Chocolate cyst, also known as endometrioma, is one of several types of cysts in the ovaries. A chocolate cyst is a growing sac on the ovary that contains liquid and sometimes semi-solid material, in which case it may be called a complex ovarian cyst. In simple words, a chocolate cyst is a blood-filled cyst located in the ovaries.
Endometrioma is one of the estrogen-dependent gynecological diseases that affects approximately 5% to 10% of women of reproductive age. Symptoms of a chocolate cyst are similar to those of endometriosis, as the underlying disease is the same, but all cases are individual. Regardless of how long the cysts have been present, some women will have severe symptoms, while other women will have few or no symptoms. Therefore, the degree and severity of symptoms do not always indicate how far the endometrioma has progressed.
Chocolate Cyst: How Does It Form?
As with endometriosis, a chocolate cyst forms when menstrual blood and endometrial tissue (tissue from the lining of your uterus) flow through the fallopian tubes into the abdominal cavity and become abnormally attached to the ovaries when it grows. In these places where the endometrial cells adhere, when stimulated by the estrogen hormone, the cells multiply and when the endometrial cells in the uterus are poured into the vagina, the endometrial cells and blood that accumulate between the ovary and the peritoneum cause a cyst to form.
Why is it called a chocolate cyst?
The endometrial tissue inside the ovarian cyst responds to monthly hormones. This tissue fills the inside of these cysts with uncoagulated blood. Chocolate cysts get their name from the dark old blood that is black, tarry and thick, resembling chocolate. Other given names for chocolate cyst are endometrial cyst, endometrioma cyst, and chocolate ovarian cyst.
Symptoms of Chocolate Cyst or Endometrioma;
The most common symptoms of endometrioma are:
Abdominal cramping/swelling during the menstrual cycle,
abnormal bleeding / spotting,
painful menstrual periods,
excessive vaginal bleeding
Dark colored vaginal discharge
Pain when going to the toilet, urinating or emptying the intestines,
Pain during sexual intercourse and
pain during exercises
Chocolate cyst rupture can also be a source of severe pain. If a chocolate cyst ruptures, the contents can spill into the ovaries and other organs of the pelvis. This can cause complications such as adhesions, infection, and intense pelvic pain. Rupture of the cyst can be a serious medical emergency. If you have symptoms such as excessive bleeding, fever, vomiting or severe pain, you should consult a specialist immediately. Some other conditions that mimic this disease include ovarian cysts, Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy or tubal pregnancy is a complication that occurs when the pregnancy is located outside of the uterus.