Ovarian Cyst

Hi all,

I'm a 54 year old post menopausal woman.

A simple, fluid filled 5.3cm cyst was found on my right ovary one year past menopause. I saw a gynecologist as I'd also had some bleeding, which was just a normal period but which they wanted to check out.

I had a CA125 blood test at the time which was normal.

Everything else was normal and the consultant said that he wasn't at all worried about the cyst as there were no suspicious findings. I only needed to return for a follow-up pelvic scan in three months but other than that, so long as it wasn't causing me any problems, it could just safely be left.

The follow-up pelvic scan showed no change whatsoever in the cyst and it remained the same size and I was told that no further investigation was required.

In the last 3 Months I have become unwell. I have iron deficiency anemia, a low platelet count and my liver function results were not that good.

I have been suffering from extreme tiredness and fatigue.

I was sent to have a gastroscopy to check for bleeding from the stomach, results were normal.

I then saw a gastroenterologist ( a registrar) at the hospital on while she was examining me, she told me that she could feel my liver, which she shouldn't have been able too.

A CT scan of my chest/abdomen and pelvis was carried out. My GP rang me with the results and told me that the cyst on my right ovary had grown and was now measuring 8cm and my liver was enlarged but otherwise looked normal.

I was sent for a pelvic ultrasound to follow-up on the ovarian cyst.

I was gobsmacked, to say the least, when the sonographer announced that "this cyst hasn't changed at all!" She told me it was still fluid filled and that if it had got any bigger, it was hardly noticeable and was certainly nowhere near 8cm!

I spoke to a GP at my surgery the other day and told her that I was not at all happy about this situation, I'm now left thinking who do I believe, the CT scan or the ultrasound??

She tried to make up a hundred and one excuses for what I'd been told, but told me that I should be happy that it wasn't cancer. Well, of course, I am happy, only I'm stuck now with this niggling doubt in my mind.

I haven't had a CA125 carried out, and I don't suppose they'll do that now, as the ultrasound looks fine.

I'm currently still undergoing more tests because they have to find out where I have been loosing blood from.

The medics are now wanting me to have a colonoscopy, which I really don't fancy at all..!

The symptoms I have, have been mostly digestive problems, I feel uncomfortable in my upper middle and right abdomen, I have been suffering from constipation. And I have this weird symptom, the best way that I can describe it is that it sometimes feels like my bowels have literally stopped moving, it's very uncomfortable and I feel bloated and full up, then suddenly everything kicks into action and I can feel and hear all sorts of bowel activity going on.

I remain scared out of my life that I have cancer somewhere and that fear hasn't been helped at all by the conflicting results from the CT scan and ultrasound.

I don't know if I'm really happy now about this cyst just being left again, I have just learned, through researching on the internet, that these simple cysts can become malignant in post menopausal women, and I correct in that please?

I'm sorry that my post is long but I just wanted to give you as much detail as I could. I really just don't know which way to turn now, but I do know that I'm very scared.

9 Replies

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  • so sorry to see you so upset and mixed up , If I were you I would go back to my gp and ask again to be referred back to gynae consultant even if its just for reassurance. If the cyst is benign and the gynae is happy to leave it, that is okay but maybe you might be happier to have it removed. It would be biopsied and those results should put your mind at ease. If it were me, I would ask to have it removed.

  • You have had a difficult time. It would be lovely to learn it's benign. That's what seems to be the thinking but I can see you're worried and that's not good. I think Suzuki has very good advice and I think the same. However, I'm speaking from a different perspective from you if you have benign disease and no doctor will want to remove anything unnecessarily. I think I'd ask whether there is any chance that what you have is cancer. If the answer is no, I would get on my life with monitoring. If there is a chance (even growths with low malignant potential), I'd want it out too. That's just me though but I'm not you. Xx

  • On balance, I think your symptoms are more likely to be gastric/intestinal than ovarian. Your cyst is rather small to be causing problems in your upper abdomen and liver. (Unless you have a lot of fluid, and that would have shown up on your scans.)

    I think it's a good idea that you're having a colonoscopy. I was with my mother when she had one and the procedure wasn't half as bad as she'd expected. They can give you something like valium to sedate you. It could be something like a large polyp in an awkward place.

    Get that out of the way, and keep mentioning the cyst. I'd want it out, too. But if you need surgery on your colon, and it doesn't have to be cancer, they could remove the cyst at the same time. Taking the cyst out first might lead to two lots of surgery, which they, and you, would want to avoid. If you don't need surgery on your colon, I'd insist on regular watch and wait check-ups on the cyst.

