their hormone production, we begin to become affected. I think that the cysts come about as a result of this rather than the other way around. The only difference between a regular ovarian follicle and an ovarian cyst is the size. Anything less than 2 cms is a follicle, anything larger is a cyst. Therefore having say too much estrogen or not enough will either stimulate the ovaries to produce larger cysts (therefore more fluid in the abdomen when the cyst bursts open to release the egg and more bloating since your body has to absorb this) or have no cysts at all(therefore no ovulation and no period for that month). These ups and downs will inevitably cause emotional side effects. I personally feel so furious sometimes that I am wondering if I shouldn't begin to chop wood or something in order to take out my anger on something other than my husband (although on second thought perhaps putting an axe in my hand at that time is not such a good idea ).
I am not sure that having the hormones checked will provide an answer unless you have them checked several times over a few menstrual cycles. Hormones fluctuate and they can be normal at one point, and abnormal at another. Medicine is extremely imprecise when it comes to this although I imagine an endocrinologist would probably be better at looking at these things than say a gynecologist.
I am also not convinced that synthetic hormones are the answer. I was on birth control pills for twenty years and am convinced that this is what caused my ovarian cyst. Yes pills are supposed to reduce your risk for ovarian cysts but this is because they are anti ovulants so naturally they would reduce and even eliminate functional ovarian follicles (well duh !). My cyst is obviously not functional and I am not convinced that keeping a woman from ovulating for a long period of time is such a good idea. I regret not having thought of this before (I had expressed my concerns about long term side effects to my doctor about ten years ago who said that there is nothing to worry about and that I could remain on oral contraceptives until menopause .. I am now dying to forcefully feed these things to him on a daily basis and see how he likes the side effects). Please also know that the FDA has advised that the patch in particular results in a greater amount of estrogen being absorbed by the body because the hormones are absorbed directly into the blood stream through the skin rather than going through the intestines. These damned risks are never discussed or publicized on those TV commercials for hormonal contraceptives (they are only obsessed with showing pretty polka dotted bags and pretty girls in high heels .. this, in my opinion, is ethically criminal and it infuriates me).
Know your options before making a decision. You may want to pick up a copy of Dr. Christiane Northrup's book called The Wisdom of Menopause. This book is immensely informative and when I read the beginning of the book, which describes how the doctor herself felt when she began to experience the first inklings of perimenopause, I almost broke down and cried because I knew that I was not going crazy (like my husband thought). She describes this time of life as a change which brings about self realization and forces us to get to know ourselves. She explains medically the physical aspects of what women go through and also the mental aspects. She also offers solutions and advises us to seek out what is best for us because each woman is different. Isn't that a thought .. hormone replacement treats all women the same (same dosage for everyone).
Sorry this is so long but I am going through some of the same things that you are so don't despair. Hopefully our husbands will survive this time of our lives and so will we. Hang in there and all the best to you.
I have three books on Perimenopause and the "natural progesterone" solution from when this started back when I was around 33 (am now almost 40). Northrup is an excellent read so great suggestion. I know something is going on that is clearly hormone driven. I view myself as a pretty high-functioning Perimenopausal woman, but I understand completely about getting the fury. Some get the serious blues, but I just get so irritated and angry I realize myself how irrational it is looking outside in. And it definitely runs the two-week course between ovulation and period.
I deal better, frankly, with the emotional side than the physical (bloating, heavy painful breasts, heart palpitations, hot flashes/night sweats, etc etc). The progesterone cream has not worked for me (nor any other holistic treatments - cohosh, soy, etc).
I think what started my view on ovarian cysts causing serious hormonal issues is the reading I have done that states some ovarian cysts cause symptoms that one would feel when pregnant. I have even thought - and I am not one for surgery - if it would be better to no longer ovulate electively. (???) I do not want children, but I doubt any physician would allow elective removal of both ovaries, and then I suppose one has to start hormone therapy. I have no idea.
At any rate, I have decided to look into whether my insurance provider will allow me a trip to an endocrinologist. I doubt it, but I'm to the point to where I'll just pay for it (thorough testing) to see what's what.
Hormone replacement therapy is not at all appealing to me, but I may buckle in the future.
Boy I sure hope you're right. I am having my huge 9 cm cyst removed sometime in April (still awaiting my gyne's schedule). It would sure be a blessing not to have this rage. Mine seems to occur around ovulation but only lasts a few days and not the full two weeks until my period. I do not think I am in full blown peri just yet but I sure get screwed up around ovulation time (horny AND upset all at the same time, if you can believe it so it MUST be the hormones). I still wonder if it is the ovaries that cause both the emotional ups and down in addition to the cysts, rather than the cysts causing the emotional upheaval. At any rate, I will loose my right ovary along with this cyst. Quite obviously, this thing is not working properly.
