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Ovarian Cysts

These are a common finding on ultrasound scan.  Some women may have had an ultrasound for a specific reason such as pain, or they may have been found incidentally whilst having a scan for an unconnected reason.  Ovarian cysts can sometimes cause pain or swelling in the lower abdomen.  Occasionally, some bleeding or twisting (torsion) of the cyst can occur which may cause more severe pain.  Most cysts are benign, and the ultrasound gives a good indication of this.  If a cyst is benign appearing and small, it can often be left alone and kept under observation with a repeat scan after a few weeks or months.  If the cyst is causing possible symptoms, then removal may be recommended.  This can usually be done safely with laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.  Sometimes a blood test may help in deciding whether surgery is necessary or not (known as a CA125).  This blood test can be raised for a variety of reasons, one of which is ovarian cancer.  However, many benign conditions can also cause a rise in the blood test.

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