Ovarian Cysts

An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on a woman’s ovary. They’re very common and don’t usually cause any symptoms. Ovarian cysts may affect both ovaries at the same time, or they may only affect one. Most ovarian cysts occur naturally and disappear in a few months without needing any treatment. Most ovarian cysts develop as a result of your menstrual cycle (functional cysts) and considered to be a normal phenomenon. Other types of cysts are much less common.

Functional cysts are usually harmless, rarely cause pain, and often disappear on their own within two or three menstrual cycles. There are two types of functional cysts:

  • Follicular cyst which begins when the follicle doesn’t rupture and release the egg.
  • Corpus luteum cyst which forms after rupture and releasing the egg and, therefore, fluid accumulates inside the follicle, causing the corpus luteum to grow into a cyst.

Other types of cysts include:

  • Hemorrhagic cysts are blood-filled cysts that occur when the wall of a cyst ruptures. This rupture can cause bleeding into the cyst resulting in a hemorrhagic cyst. This is also a normal phenomenon and often disappears by itself.
  • Dermoid cysts which contain tissue, such as hair, skin or teeth, because they form from embryonic cells. They’re rarely cancerous.
  • Cystadenomas which develop on the ovary and might be filled with a watery or a mucous material.
  • Endometriomas which develop as a result of endometriosis.

The vast majority of ovarian cysts are non-cancerous (benign) and a small number are cancerous. Cancerous cysts are more common in women who have been through the menopause.


Complications associated with ovarian cysts include:

  • Ovarian twisting which occurs as a result of enlarged cyst and cause abrupt onset of severe pelvic pain, nausea and vomiting. Ovarian twisting can interrupt the blood flow going to the ovary and affect its function.
  • Cyst Rupture which causes severe pain and internal bleeding.

Treatment of ovarian cysts

Treatment of ovarian cysts could be by taking medications or by performing surgery. Medical or surgical treatment depends on the type of cyst and its burden on the woman’s health.

If you have a functional cyst, your physician may prescribe birth control pills to help make it smaller or disappeared. If you get ovarian cyst often, birth control pills decrease the chance of new ones forming.

If ovarian cyst twisting is suspected, your physician may need to perform surgery on your ovary to restore back and remove the cyst.

Remember that each kind of cyst is treated differently. Accurate diagnosis leads to proper treatment.