Consultant Gynaecologist and Specialist in Pelvic Floor Surgery

Ovarian Cysts

What is an ovary?

An ovary is an almond sized organ located on either side of the uterus. Eggs develop and mature within the ovaries and are released in monthly cycles during your childbearing years

What is an ovarian cyst?

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs or pockets within or on the surface of an ovary.

Ovarian cysts are quite common before the menopause and about 1 in 7 women will develop one at some point.

Most ovarian cysts cause little or no discomfort and are harmless and disappear within a few months without treatment.

What are the symptoms of ovarian cysts?

Most cysts don’t cause any symptoms and resolve spontaneously.

Ovarian cysts can cause:

When should I seek urgent medical advice?

Why do women develop ovarian cysts?

Most ovarian cysts develop as a result of the normal function of your menstrual cycle. These are known as functional cysts. Other types of cysts are much less common.

Functional cysts

Your ovaries grow cyst-like structures called follicles each month. The follicles release an egg when you ovulate and produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone. When a normal monthly follicle keeps growing and fails to release an egg, it develops into a functional cyst.

There are two types of functional cysts:

 

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

Other cysts include:

Some women develop less common types of cysts that may not produce symptoms, but that a doctor may find during a pelvic exam. Cystic ovarian masses that develop after menopause may be cancerous (malignant). That’s why it’s important to have regular pelvic exams.

What are the risks of ovarian cysts?

Infrequent complications associated with ovarian cysts include:

What tests do I need?

A cyst may be found during a pelvic exam.

To identify the type of cyst, the following tests or procedures are useful:

What treatment options are available?

Treatment will depend on your age, the type and size of the cyst, and any symptoms.

A discussion on the best option for you individual circumstance will take place during your consultation.