12 answers

Birth Control to Shrink an Ovarian Cyst?

Hi Moms, I came back from my annual exam yesterday sort of dumbfounded. I went in and told them again about my weird side effects from (or so I thought) the Mirena IUD. I have only had two normal cycles after a year of Mirena, before I was having light spotting for 3-4 days every 2 weeks. She checked the IUD, and everything seemed fine, but wanted to do an ultrasound just to be sure. Well, the IUD was fine, but she found a 4cm ovarian cyst on my right ovary. She put me on a birth control pill to hopefully shrink the cyst, if it isn't significantly smaller/gone in three months, she wants to do surgery to remove it. They also think the abnormal bleeding may have been caused by the cyst not necessarily the IUD. So...I have a couple of questions.
1) Has anyone had experience with birth control pills to shrink a cyst?
2) Has anyone had an IUD and taken the pill at the same time...any side effects?
3) Any experiences with surgery to remove a cyst? Was it outpatient? Were you in a lot of pain/able to care for your children? What was the recovery like?

Thanks moms! M.

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I had surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. The cyst was so big that the whole ovary had to be removed. It was done as an outpatient procedure. They do the surgery laproscopic, so there are 2 small incisions. There is pain involved. You do have to lay flat for the first 2 days because they fill the abdoman with gas and until the gas goes away it is very painful to sit. It caused sever pain in my upper chest and shoulders if i tried to sit up for the first few days. I did need help taking care of my daughter (she was 1 at the time) for the first week or so. You can't do any lifting or anything too strenuous. I won't lie, it was painful at first, but no worse than the pain involved with a c-section. Good luck with whatever happens.

I had a cyst on my left ovary earlier this year. Because I was just coming off a bacterial infection and had bad reactions to some of the meds they tried me on at the hospital, my dr prescribed antibiotics and some pain pills to help with the pain. Unfortunately I had a bad reaction with the pain pills and missed a lot of time from work, but it did help and the dr and I discused problems with the pain pills and she put me on something else which I have had no adverse reactions to. I haven't had a cyst since but know I am more likely to wind up with more of them. I do recall my mother going in for cyst removal a lot over the course of my early teens up until about 11 years ago when she had her hysterectomy. She would usually go in for surgery that morning and be out later that day. With her sensitivity to meds, it was dr ordered that she not be left alone for 24 hours after. I think there may have been one surgery prior to my early teens and we were living with my grandparents at the time so it was a big help, I am sure, to my mom even though I was about 8 or 9. I hope this helps somehow.

I just got back from my gyn today. I was diagnosed with a cyst 4cm. in my left ovary in Nov. 2010. He put me on Natazia and it worked, today 2/9/11 no more cyst! And my horrible heavy periods are also gone. I get my period now for three days and it's so light I only use a pantyliner! Good luck to you, I hope the pill works as great for you too!

I have a young daughter with a cyst and we've been monitoring it for a few months now with a well respected MD at Children's/Brigham. Depending on the type of cyst, most likely it will shrink on its own, though not likely because of the birth control pill. Studies show that birth control may prevent cyst formation becuase it keeps hormones regulated, but the research we've seen doesnt suggest it will shrink (though we haven't tried since our daughter is only 7). If you havne't already scoured the internet for information, here is a good medical site that will give you some good information. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ovarian-cysts/DS00129 And although we haven't had a surgery yet for our daughter (and hopefully wont since she apears to have a follicular cyst that is very slowly shrinking), the information we have suggests that surgery often can be done to preserve future fertility. Good luck.

Yes, I have been placed on birth control pills to remove cysts and it worked.

Hi M.,
I had a cyst removed when I was 17 it was supposed to be done laproscopic but because of the size (a large grapefruit) they ended up making an incision I was in pain for a few days and had to spend one night in the hospital. For that one I was put on bc pills to hopefully shrink it but it didn't in some woman they do. I had another cyst removed in 2006 it was a much smaller one about the size you have and it was done laproscopic and I was more groggy than anything this one was done as an outpatient procedure and I was up walking around without a problem before leaving the hospital. They only make 2-3 very tiny incisions some people have pain for a few days after but I was more tired than pain. I didn't need help caring for my oldest but he was 5 so he didn't need much done for him when I had surgery to remove a lump in dec. 07 I needed help for a few days but mostly because my little guy was in a cuddly stage and liked to nestle his head where the incision was made for that. I have quite a few procedures done so if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. Good luck.

Hi M.,

I had 2 ovarian cysts removed 3 weeks ago. They were both about 5 cm. They were found during an ultrasound while I was pregnant and they decided to wait to have them removed until after the birth. It was an outpatient procedure - laparoscopy. I was very tender, sore, and tired for about 2 days; after that, each day that followed I felt significantly better. I have a 3 year old and a 10 week old at home, so I definitely needed some help with the 3 year old for a couple of days. Plus if you are on pain meds your doctor will probably recommend no driving for as long as you're on the meds (I was on oxycodone for 2 days - didn't need it after that). Overall it wasn't too bad. Now three weeks later I can still see the tiny incisions but I don't feel them and overall I feel really good. I hope this helps you some...good luck!

