An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid or other tissue that forms in or around your ovaries. These cysts are very common, and you can have an ovarian cyst come and go and not know it.
Most ovarian cysts are harmless, but some can cause problems.
At Obstetricians & Gynecologists, PC, in Grand Island and Hastings, Nebraska, our women’s health experts specialize in diagnosing and treating all types of ovarian cysts. In this blog, we cover ovarian cysts, how they form, how they go away, and when it’s time for medical intervention.
About ovarian cysts
If you have ovaries, you’re at risk of having ovarian cysts. There are several types of cysts that form on the ovaries, most of which are functional cysts that form as a result of your menstrual cycle.
Functional cysts include:
During your menstrual cycle, a follicle (sac) in your ovary releases a mature egg. Follicular cysts form when your follicle fails to release that egg. The follicle then fills with fluid and grows in size. This type of ovarian cyst shrinks and disappears on its own within a few menstrual cycles.
Corpus luteum cysts
When your follicle releases the egg, it turns into a mass of cells called corpus luteum. Sometimes fluid collects in this mass of cells, creating a corpus luteum cyst. Like the follicular cyst, this cyst resolves on its own over time.
You can also have ovarian cysts not related to your menstrual cycle, such as:
Cystadenomas are sacs that form on the surface of your ovaries. These cysts are filled with fluid or a thick mucus.
These are benign cysts filled with cells from other body tissues like skin or hair. Dermoid cysts are usually present at birth and grow during the reproductive years.
Endometriomas are cysts that affect women with endometriosis — a gynecological condition in which endometrial tissue grows in areas other than the uterus.
When ovarian cysts cause problems
Most functional cysts don’t cause any problems or symptoms. These cysts can sometimes cause a dull aching sensation or a sharp shooting pain. We may inadvertently find one of these cysts during your annual well-woman exam.
When we find a cyst, we monitor it with regular exams and ultrasounds as needed.
Ovarian cysts may cause problems if they grow too large and cause your ovary to twist or burst, causing sudden severe pain. If you have this type of pain, call 911, or get someone to take you to the nearest emergency room for care.
Treatment for ovarian cysts
Most cysts don’t require any treatment. However, if you have a large cyst or a concerning ovarian cyst, we may perform a cystectomy (removing the cyst from the ovary) or an oophorectomy (removing the affected ovary).
Yes, most ovarian cysts go away on their own within a couple of months. But there are treatments available when your cysts cause problems.
If you have concerns about pelvic pain or ovarian cysts, schedule an appointment with our specialists at Obstetricians & Gynecologists, PC, by calling the office nearest you today or using the online appointment request tool.