Causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention

  • Ovarian cysts are usually not painful and go away on their own.
  • However, if a cyst develops or if you have multiple cysts, you may have symptoms and need surgery.
  • A ruptured cyst can cause severe pain and vomiting and requires immediate medical help.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference Library for more tips.

Ovarian cysts are sacs filled with fluid that form inside or on the surface of an ovary. Certain types of ovarian cysts, such as those that form during a menstrual cycle, are common while others are less so.

Most cysts are benign and tend to go away by them selves. You probably won’t even know you have a cyst.

However, if a cyst is large or continuously growing, it can cause discomfort. symptoms such as pelvic pain or unusual vaginal bleeding.

Here are seven things that can cause an ovarian cyst and when you might need surgery.

1. Menstrual cycle

Functional cysts are a type of ovarian cyst that form during the menstrual cycle.

Each month a follicle grows to release an egg. Cysts develop if the follicle does not open to release the egg (follicular cyst) or if it releases an egg but does not shrink (corpus luteum cyst).

Hormonal problems or drugs that help you ovulate may also cause functional cysts, but this type of cyst is usually goes away all alone.

Sometimes these are painful, but the pain will also resolve itself with patience and time.

2. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS, a hormonal disorder, can lead the development of many small ovarian cysts. Cysts are usually harmless and do not need to be treated or surgically removed.

3. Pregnancy

A cyst of the corpus luteum normally shapes in early pregnancy to support the baby, and it is usually goes away through the second trimester.

If the cyst does not break down, it may cause symptoms like pressure or a dull ache in the abdomen, and it may be necessary deleted. However, surgery is rarely necessary.

4. Infections

Severe pelvic infections can cause ovarian cysts if the infection spreads to the ovaries. You can need treatment depending on the type and size of the cyst.

5. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a state where tissue similar to the lines in your uterus grows outside of the uterus rather than inside.

This fabric can also to attach ovary and form a growth, causing a cyst called endometrioma which occurs in 17% to 44% people with endometriosis.

The symptoms and the appearance of the cyst on an ultrasound will tell your provider whether or not it is an endometrioma.

6. Congenital condition

If the skin layers do not form as they should during the baby’s development in the womb, a dermoid cyst may form anywhere on their body, including in or on an ovary, when they reach childbearing age.

A dermoid cyst is usually found during a pelvic exam or during an ultrasound. Your doctor may schedule regular ultrasound exams to keep an eye on it, or you may need to have it surgically removed.

This type of cyst can grow large enough to movement ovary out of position, increasing the risk of ovarian torsion – a state where the ovary is wrapped around the supporting tissues – which requires emergency surgery.

7. Abnormal cell growth

Cysts caused abnormal cell growth are all called pathological cysts, which include endometriomas, dermoid cysts, and cystadenomas – cysts that develop on the surface of an ovary.

“Cysts like dermoid or endometrioma will not go away on their own,” says Farinaz Seifi, MD, FACOG, gynecological surgeon at Yale Medicine and assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine. They usually require surgical removal.

Cysts can also be cancerous and often look characteristic on ultrasound. Ovarian cysts in postmenopausal people require attention because the risk of cancer is higher. Blood tests, ultrasound, patient age and cyst size are factored in management decisions.

Symptoms of ovarian cyst

Most ovarian cysts don’t cause no symptoms because they are small. However, cysts are not always straightforward.

“You might have a small and simple ovarian cyst, but still experience abdominal pain or bloating. Alternatively, people may have larger cysts that are accidentally discovered on imaging, such as an ultrasound or a CT scan. “, said Natasha Bhuyan, MD, family physician and regional medical director for West Coast Markets in A medical group.

If you have symptoms of an ovarian cyst, it will usually be manifested by one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pressure, bloating, or swelling in the lower abdomen
  • Sharp or dull pain in the lower abdomen
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Dull pain in the lower back and thighs
  • Pelvic pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Unexplained weight gain

If you think you have a cyst, see your primary care provider to discuss potential treatment.

Treatment and prevention

Most cysts don’t need treatment and go away on their own in a few months.

If you frequently have functional cysts, you may be advised to take hormones

birth control

. Contraceptives can stop ovulation, which can reduced the risk of future cysts, says Bhuyan. Although they not necessarily treat functional cysts, they can prevent their recurrence.

Surgery can be necessary if an ovarian cyst is large, continuously growing, painful, and continues for two or three menstrual cycles. If an infected or suspected cancerous cyst is not removed, infection or potential disease can spread throughout the body.

Insider’s takeaway

Many people may not know they have a cyst unless it is growing or causing symptoms. If you think you have a cyst, contact your health care provider for a diagnosis and potential treatment.

Severe symptoms such as sudden abdominal pain, fever and vomiting, fainting, and heavy vaginal bleeding may be a sign of a ruptured or infected cyst, which requires immediate medical attention.

“The treatment really depends on the type of cyst, the size and even your medical history, which is why it is good to have an ongoing relationship with a family doctor or an OB-GYN,” says Bhuyan.

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