I had a cyst the size of a grape fruit when i went to my 12 week prenatal check-up!! They said they would have rushed me in for surgery if i wasn't pregnant, but because i was, it was pretty much helping feed the baby, and could cause me to lose him if they did remove it. It DID go away on its own by my next ultra sound however... I have a looong history of cysts, that can be EXTREMELY painful if they burst on their own. I ended up in the ER thinking my appendix was about to rupture!! Worse than labor, by far. I know hormones in the pill will help with it, but shouldn't the Mirena be doing that already??? MY mirena FELL OUT after having it for 5 months, so be sure to keep checking those strings. I started having a lot of bleeding after it FINALLY settled down, checked for the string, and it was gone. Had 2 ultrasounds and an x-ray. JUST GONE. Not too happy about that. Anyway, i wouldn't worry too much. I'm sure your doc was just telling you all of the possibilities. It will probably just go away on its own like mine always do.

Today's birth control pills are very low dose and provide very little in the way of risk, assuming you have no other risk factors. You are very young so there is no risk like there can be for women in their 40s. If the cyst is really part of a follicle (that once produced an egg) then b.c. pills make sense - far more than invasive surgery of any kind as well as anesthesia. I would try it and have the cyst monitored by ultrasound. You have nothing to lose.

I wouldn't think there would be a lot of side effects by combining pills with the IUD. Pills lessen or eliminate the menstrual cycle (especially if they recommend that you stay on them rather than do the "traditional" 3 weeks on/ 1 week off deal. You should have lighter periods, if any - whereas an IUD can increase cramping.

I read some of the other posts about surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is outpatient - I had it for sterilization but the scarring (very minimal) is similar regardless of what you have done once the surgeon is inside! Yes, there is shoulder pain because of the gas they use to inflate the abdomen so they can separate the organs gently and see/move around. There is a nerve (called the phrenic nerve) that goes from the abdomen and refers the pain up into the shoulder area - that's why women who have ectopic pregnancies (whether in the fallopian tube or elsewhere in the wrong spot) often have pain in the shoulder. So staying horizontal is helpful until the gas is expelled or absorbed. It's definitely a couple days of recovery especially when you have a few little kids who want to be picked up or cuddled on your belly! It's not all that dangerous as surgeries go, but it certainly makes a lot of sense to use medication before you go for surgery. You will absolutely need to have full time help for at least 3 days. Have your husband or your mother or a lot of other really capable people on hand. Abdominal surgery is no day at the beach, and your recovery will be much longer if you don't get the help and rest from the very beginning. Assume you can do nothing. If you can do something, that will be a bonus. But the anesthesia usually has a recoil effect - after you wake up and feel okay, you get a second wallop. (It gets stored in the fat cells and then is released later, so it's like Round 2). Just plan on resting and being out of commission for a few days, and then you won't be surprised or disappointed.

Hi Michelle- I have some experience to share with you. I am also the mom of twins (now 9, frat. girls), and the proud owner of 4 ovarian cysts! I am 49 (next week), and have been on birth control to shrink them, and/or keep them from growing for about 4 years. I don't remember how big mine are, but rather large (about fist sized). Mine are different from yours in that they are imbedded in the muscle tissue of my uterus, making removal of the tumor tissue nearly impossible. Yours, being on the outside (some are on the inside) would be easier to remove (i.e. less complicated). I haven't had mine removed because they'd probably grow back. The only real alternative for me is to have my uterus removed, which I don't want to do. So, we're waiting for me to go through menopause, when the cysts will naturally shrink due to the lack of hormones. Since you're so young, that's not an option.
Now that I'm on the pills, I have no pain, and no period, at all! Before, I was in constant pain, and bleeding, heavily, nearly every day. So, this is much better!
However, the pills I'm on (Tri-legest) have not shrunk the cysts, and they have grown some over the years. Since they're not causing any problems for me (i.e. not pushing on my bladder or intestines, or causing pain), we're going to leave them alone. I've had some concerns about being on the pill at this age because of the risk of stroke, but because my BP is good, my doctors don't think it's a risk.
I have a friend who did have a cyst removed from her ovary. It was done laproscopically. She needed about 10 days to recover, I believe. The first few being the worst. Her mom (she's single) came to help her out for a few days. She's much happier now that it's done. No more pain or excessive bleeding. She wanted to preserve her ovary in case she'd like to get pregnant some day, and they were able to do that.
I hope this helps you some. It's a lousy thing to have to deal with, but be glad it's not something worse! Best of luck.

When I was 21, I had a lemon-sized cyst on my ovary. My doc put me on the pill to shrink the cyst...and it didn't work. I had surgery to remove the cyst and it wasn't really a big deal: outpatient, pretty quick recovery. I didn't have kids at the time, but I'm guessing you'll need some help for at least a few days post surgery.

I also have another cyst now on my ovary that has been there for more than 2 years. It is only 3 cm big, but has a solid piece of tissue in it. My current OB is happy to just watch it every few months and make sure it is not getting any bigger. If you really don't want surgery, you could always ask for this option.

Good luck!

hi, i was going through fertility treatments to concieve number 2 and before they did anything i had an ultrasound because my periods were very irregular like every 60-70 days it turns out i had a cyst im not sure the exact size in mm but it was the size of a baseball they said i was put on birth control for one month went back for an ultrasound and it was gone, they said it might take more than a month but for me it didnt, also my doctor told me that there was a 99 percent chance the cyst would go away with the birth control so i wouldnt be worried about surgery good luck

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