How to Test For Ovarian Cyst
Ovarian cysts can be diagnosed a few different ways. Once a doctor suspects an ovarian cyst, additional tests will be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Pelvic and Transvaginal Ultrasound
Ovarian cysts are often detected during a pelvic exam. A pelvis ultrasound can allow the doctor to see the cyst with sound waves and help determine whether it is comprised of fluid, solid tissue, or a mixture of the two. A transvaginal ultrasound consists of a doctor inserting a probe into the vagina in order to examine the uterus and ovaries. The examination allows the doctor to view the cyst in more detail.
During laparoscopic surgery, a doctor will make small incisions and pass a thin scope (laparoscope) through the abdomen. The laparoscope will allow the doctor to identify the cyst and possibly remove or biopsy the cyst.
Serum CA-125 Assay
A cancer-antigen 125 (CA-125) blood test can help suggest if a cyst is due to ovarian cancer, but other conditions -- including endometriosis and uterine fibroids -- can also increase CA-125 levels, so this test is not specific for ovarian cancer. In some cases of ovarian cancer, levels of CA-125 are not elevated enough to be detected by the blood test.
The doctor may order a pregnancy test and assess hormone levels. Blood tests can also be performed to test for other hormones that may cause polycystic ovarian syndrome.
A fluid sample from the pelvis may be taken in order to rule out bleeding into the abdominal cavity. Culdocentesis is performed by inserting a needle through the vaginal wall behind the uterine cervix.