Ovarian cyst. Doesn’t sound like much. You hear about them as vague stories. Occasionally someone will mention one. But what are they?
I am writing this for those women who are experiencing what I have or are wondering what is happening or could happen with them. I am writing for those who are looking for a way to help deal with the after effects that seem to linger for awhile. It is a week today that my 4.5cm by 5cm cyst ruptured on my way home from vacation.
Let me start by explaining that I am no stranger to pain. I have born three pregnancies, miscarried a fourth. All were born vaginally, the first and second 8lbs 7oz and 8lbs respectively. Four months pregnant with twins, I was in a car accident which left a torn labrum, lower back muscle damage and, unbeknownst to me for a few years, a fractured pelvis. I have lived with the accident damage for 4.5 years and hope to get the surgery to fix it soon.
After an MRI to discover why I still have hip pain after so long, the results came back plus an added blurb stating I had a rather large cyst on my right ovary. Having never had such a thing and mistakenly believing that if it were something needing to be worried about I would be informed by my doctor, I left for a two week vacation. We drove through the Rocky Mountains to visit family on the other side, camping along the way and back. While visiting, I went to a therapist who gave me pelvic exercises to strengthen my core for surgery. I noticed that after doing them, I would experience an achy pain along my right lower belly. I foolishly assumed it was just my other hip compensating for the damaged one and causing trouble. I took Ibuprofen and it went away.
On our second day of driving through mountains, the pelvic pain came back. I took Ibuprofen and waited for it to kick in. Nothing. So I took some more. The pain got worse. I thought okay, maybe I just need to go to the bathroom really badly. Who wants to go to the hospital with nothing but a bad tummy ache? We stopped at a rest stop. Nope, it wasn’t that. We started to drive and the pain became intense; very similar to having my second child. It was as though someone had thrust a sword through my stomach, pelvis, and right side all the way to my lower back. Pain wrapped itself down the front of my thigh to my knee. It felt like the sword was not being thrust in over and over but being spun around while still inside my guts. Trying to keep my 3 year old twins from becoming upset and making the 45 minute drive to the nearest place large enough to have a hospital worse, I hunched over my belly and tried to breathe like Lamaze teaches. Because the staff wasn’t sure if it was appendicitis or a cyst, after an IV, blood test and some more morphine, I was ambulanced off in a 3 hour ride to the city.
In the city hospital, there were more blood tests and the doctor confirmed that I’d “blown a cyst”. I asked through a haze of pain and morphine if that was like in NASCAR when they blow a tire and hit the wall. He eyed my navel ring and stated that it couldn’t hurt worse than that. I looked at him like he was daft. He told me that if I lived in the city I would have been sent home and had to come back for an ultrasound in the morning but, being an out-of-towner, I was given a bed for the night.
Bright and early they came to do the ultrasound. First, the type they do when you’re pregnant. Then out came the “wand” with the warning of, “This may be a little uncomfortable but it shouldn’t hurt.” Well, it might not have hurt if the cyst hadn’t ruptured but shoving a large object up my kooch and plowing around trying to get good views of all the cysts (apparently, there are more in there) was, dare I say, rather good at producing pain! There the four of us were, all huddled in the dark, watching (well, they were) the screen change as the male tech waved his magic wand, eerie blue light throwing ugly shadows on the darkened machinery. It was like we were doing something dark and dirty; the makings of a sordid secret. I kept my flinching to myself and when I got back to my room, grittily asked for more pain medication.
Another set of blood work to find out if I had any infection resulting from the “blow out”. None so I was sent on my way after instruction given to have a repeat ultrasound after my next period. I had requested painkillers for the 4 hour drive home and so was sick from dehydration when I finally arrived home.
The next day, I am wondering what the heck happened to me. My stomach was bloated. I had terrible diarrhea (sorry but I must be blunt since no one else is willing to do so) and pain if I stood for more than a few minutes. I assumed it was everything I’d been through making its way out of my system. Three days later, it’s still going on. I’m still bloated. I’m still having diarrhea but not quite as often. I get on my computer to research cysts.
