The ovaries are located in the lower abdomen on both sides of the uterus and are a part of the female reproductive system. A woman has two ovaries that produce eggs also the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Sometimes, a fluid-filled sac also called as a cyst grows in one of the ovaries or on its surface. Many women develop at least one cyst in the course of their lifetime.

In most cases, cysts show no symptoms and are harmless.


Generally, Ovarian cysts do not show any symptoms. However, symptoms can appear as the cyst grows. Symptoms may include:

  • abdominal bloating or swelling
  • painful bowel movements
  • Pelvic pain -before or during the menstrual cycle— a dull or sharp ache in the lower abdomen
  • pain in the lower back or thighs
  • painful intercourse
  • breast tenderness
  • nausea, vomiting, faintness or dizziness
  • rapid breathing
  • Fullness or heaviness in your abdomen
  • Bloating
  • Pain with fever or vomiting


Most ovarian cysts develop as an outcome of one’s menstrual cycle (functional cysts).

Functional cysts

The ovaries many times grow cyst-like structures referred to as follicles monthly. Follicles produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone and release an egg at the time of ovulation. But if the follicle does not break, the fluid inside the follicle can develop a cyst on the ovary.

Functional cysts are of two types:

Follicular cyst. A follicular cyst starts developing when the follicle does not rupture or release its egg, but on the other hand, continues to grow.

Corpus luteum cyst. Follicle sacs typically dissolve after releasing an egg. But if the sac doesn’t dissolve and consequently, the opening of the follicle seals, extra fluid can develop inside the follicle sac. This accumulation of fluid results in the formation of a corpus luteum cyst.

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

Other types of ovarian cysts nonrelatable to the usual function of one’s menstrual cycle include:

Dermoid cysts. Also referred to as teratomas, these can contain tissue, such as hair, skin or teeth, because they form from embryonic cells

cystadenomas: are noncancerous growths that can develop on the outer surface of the ovaries and might be filled with a watery or a mucous material.

endometriomas: in this condition, tissues that usually grow inside the uterus can develop outside the uterus and attach to the ovaries, resulting in a cyst formation.

A few women develop a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS refers to the condition where ovaries contain a large number of small cysts leading the ovaries to enlarge. If left untreated, polycystic ovaries (PCOS or PCOD) can cause infertility.


  • A pelvic examination by the gynecologist
  • Ultrasonography or Ultrasound tests help determine the size, location, shape, and composition of a cyst.
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • hormone level test
  • CA-125 blood tests to check for ovarian cancer
  • Pregnancy test. A positive test might indicate that one has corpus luteum cyst.
  • Laparoscopy. This is a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia the Gynaecologist can remove the ovarian cyst using a laparoscope.


Ovarian torsion. When a large cyst causes the ovary to move or twist, increasing the chances of painful twisting of one’s ovary (ovarian torsion) which may also decrease or stop the blood supply to the ovaries.

Rupture. A cyst when rupture can result in severe pain and internal bleeding.The larger the cyst, the greater the risk of rupture. A vigorous activity like vaginal intercourse that affects the pelvis also increases the risk.

Most ovarian cysts surgery is benign and naturally escape on their own without any specific treatment.


Treatment of cysts in ovaries depends on the patient’s age, the type and size of the cyst, and the presenting complaints or symptoms. Various treatment options are:

Watchful waiting. In many cases of small cysts, the Gynaecologist advises to wait and do regular examinations to see if the cyst goes away within a few months.

Medication. Your doctor might recommend hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills, to prevent the development of new cysts. However, birth control pills would not help shrink an existing cyst.

The postmenopausal women are more at risk of getting ovarian cancer.

SURGERY is recommended in cases :

  • When a cyst is large,
  • does not appear to be a functional cyst,
  • is growing, continues through two or three menstrual cycles,
  • or causes severe pain.

Ovarian Cystectomy: Some cysts can be removed without removing the ovary

Oophorectomy: In some cases, the affected ovary is removed surgically leaving the other ovary intact at its place.

Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy: If a cystic mass is cancerous the patient might need to have her uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes removed possibly followed by chemotherapy or radiation.

Laparoscopy: procedure involves making a minimal incision around the navel region and then inserting a small instrument called as Laparoscope into the patient’s abdomen to remove the cyst.If

Laparotomy: In case of a large cyst, the surgeon can surgically remove the cyst through a large incision in the patient’s abdomen followed by biopsy test to check if the cyst is cancerous or non-cancerous.

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