Ovarian Cyst - Symptoms and Treatment

The ovarian cyst is a benign alteration, which may appear in young and elderly women, and that is not related to cancer in the vast majority of cases. The ovarian cyst is a lesion that when small, usually does not cause symptoms and may disappear spontaneously over time.

Ovarian cyst
Ovarian cyst

In this article we will explain what is an ovarian cyst, what are its causes, symptoms and treatment options. Let's just address the simple cysts.

What is a cyst?

The cyst is an injury that can arise in various parts of our body. It is basically a bubble surrounded by a thin membrane, which contains air or liquid substances (or semi-liquid) inside.

Cysts may also occur in the kidneys, skin, liver, pancreas, the breast, the brain, the vocal cords and in dozens of other parts of the body.

The cyst is by nature a benign lesion. It is just an accumulation of liquid in a given tissue. However, in rare cases, malignant tumors may look similar to a cyst. Therefore, careful lesion assessment is always important.

What is ovarian cyst?

The ovarian cyst is therefore a pouch or bag with liquid inside, which is formed in the ovary itself or around it.

There are several types of ovarian cyst, the most common are so-called functional cysts, which are formed during the process of ovulation.

Functional cysts

Follicular cyst

Each menstrual cycle, hormonal variations stimulate the growth of ovarian follicles, which is a small cyst containing the egg inside. In half of the menstrual cycle, the follicle ruptures and releases the egg toward the tubes. This process is called ovulation. If the follicle can not be broken, it continues to accumulate liquid inside and grow, forming a cyst. All follicles not broken which reaches at least 2.5 cm in diameter is called the follicular cyst.

The follicular cyst is the most common of all ovarian cyst and mostly occurs in young women. This type of cyst usually disappears spontaneously after a few weeks.

Cyst corpus luteum

When the time of ovulation ovarian follicle ruptures and releases the egg, it is now called the corpus luteum. The role of the corpus luteum is producing estrogen and progesterone to prepare the uterus and the woman's body to receive a pregnancy. If the released egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum regresses and disappears in a few days.

The corpus luteum cyst arises when after his break to release the egg, it returns to close, going to accumulate liquid inside. The corpus luteum cyst is usually more than 3 cm in diameter and also disappears spontaneously after a few weeks.

Drugs used in the treatment of infertility, as clomiphene citrate (Clomid�, Indux�, Serofene�) increase the risk of formation of a corpus luteum cyst.

Remember that postmenopausal women do not ovulate, so may not have the most common form of ovarian cyst, which are the follicular cysts. Similarly, young women taking hormonal contraceptives did not ovulate, and is not expected to have follicular cysts. The same reasoning applies to the corpus luteum cyst.

Other types of cysts


Women with endometriosis may develop cysts in the ovaries, which are called endometriomas or chocolate cysts, due to its dark and bloody content.
Endometriomas often painful, especially during the menstrual period or during sex. When rupture, there can be intense abdominal pain and mild fever, pelvic inflammatory disease simulating a frame (DIP) or appendicitis.

Dermoid cyst

Also called mature cystic teratoma, dermoid cyst is a benign tumor that arises in young women. As a cancer germ cells, the cyst may contain pieces of bone, hair, skin, fat and even teeth. The dermoid cyst is the most common type of tumor in women between 20 and 40 years. Despite being benign, in rare cases it can turn into cancer.

The dermoid cyst can cause pain and some grow quite easily can exceed 10 cm in diameter.


The cystadenoma is also a benign tumor of the ovaries and can get to have up to 20 cm in diameter. The cystadenoma may arise in both ovaries and usually does not disappear by itself with time.

Ovarian cysts can be cancer?

Ovarian cancer usually manifests as a solid tumor in the ovary, but in some cases, it can have a similar appearance to that of a cyst.

In women of childbearing age, the ovarian tumor is unusual and less than 1% of ovarian cysts represent, in fact, a malignant tumor. In postmenopausal women, most benign cysts is also, however, the occurrence of tumors with semi-cystic aspect is larger, which requires a little more attention by the physician.

In most cases, follicular cysts, corpus luteum, endometriomas or dermoid cysts are easily distinguishable by ultrasound or MRI, and there is plenty of room for confusion with malignant tumors. However, when it is not possible to rule out a tumor through these imaging tests, the cyst should be removed surgically for histopathological evaluation. Some blood tests, such as CA 125 dosage, help to distinguish malignant tumors from benign cysts, because in 80% of cases of ovarian cancer this test is with increased values.

So the answer to the above question is yes, an ovarian cyst may be a cancer but the vast majority of cases it is not.

Ovarian cyst symptoms

Most ovarian cysts do not cause symptoms and eventually disappear spontaneously after a few weeks. So many women have ovarian cysts and are not even aware.
In general, ovarian cysts do not cause infertility or cause menstrual abnormalities. The endometrioma is one of the exceptions.

The ovarian cyst usually causes symptoms when at least one of the following is present:

Growth cyst

In these cases, a woman may feel pain or heaviness in the pelvic or abdominal region, pain during intercourse, abdominal distension, nausea, urge to urinate frequently (if the bladder is being compressed), sudden difficulty or desire to evacuate (if the right is being compressed) and weight gain (if the cyst is growing much).

Rupture of cyst

The clinical picture of a ruptured ovarian cyst is usually a sudden and intense unilateral pain in the pelvis. The breaks usually occur during physical exertion or sex. Rarely, rupture the cyst may cause severe bleedings. Vaginal bleeding may even occur, but is not a common symptom of ruptured ovarian cyst.

Twist cyst

When cyst grows too much, it can turn around its own axis, causing a twisting of the cyst, ovarian or uterine horn. The picture is similar to the rupture of the cyst, with intense and sudden unilateral pelvic or abdominal pain. The pain can be intense enough to cause nausea and vomiting.

Ovarian cyst treatment


The young women of childbearing age, most cysts do not require any treatment because they cause few or no symptoms and disappear on their own after one or two months. A sonographic reassessment after 8 weeks is usually recommended for the doctor to assess whether the cyst disappeared or increased in size in this range.

If the cyst is large, usually larger than 5 cm and continued growth, cause very severe symptoms or, particularly if they have a suspicious-looking to imaging, surgery to remove the ovarian cyst is an option to be taken into account. ovarian cysts caused by endometriosis also often require surgical treatment.

It is worth remarking that the cyst size is not directly related with the possibility of it being a cancer. Large cysts growing or are not necessarily malignant, just as small cysts are not necessarily benign.

Women after menopause

In women in the after menopause period, the appearance of the cyst by ultrasound and the CA 125 value help define the best approach. If the cyst has a benign appearance and CA 125 is low, the doctor will only accompany it with ultrasound tests every 3 or 6 months. However, if there is any doubt about the kindness of the injury, surgery may be the recommended course of action.

Cysts in older women do not usually desparecer spontaneously. This does not mean, however, that they must necessarily be removed by surgery. If the cyst is small, asymptomatic and clearly benign, just follow it with imaging.

General keywords

User discussion

Site indexMedicines onlineInteresting to readCommentaries
TabletsManual.com © 2012