Scheduled for operation for my ovarian cyst... (tips for recovery)

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Hi. I was rushed to the ER last 21st of March due to extreme lower abdominal pain, and it was then that a 8cm x 9cm x 9cm cyst was found on my right ovary.

I am now scheduled for an OPEN laparotomy (cause the laparoscope method isn't available in my place, apparently) this 28th, and I am really nervous and concerned for my post-op recovery. 

I have a passion for fitness, and so I workout with high intensity almost everyday. How many weeks (on average) can I get back to doing workouts?  For those who've undergone the same operation, how was your recovery (physically)? Any tips for a faster recovery?

And from what I've read, depression/sadness is apparently common. This is what scares me. I am still 21 years old and been in love with children eversince I was a child myself, and facing this big problem right now is causing stress and worry for what my future will hold. It's causing so much anxiety, and god knows how will I be able to cope emotionally if I'll end up waking up without an ovary.


And one more thing -- weight. Has anyone ever noticed if it's easier to control your weight post-cyst removal? Cause if it's true, then this is the only light I can find in this dark tunnel. I have been having a very hard time losing weight no matter how healthily I eat and how often I exercise.

Any response will be really appreciated!


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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Vee C,

    I am sorry, I don't understand why laparoscopy is not available in your place?  Would you mind sharing?  Are you removing your cyst only?  or are you removing more??  I am not trying to be rude, but their differences are not minimal.  You are putting yourself in a 4-6 weeks (if not more) recovery time than a 4-7 days recovery.  I can tell you more of their differences if you want, but cyst as big as 20cm can be done via laparoscopy. 


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    • Posted

      I come from a rurban area, and laparoscopic surgeries are only available in the urbanized areas in my country. Plus, it's highly more expensive, and I'm not on any healthcare insurance.

      Believe me, I know how big a difference is between laparscopic and the open surgery. I am a healthcare provider myself. I really wish I can get a laparoscopic procedure done, but nope.

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    • Posted

      I see.  I am sorry, I do not have much information about the recovery time from open surgery except it is just longer.  I had my laparoscopic surgery almost 1 month ago.  Good luck and take care.
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  • Posted

    Hi Vee- I'm older than you (74) but was fit and active and had no symptoms at all before having a shock laparotomy(2 cysts 8cm and 5 cm) in Jan 2015.Everything was removed as I was in a high risk group,but all was benign. I'm pretty sure they will do all they can to make sure you can still have children- I've read stories on this site of young women who had cysts removed and ovary whilst pregnant and went on to have more children.As far as the op went - it was fine,recovery was straight forward. I was dying to get  into the op theatre as the waiting is most definitely the worst part,especially as I didn't get biopsy results until 2 weeks after op I'm 10 weeks post op and back to my 5 mile walks,light gym and lots of swimming. I can say I feel better (except for a bit more tiredness) than ever. You will be so well looked after and maybe your incision will be small as it's just the cyst to come out?As for weight,initially I lost 6lbs the 1st week but my appetite was low. Also I couldn't walk as far - did 15 mins after 1 week and built up, but you are fitter and younger.My belly is definitely flatter- a few people have told me this and after putting the 6lbs back on I've now lost 4 of it and trying hard. I do feel it all went far more smoothly than expected. Sleep, rest take pain-killers when you HAVE to- I didn't cos I hate medication-and within a couple of weeks you'll be more positive. HOWEVER I don't suffer from depression cos I have no hormones playing havoc at my age so maybe someone else can answer that for you. Good luck x
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    • Posted

      A big thanks for this helpful response, Sylvia. It somehow alleviates my anxiety a little bit. 

      All of these is just so surreal to me. I mean, these hormonal whackos inside of me made me age so much faster than average. It seems like I never get to live my life normally, like any average 21 year old female is living. I know some have it worst than me, but..

      Anyway, I got tested for CA-125 and CEA a week ago, and my levels were all normal, thankfully. I haven't really thought about cancer, and something just tells me that it isn't. 

      I really don't know with whether or not my lady parts will be taken out or something (hopefully not). I am definitely going back to my gynae to talk about it. It seems like she wasn't giving me enough information to lessen my anxiety. Being a nurse doesn't really help me at all, since I tend to brew worst case scenarios in my head.

      And I will set up an appointment with my Endocrinologist too. Got my thyroid panel results back (I personally requested one from my gynae, since I have a very strong instinct that I have an underactive thyroid that causes my metabolism issues, and well, the ovarian problems too), and they're normal but really really really borderline low. So, maybe if I get that in place, my hormones will be a little bit on track.

      Thank you for the tips! Hopefully, my recovery will be as smooth as yours!