    You're right that post-menopausal women have a higher risk of ovarian cancer, but there are still plenty who get the benign sort of cyst as well. From what your consultant said, yours sounds like a simple cyst. Although simple cysts can become complex, complex cysts aren't necessarily malignant, but need investigating.

    I can't understand how there's a difference between the scans. But the sonographer would have a record of your earlier ultrasound, so she'd be able to compare the growth, regardless of the measurements. But there wouldn't be a baseline for the CT scan.

    Do hope you get some answers soon. Try to resist Dr Google. You'll end up more confused and scared, probably all for nothing.

  • Thank you all so much for your very helpful replies.

    I seem to feel a little more positive now and your replies have helped me to see the clearer picture.

    I do believe, if I'm correct, that ultrasound is the gold standard test in looking at ovarian cysts as they are able to see a lot of detail that a CT scan probably wouldn't, so I think I'm going to trust the ultrasound scan results.

    I really don't see how it could possibly be the cyst causing my symptoms as it clearly hasn't changed, if at all, in size, so it would be strange for it to suddenly decide to give me symptoms now.

    I think I will try the "watch and wait" thing first, but I will tell my GP that I do want it to be kept an eye on, but I probably will eventually decide to have it removed at some point in the near future, if only to be rid of it so that it takes away any worry.

    I'm glad that I found this site and met you very nice ladies here, I've been reading lots of your posts and have gained a lot of very helpful knowledge already, keep fighting girls! us women can beat this! X X

  • It's my understanding that a CT scan is more accurate than an ultrasound. Personally, I would absolutely insist on having this cyst removed and analysed. There are some rare cancers that can only be diagnosed once the cyst has been sent to pathology. I would also have any tests that they are offering you. You obviously have symptoms that aren't normal and these need investigating. I had a cyst that was picked up by an ultrasound scan but subsequently I had CT scans as they give more detail. We all need to listen to our bodies and if things don't feel right they probably aren't.

  • Thank you for your helpful reply KATLANN22 and I'm sorry that I've been a while catching up.

    I have now been informed that it is, in fact, the CT scan measurements that are correct, as apparently my cyst is quite high up in my pelvis so that the probe used in the ultrasound wouldn't have seen it as clearly as the CT scan as regards to measurements.

    I'm not really understanding what they mean by "high up in the pelvis"?

    Going by the CT scan the cyst is over 8cm now.

    I have been told that it has a benign appearance both on the CT and ultrasound scan.

    I have noticed over the past few months that I seem to be putting on weight and expanding a lot in my lower tummy particularly, the spare tyre that I have had for many years, is much bigger and "sits" on the tops of my legs, I've been told this is just weight gain and nothing to worry about?

    My GP is going to write to a gynecologist for some advice re this cyst, she said that I may not need an appointment, they may just advice us? I would really like to get any information straight from the horses mouth, as it were, especially when dealing with this.

    I'm no longer anemic now, which counts out any intestinal bleeding and I'm still of the belief that there is nothing wrong with my bowels, apart from the anemia I had no other symptoms at all, especially not of cancer, as second on the list is unexplained weight loss, I'm gaining it, not loosing it, I have none of the other symptoms either and I have never seen any blood loss from my bowels.

    My liver is enlarged, is giving high readings for ALP and I have low platelets, only at 80 when they should be at least 140.

    I have asked my GP to refer me to a new team at the hospital as I've suffered a few very negative experiences with my current consultant.

    He was very rude to me last week when I saw him, he is fixed and obsessed with my bowel and when I explained that I'm not at all concerned about my bowel, but I am concerned about my ovarian cyst and the liver problems, I was shouted down and told "I'm only dealing with one problem at a time and it's your intestines that need investigating"

    I have also let the hospital know of my experiences and they have apologised to me, but so far, for me, this has not been a helpful experience and much that I have learned, I've learned by researching myself which I really don't feel is acceptable in this day and age.

    Thanking you in advance of any advise you kind ladies may be able to offer me.

  • Sorry ladies, I meant to add that I've had a CA125 blood test which came back as normal.

  • my ca125 tests were normal and came down from 157 to 37,I found an old referral letter today and it said there was a cyst on my left ovary and my right ovary was indistinguishable.if thats so how is it these didnt show on future scans?

  • Some common fluid filled cysts can come and go and sometimes the ovaries are hard to see as the bowel and gases can hide them which is why they probably did'nt show up on further scans. Thank fully yours has gone naturally and you are all clear

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