I am not sure if they would put you on HRT at your age, most likely yes. Surgical menopause is supposed to be quite severe so having both ovaries removed will probably make the problem worse, at least for a time. You will definitely suffer the hot flashes, heart palpitations and such due to the lack of estrogen .. unless you go on the HRT. I personally have made the decision not to go on this treatment unless my quality of life is severely affected. After my surgery I will still have my right ovary and my surgeon actually gave me the choice of having that remaining tube ligated and I said no. I figure I only have the one ovary left so why mess with mother nature ? The convenient birth control sure would have been nice though.
Hopefully things will be better after the surgery and not worse. At any rate, this thing is blowing up like a big balloon so I have to have it removed .. no choice in the matter.
If you are using progesterone, have you thought about perhaps being progesterone dominant and having problems caused by too much progesterone cream ? Hot flashes and heart palpitations are usually caused by not enough estrogen. I think your idea of seeing an endocrinologist is a good idea. Surgery should only be used as a last resort if possible.
Very interested in this thread l have a 3 inch cyst on my right ovary found after l was admitted in hospital in horrendous pain. I think lve had it awhile lm a physical and mental mess too 2 weeks before period and alot of time right through period. At moment its a waiting game regarding my cyst see the gyny in July. Would love to hear more x
Hi Mimi who knows if its 'cyst' related or not? Ive been having symptoms for a good while these started in my 30's and now lm in my 40's. I do have graves disease but it started before that but then again the docs missed out on thyroid disease till l looked the symptoms up etc myself some years later! My female hormones were checked about a year ago they said everything was fine then. The cyst l dont know how long lve had it because when l took bad a few weeks ago and it was discovered ld had very similar not as painful for a while before then. I see you too mention the palpatations :9 for me these get worse before my periods due l tend not to think about them as you can make them worse thinking about them hate the things! I am 3 weeks late with my period dont know if that has anything to do with the cyst lve had all my usual symptoms still have them inc the palps and still no period. I am not pregnant either. I think it must have some effect somewhere cant find anything on net other than a tiny piece saying some cysts you can have symptoms with but it didnt go inot detail anout what kind of symptoms. I see my gyny in July so dont know whats happening with me until then. Thansk for the reply!
I had my large ovarian cyst removed with surgery last Tuesday so I may be able to answer your questions as they pertain to my own case very shortly.
This past Sunday I still experienced painful ovulation (just like when I had the cyst) and this time it was extremely painful. More than likely this is because everything in there was already a bit inflammed and ovulating made things worse. We will see on my next ovulation what happens (I was kind of hoping that this surgery would put an end to my painful ovulations).
No mood swings as of yet but of course I am still recovering from surgery (almost completely recovered already) so it is too early to tell. I am really hoping that my now extant left ovary and tube will mean less problems for me (my right ovary seems to be working normally). I pray that I will have no more raging emotional outbursts (as is my husband). Time will tell and I will keep you posted.
My cyst was an abnormal cyst and not the normal follicular kind (ie. a large grafian follicle or corpus luteal cyst). I am still awaiting the pathology to see what kind of abnormal cyst it is but the radiologist said that it could be either a serous cyst or a dermoid. My gynecologist thinks it is a serous cyst. It was a thin walled, fluid filled cyst with no septations which at surgery was between 9 and 10 cms.
I am not sure if having the cyst intensified my PMS symptoms. You see, I had been on the birth control pill for about 20 years non stop when I began to have irregular bleeding and pelvic pain. I went off the pill and although the bleeding stopped, the pain was still there. This is when they did the ultrasound and found the cyst. As soon as I went off the pill, I started to have very painful ovulation pains every month. Obviously these were not present when I was on the pill and I am quite sure that they were not there before I went on the pill in my early twenties either. I am not sure if these pains have something to do with the cyst or with being on the pill. I am sure that in the next few cycles I will know whether the cyst was the cause.
Same goes for the emotional anger episodes. These began in my mid thirties and seem to have gotten progressively worse. I am not sure if my cyst was the cause or if it is the start of peri-menopause. Dr. Northrup says that menopause is a gradual cycle that begins as early as your thirties in the form of emotional changes such as these (where we can no longer tolerate things that used to bounce right off of us). I am certainly less tolerant than I used to be but these white anger episodes really worry me. Now that my cyst (and ovary) is gone, perhaps I will be able to say whether or not this was the cause. I suspect not.