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    • Posted

      Glad to help- I always hesitate in answering younger women as it may not seem relevant to them,but the questions you were asking about recovery and fitness I felt I could be of some help. Write your questions down and make sure you get the answers . Good luck x
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  • Posted

    I'm Tracy, 39 and have been trying to get pregnant.

    I had my right ovary removed in 2004 because it was engulfed in scar tissue. This was because ten years earlier, I had a cyst with a fertilized egg in it, in the wall of my ovary and it blew up like a grenade. I had two kids after that, though. Hours after my second baby was born in 2000, I had my tubes tied.

    In 2013 I had major surgery to repair my one remaining fallopian tube so I can get pregnant again.

    In December of 2014, on ovulation day, I started having excruciatingly sharp pain in the area of my only ovary, on the left side. The pain shot into the tip of my hip bone and radiated along the top of my pelvic bone, down the back and ended at my tail bone area. It also shot down my thigh on the same side. I went to the ER many times and all they saw were two small ovarian cysts. I've had recurring ovarian cysts since puberty.

    This pain caused me to basically become bed ridden. About two months later, a horrible burning pain started and this was in addition to the already severely sharp pain I was experiencing. This burning pain caused the hip bone pain to radiate down the front of my pelvic bone and ended in my pubic bone. So, now my pain was all along the top of my pelvic bowl, on the left side, from my pubic bone to my tail bone.

    After being pawned off from Dr to Dr, I finally found the most wonderful OBGYN surgeon. She was worried and did another ultrasound. One of my cysts had all of a sudden gone from being one inch to the size of a lemon. In the ultrasound, it looked like it was a hemorrhagic cyst. But, with the severity of my pain, my surgeon was worried my ovary was possibly twisted and dying. So, she got me into surgery the very next day. This was now three months after the pain started, March 3rd.

    She went in laparoscopically and found a little bit of a lot of things. The cyst was fibrous, caused by endometriosis. My fallopian tube was stuck by adhesions to my bowel. There was a bit of endometriosis on the right and left side of my uterus, but luckily not inside it. On my bowel, there was some scarring and a little endometriosis. Along with all that, my one remaining tube that was repaired in 2013, had been blocked by scar tissue.

    My amazing surgeon gently removed the cyst, scar tissue/adhesions, endometriosis, and unblocked my tube. She cured my pain, she's my hero!

    One reason why I wanted to post all of this is to let you know that it's possible to actually get rid of the pain and save your reproductive organs so you can still get pregnant. If course, there are different circumstances for some, but not for all.


    My surgeon was specially trained to remove ovarian cysts THE CORRECT WAY, with little to no damage to the ovary. Apparently, in medical school they're taught to just rip the cyst from the ovary wall, which will cause damage, scarring. My surgeon went to additional schooling, to be trained as a specialist, to gently tease cysts away from the ovarian wall and preserve the egg reserve as much as possible. It takes a long time to do such delicate work, but if you still want kids it's definitely worth it!

    One other thing I want to mention is, each month when an egg is developing in the ovary, it develops inside a cyst. But, at that point it's called a follicle. Once you've ovulated, the follicle is then called a cyst. They typically go away on their own. I've had them linger a little, sometimes for months, since I started puberty.

    Anyway, my first period since my surgery started a couple days ago. For the first time, I'm feeling cramps the way normal women do. I am having some ovary pain, but that's normal this soon after surgery. Also, my period is heavier than I've ever had, insanely heavy. But, that's normal after this surgery as well.

    I hope this info helps put your mind at ease and educates you a little about what you may be going through. There's hope! I personally recommend the laparoscopic surgery, but only if you find a surgeon who specializes in this sort of thing, one who's had additional training in making sure they're as careful and gentle as humanly possible. Laparoscopic will cause far less internal scarring than major surgery. I read that something like 80% of people will have internal scarring after major surgery. That's why, no matter what kind of surgery you have, you need to be extra careful about not using your abdominal muscles for about 6-8 weeks. If you need to cough, sneeze, vomit, etc, make sure you have a pillow you can press on your belly to prevent any major abdominal movement. That can help prevent adhesions like I had.

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    • Posted

      Hi Tracy! Thanks for that detailed reply, it really helped!

      My. You're blessed to have found a wonderful doctor who performs specialized laparoscopic removal of cysts! Unfortunately for me though, there's currently no gynae who is trained enough to perform laparoscopic procedures.

      I sure do wish the laparoscopic route was an option for me.

      I am putting my utmost faith to my gynae that she will save as much as she can. My dreams are in her hands.

      So, straining your abdominal area the first 6 weeks of operation will cause adhesion? Guess I really do have to let my body rest and heal. I hate not being able to workout, but I guess I would just have to deal with that.

      It'll be a week and two days until my operation, and I am anxious as hell. But all you guys tips and words of encouragement do wonders! So, thanks!

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