What Are Chocolate Cysts?
Chocolate cyst or ovarian endometrioma is a type of cyst found in the ovaries. These fluid-filled cysts are noncancerous and sometimes found within or encapsulating the ovaries. This condition gets its name due to the fluid present inside the cyst which is brown in color with a tar-like appearance, closely resembling the melted chocolate. Studies have shown that around 30-40 % of women are affected by ovarian endometrioma.
Causes of Chocolate Cysts
Experts say that there is a strong link between the chocolate cyst and endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. A severe form of endometriosis can lead to the chocolate cyst.
Women with endometriosis have higher chances of retrograde menstruation or menstrual backflow. Due to endometriosis, patches of endometrial cells that grow in the ovaries, form cysts. The retrograde menstruation can lead to trapping of blood in these cysts and produce inflammation in the surrounding tissues.
Symptoms of Chocolate Cysts
Some of the symptoms of ovarian endometrioma include:
- Pelvic pain
- Painful periods
- Excessive bleeding
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Painful intercourse
- Dark-colored vaginal discharge
Diagnosis of Chocolate Cysts
Chocolate cysts can be diagnosed throuh:
- Pelvic ultrasound: An ultrasound of the pelvis that helps the doctor to locate the cyst with precision. Also, it becomes easy to identify even the smallest cyst present.
Treatment for Chocolate Cysts
Treatment procedures used for this condition, vary from person to person. Below given are the commonly used treatment plan:
Wait-and-watch approach: If the cyst is small and causes no symptoms, then this approach is used along with birth control pills that stop the cyst growth and the related pain symptoms.
Surgery: Removal of ovarian cyst or cystectomy is done when the symptoms developed due to this condition cause pain and other discomforts.