Former "Black-ish" star Marsai Martin, 18, recently urged her followers to listen to their bodies after undergoing surgery to remove what she said was a "large ovarian cyst" at the beginning of the month.
"You are never alone. Listen to your body. It always shows you signs. Health is wealth," the actress posted on her Instagram story on Saturday.
Martin revealed the diagnosis and her procedure on Instagram, saying that the cyst had given her years of "constant pain."
She explained she first started experiencing pain around age 14.
"If you missed my [Instagram] live, long story short, I had surgery for my large ovarian cyst that gave me constant pain for 4+ years," Martin shared in part of a statement on her Instagram story.
"The only reason I am sharing this is so I can hopefully spread awareness and share my experience to the young women out there that may be going through the same thing or have difficult menstrual cycles," she added.
The following day, the actress shared an update on Instagram and assured fans that she has recovered from the procedure.
"Thank y'all for all the love. The procedure was 10 days ago and I'm now feeling fine," she said. "I also appreciate the stories from folks that have been through the same thing! But I'm back and I'm betta."
"It's very important, like we’ve seen in this instance, to pay attention to your body and some of the pain you may be undergoing," said Dr. Jessica Shepherd, an OBGYN and chief medical officer of VeryWell Health, who did not treat Martin. "Talk to your healthcare provider in order to prevent, minimize or even prevent unnecessary surgical exploration if it is caught in time."
What to know about ovarian cysts
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms in or on the ovaries. In women with regular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts are common.
Most women form at least one cyst every month as part of the normal menstrual cycle.
Only around 8% of premenopausal women develop cysts large enough to need treatment, according to the U.S. Office on Women's Health.
Most ovarian cysts are what gynecologists call "functional cysts"; Most cysts are small and do not cause specific symptoms.
However, symptomatic ovarian cysts can cause bloating, swelling, pressure or pain in the lower stomach area near where the cyst is located, according to the Office on Women's Health.
Some symptomatic ovarian cysts may even grow to the size of a grapefruit and, in some cases, weigh several pounds.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that 5% to 10% of women have surgery to remove an ovarian cyst.
"Treatment for a larger ovarian cyst typically begins with a sonogram or ultrasound so the doctor can look for features that would indicate the cyst is benign," said ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. "If there is no suspicion [of cancer], the doctor will likely have the patient come back in four to six weeks for another checkup."
A small cyst may resolve on its own, but if not, doctors urge women to seek treatment.
If there is a suspicion of cancer, a doctor will likely order further testing.