My surgery was not as bad as I had imagined it would be. The incisions were quite small and thanks to a new anti-nausea drug that was offered to me, I had no nausea whatsoever. My pain was well controlled in hospital and I only needed a stronger anti-inflammatory the night of the procedure (Naproxen) and a couple of Advil (Ibuprofen) the morning after. That's it. My poor bladder was the worst, probably due to the catheter that I had during surgery but even this slowly got back to normal after about 5 days. The insides feel tender for a while but this heals very quickly. Unfortunately, I had a cold and this was rather annoying as I had to cough from time to time. Not fun with stitches (pressing a pillow against your abdomen helps a lot).
I will let you know how things go in regards to my PMS symptoms without my cyst.
Hi was wondering how you ladies are doing? I had a laprascopy done in Sept where it was discovered l have lots of adhesions and l am not awaiting a full hysterectomy and my cyst is till there Lots of stomach pain and feeling generally ill etc would love to know hwo you are all doing x Ps l hope your lives have changed for ther better!!! x
I am still around. I still have painful ovulations although last month, I did not even feel it (at all !) so perhaps I did not ovulate.
My main problem post surgery has been bladder spasms at the end of urination. This started shortly after my surgery and it would come and go over the space of months. When I realized that this was not going away for good, I finally I contacted my surgeon and she put me on Potassium Citrate. She said that it would take around 6 months to go away so I am still patiently dissolving three tablets of Potassium Citrate in water everyday and sipping it throughout the day. The problem is much better but I still have the occasional flare. Sounds a lot like cystitis (they tested me for bacteria and there was none so it is not an infection .. plus it comes and goes .. nowadays more gone than here). I am hoping that this NEW problem will go away soon.
As for the anger episodes, I still have them but they are much more muted somehow. I don't get as furious as before. I don't know why really or if my operation had anything to do with it. Who knows ? Other than ovulation pain, I have no other pains so some of my pain was definitely caused by my cyst (probably as it grew bigger).
When is your surgery due ? How are you having it done ? LAVH ? a full incision ? If your cyst is still there and it is the same, why don't they take the cyst out at the same time ? I assume you are keeping your ovaries ? Or are you having them removed as well ? If so, is it really necessary ? Surgical meno is not much fun from what I have heard. Let us know how you are doing.
Hello x so good to hear from you x glad you are doing better Please excuse all the typos l made last night lol l was tired and aching and rushed the post sorry. Im due the hysterectomy this month or last month!! Have not recieved my letter with the date on yet!! Im been opened up and everything has to come out as everything is stuck all over I have however asked them to save my left ovary as it dont look too bad and l dont want to do hrt as my Mam had breast cancer. ( Just want to add she died a week before xmas a few days after my gyny appointment) unknown to anyone her cancer had spread she died 2 days later .... how they missed the spread>>>>????) So lm not in to good of a place right now with the loss of my lovely Mam and my own pain I really feel my cyst has grown l feel so full on my right side and some what tender, also after my period l have approx 7/10 days of brown discharge this is not heavy but its there, from what lve searched out on net its from the cyst! My lower back ache is really bad at the moment too esp when my lower right stomach aches, Im hoping when its all gone alot of my symptoms will go esp pain lm sure the pain in my ribs and spine is caused by this too however previously l have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and wear and tear to the spine so it will be interesting to see the outcome! I just hope lm not swapping one set of problems for another cos the past nearly 6 years have been awful with oen thing and another healthwise and it hasnt helped that lve been ignored because of the other said conditions! Will stop here it really is good to hear from you l hope you get better and better xxx
I am really sorry to hear about your mom. What a horrible situation that they missed the spread of her cancer. How could such a thing ever happen ? I am sure that your mom appreciated your incredible strength during her time of need, especially in light of your own pain. Take the time that is necessary to mourn her properly. Loosing your mom must be an incredible blow and I am fortunate that my mom is still alive and kicking (she has her own problems but she is still able to get around just fine, albeit complaining about it all of the time).
If all of the adhesions are causing your organs to stick together then no wonder you are having pain. I am sure that the surgery will make a world of difference even if it does not necessarily take away all of your discomfort (it should take away most of it). It's good that you are trying to keep the one ovary so that you don't have to go on HRT. It is always better, if possible, to let your body do what comes naturally than try to duplicate its function with drugs.
Godspeed for the surgery and write back when you can to tell us how you are doing.