Ovarian cysts are sacs that are filled with fluid that develop inside the ovaries during ovulation (when the egg is released from the ovary). They are usually found in women during their childbearing years (between puberty and menopause). Most ovarian cysts are harmless and common. They may result in abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and irregular menstrual cycles. Typically, ovarian cysts go away on their own within three months without ever being discovered. If ovarian cysts are discovered, it is usually during a pelvic exam by a gynecologist. Upon discovery, a doctor may monitor the cyst for a few months or take a sonogram to make sure it is in fact growing smaller and going away.
Some women may develop ovarian cysts often. If they do, they may suffer from what is called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS. PCOS is a disease that means too much male hormone (androgen) is produced within a woman’s body. According to The Hormone Foundation, “the condition is defined by the presence of hormonal problems, excess hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles and polycystic ovaries (many cysts).”
An option for preventing cysts and treating PCOS is taking birth control pills which help to curb ovulation and produce more female hormones. If ovulation ceases, the development of ovarian cysts do as well.
1. Make an appointment with your gynecologist. If she determines that birth control is the best course of action in preventing cysts, she will write you a prescription for the pills. Most birth control pills are made from a combination of estrogen and progesterone and come in packs of 21 or 28.
2. Take a pill every day at the same time. A 21 pack consists of 21 pills, one to be taken every day leaving one week free. A 28 pack consist of 21 birth control pills and 7 placebos. 28 packs tend to keep women on a tight schedule and make the act of taking the pill a habit.
3. Report any side effects and follow up with your doctor. Side effects when taking birth control pills are usually present within the first 3 months of taking the pill. Depending on the type and severity of the side effect, your doctor may choose to prescribe a different type of pill. Side effects can include nausea, cramps, headaches, irregular menstrual bleeding, dizziness, mood swings, and weight gain.