What are ovarian cysts?

Ovarian cysts are sacs of fluid that develop inside the ovary. They are very common, usually painless and will often go away without any treatment.

Most ovarian cysts are small, although some may reach a large size. There are two main types:

  • functional ovarian cysts (the most common type) are harmless cysts that are short-lived and formed as part of the menstrual cycle.
  • pathological cysts are growths in the ovaries that are either benign (harmless) or malignant (cancerous).

What tests are necessary to check for the cysts?

An ultrasound scan is most commonly used to check for ovarian cysts. Occasionally laparoscopy is necessary to exclude cysts on the ovaries.

Do they cause problems?

Most ovarian cysts are small, harmless and do not cause any problems. Larger cysts may cause problems, such as pain and swelling in your abdomen (Symptoms for more information).

What is the treatment?

Most ovarian cysts disappear after a few weeks without treatment. If the cyst is large or is causing problems, or if the doctor thinks it might be cancerous, it can be removed surgically (Treatments/Surgery for more information).

External links

Laparoscopic view of an ovarian cyst