An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms within or on an ovary. Most women develop an ovarian cyst at some time during their lives, however, these cysts typically disappear without treatment in two to three months and usually do not cause any discomfort. But, they can sometimes be the source of menstrual irregularities, pelvic pain, abdominal heaviness, pain during bowel movements, nausea, vomiting, and — in extreme cases — sudden, severe abdominal or pelvic pain, or pain accompanied by fever or vomiting that requires immediate medical attention. 

Functional cysts account for the majority of ovarian cysts that develop during the normal course of a woman’s menstrual cycle. There are two types of functional cysts: a follicular cyst starts when an egg is not released from the follicle and instead grows into a cyst; a corpus luteum cyst develops after the follicle releases an egg, but fluid then accumulates inside the follicle causing it to become a cyst. Other cysts not related to the menstrual cycle include dermoid cysts, cystadenomas and endometriomas. 

Ovarian cysts may be found during a pelvic exam and then identified by performing a pregnancy test, pelvic ultrasound, laparoscopy, or cancer antigen blood test. Treatment will depend on the woman’s age, symptoms, and size and composition of the cyst. Options may include watching the cyst to see if it goes away on its own, birth control pills to reduce the chance of developing new cysts in future menstrual cycles, or surgery to remove a cyst if it is large, growing, doesn’t appear to be a functional cyst, or remains through several menstrual cycles. 

For more information about ovarian cysts, talk with your doctor or call the free physician referral line at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake at 800-887-2525 to find an obstetrician/gynecologist near you.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

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