Have you ever heard of this term- ‘Chocolate Cysts’?. In case you are a woman, you should definitely spare a few minutes to read about them.
What Do I Mean By Chocolate Cysts? & How Do They Develop?
Chocolate cysts are also referred to as Ovarian Endometriomas and they are certainly noncancerous in nature. The cysts develop deep in the ovaries and happen to be filled with fluid.
Chocolate cysts develop when the old menstrual blood and tissue fill the cavity of the cyst. These cysts can come in numbers or one and also, can affect one ovary or both of them.
They are brown in color and fall in a subgroup of endometriosis. They are commonly associated with severe reproductive issues in women.
Why Do These Cysts Develop in Women?
The exact cause of these cysts is unknown, but fertility experts believe that they can develop due to retrograde menstruation. This occurrence is generally the cause of endometriosis in women.
To support this, a study indicated that up to 40% of women with endometriosis also had chocolate cysts. It is also believed that instead of expelling the entire tissue and menstrual blood through the vagina, part of these gets stuck on the ovaries.
This residue will then penetrate the ovaries and the implant themselves inside, hence leading to cysts. The process of their development is similar to that of endometriosis.
How Do I Know That I Have Chocolate Cysts? – Symptoms
Symptoms may be seen in some women and these include
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Unexplained Pelvic Pain
- Painful menstrual periods
- Irregular periods
- Female infertility in some cases
These chocolate cysts also differ in sizes and they can also rupture. In case this occurs, a woman will experience abdominal pain on the side where the cyst is located. Any rapture must be immediately attended to.
Diagnosing Chocolate Cysts
An ultrasound is basically the second approach of diagnosing female reproductive cysts. This comes after a pelvic exam or after a judgment from your symptoms is made.
To diagnose chocolate cysts, the doctor will collect debris and a fluid ‘biopsy’ from inside the existing cyst.
How Are Chocolate Cysts Treated?
There are generally two approaches of treating chocolate cysts. First is;
The doctor may prescribe birth control pills to slow down the growth of these cysts.
The doctor may recommend a surgery in case these cysts are extremely painful, linked to infertility, cancerous, or too big. A laparoscope is a minimally invasive surgery through which these cysts can be extracted.
Generally, your treatment will depend on; your age, the desire to have children, the severity, and whether both ovaries are affected or only one.
Do Chocolate Cysts Affect Female Fertility?
Yes, chocolate cysts can cause female infertility in a number of ways. Precisely, these cysts can damage the ovaries and cause them to produce fewer eggs or immature eggs.
However, the good news is that women with chocolate cysts can still conceive naturally.