Endometrial Cysts

Ovarian cysts can be classified into two major distinctive groups  – Functional and Complex.

Non-functional or complex ovarian cysts develop for reasons that are not associated with normal functions of the female menstrual process.

One example of a complex ovarian cyst is an endometrioma.

Endometriomas are a type of cyst caused by endometriosis.  Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial tissue, the mucous membrane that makes up the inner layer of the uterine wall, begins to grow in parts of the body other than the womb.    

Ovarian endometriosis happens when a tiny patch of endometrial tissue bleeds, sloughs off the uterine wall, becomes transplanted onto the surface of an ovary, and begins to grow.  These endometrial patches continue to respond to the hormones produced during monthly menstrual cycles, creating many small cysts that may take over and even replace the normal ovarian tissue.  

chocolate cyst endoscopic image of ruptured Endometrial Cysts

Endometrial cysts may range in size from 0.75 – 8 inches in diameter and are also known as “chocolate cysts” due to their dark reddish-brown color.  This color comes about as the blood inside the cyst builds up over months and years, gradually turning brown. 

Endometriosis affects women during their reproductive years and may cause chronic pelvic pain associated with menstruation.  The actual numbers are not really known, but it is estimated that 10-15% of all women of reproductive age will develop endometriosis.

Like many other types of ovarian cysts, chocolate cysts are not noticed until symptoms are experienced.   Normal symptoms are:

  • Painful periods
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic pain

There are two main concerns with endometrial cysts:   infertility and bursting.

Approximately 25 – 35% of all infertile women have been diagnosed with endometriosis.  It is believed that endometriosis plays a major factor in infertility, as it can cause blood or tissue to block the passage of the egg into the fallopian tubes …preventing fertilization.  Not only is this a worrisome medical condition but it can also be emotionally difficult to deal with.

Another concern with endometrial cysts is bursting.  A large cyst has a higher risk of rupture, which would spill the cyst’s contents into the pelvis and onto the surface of the uterus, bladder, bowel, and the corresponding spaces between.

It’s dangerous for a chocolate cyst to rupture, as the coagulated blood it contains is very thick and sticky.  Because of this, if it should spill into the abdominal cavity, it can cause the other organs to stick together …causing severe pain.  This is a dangerous and painful condition that requires immediate medical treatment.

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Your Risk Factors

There are various risk factors to be aware of that may increase your chances of developing endometriosis and chocolate cysts

The first factor is your medical history.  If you have developed cysts before, you are more likely to have cysts develop than someone who has never had an ovarian cyst.

Your family history should also be considered.  If the women in your family have had, or are currently having cyst problems, you are more likely to develop them as well. The risk of having endometriosis is seven times greater if a mother or a sister has been diagnosed with the condition.

Having an irregular menstrual cycle is another risk factor.  Many women with this condition are prescribed oral contraceptives to help regulate their menstruation and reduce the chances of developing ovarian cysts.

Also, women who had their first period before the age of 11 are at a higher risk of having ovarian cysts during their lifetime.

Diagnostic Options

As always, early detection is the key in treating most medical conditions.  If you feel that you have an increased risk of developing ovarian cysts, the smart thing to do is to keep regular tabs on your body.  With endometriosis, complications can develop very quickly so it is particularly important to receive an early diagnosis.

If your physician suspects the presence of an endometrial cyst, further diagnostic options are available to you.   Chocolate cysts are commonly diagnosed with x-rays or a transvaginal ultrasound.  These tests can reveal the nature of the cysts that are detected, allowing you to decide what type of treatment may be necessary.

The best way to treat endometrial cysts is to prevent them.  Since their formation is thought to be triggered by a hormonal imbalance, many believe that a natural program designed to bring your hormones back into balance is the best remedy.

Suffering from endometriosis pain? Check out
Natural Ovarian Cyst Relief Secrets
…and eliminate your ovarian pain