It’s all the same information. What they are (in layman’s terms: small, blister-like formations inside the body that can be found throughout 80-90% of women, may be cancerous but very unlikely, usually watery fluid but occasionally bloody), the different types (generally but not explained much), how they check for them (pelvic exams and ultrasounds, sometimes MRI’s if they get big enough), what they do if they’re concerned (“Watchful Waiting” meaning: either it goes away on its own, ruptures, or if it gets too big, they operate and remove it). Also, the pill can be prescribed for certain types which are considered the “treatment” for them.
There is no mention of the aftermath. I think perhaps because most medical articles seem to be written by men, they haven’t the complete understanding of just how much something like this can hurt nor of how long complete recovery seems to take. Wikipedia was the only place I found any reference to 4-10 days of recovery time and some ideas to help the symptoms. I asked about and a few women told me of their own experiences. Most had not had a rupture but of the few that did, they described it as being extremely painful and similar to my own experience of aftermath. Because there is so little information on how to make the fluid remaining to escape faster or recover faster, I am writing what I learned.
THERE IS NOTHING THAT WILL MAKE IT GO FASTER.
But there are a few things that will aggravate it! You need to rest up for as long as it takes (between the 4 and 10 days). Don’t lift anything if you can possibly help it! I know how hard that is to do if you have work or kids or you’re on your own even. Life doesn’t stop because you hurt. But, take it from me; lifting will not help you in any way positive!
I asked for any advice from anyone I could think of (doctor, chiropractor, holistic healers, women who’ve been there) and these are the things I found. Some may work; others may not do anything for you.
- Ibuprofen (around 600 mg at a time, max 3x a day) or Tylenol. The painkillers given to me at were Morphine and Percocet to get home with. I don’t recommend either of those unless the pain is unbearable.
- Heating pad or hot water bottle is absolutely excellent for the cramping sensation. There was mention of icing occasionally as well.
- Warm bath with lavender essential oil or chamomile (both?) essential oil to help draw out any excess toxins in your body.
- Chamomile tea and lavender tea were suggested both to drink and to try using as a poultice on the affected area. I have also been putting a small drop of lavender essence on each foot.
- Milk Thistle was suggested as a possible preventative. Vitamin A and B may help, as well. There is currently some testing of Chinese herbs in conjunction of cyst prevention and recovery but I don’t have any real information on it.
- Reflexology and Reiki may be beneficial. Foot reflexology is gentle and not manipulating the actual parts that hurt. Reiki is a hands-off, meditative type of healing.
- There are a few different types of healing crystals that may work for you too. I’m a big believer in “It may sound funny but if it works I’m willing to try it!” so I’ll tell you the ones I know of. There may be more out there. Carnelian, hematite, azurite, malachite, moonstone, turquoise, chrysocolla, peridot – there are quite a few and I think it depends what you are drawn to, as well.
It’s been a week since my 4.5 by 5cm cyst ruptured and I’m finally starting to feel better. I hope my experience can save you some time and unhappy energy looking for ways to make yourself feel better.
Some helpful links:
- Virtual MD https://ssl.search.live.com/health/article.aspx?id=articles%2fmc%2fpages%2f0%2fDS00129.html&qu=ovarian%20cysts&focus
- Wikipedia *** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ovarian_cyst
- Military Obstetrics & Gynecology Adnexal Masses http://www.brooksidepress.org/Products/Military_OBGYN/Textbook/Problems/OvarianNeoplasm.htm Warning: graphic pictures Only reference is “resting for a period” to recover.
- Your Total Health http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/ovarian-cyst-what-happens-when-ruptures.html
- Ruptured Ovarian Cyst *** Talks about it as serious instead of glossing over everything! http://www.rupturedovariancyst.com/Complications_of_a_Ruptured_Ovarian_Cyst.html