Ovarian Cysts: Symptoms, Warning Signs, Treatment, Types, Surgery

Ovarian cysts are commonly found in women of any age group and it simply means enlargement of ovaries. The ovaries are two important female reproductive system located on either side of a woman’s uterus. These are the organs that produce eggs during the woman’s reproductive period.

An ovarian cyst can be a source of problem and it is best to consult a gynecologist, if you have been diagnosed with it. The earlier you diagnose the condition the better are your changes of recovery.

An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with liquid or other tissue. It is normal for a small cyst to develop in the ovaries due to hormonal imbalance and these cysts disappear after a few cycles. In some cases, they may even cause problems and need medical treatment.

This chronic disease is difficult to diagnose at times, as the symptoms are not always apparent. However, it is important to diagnose your ovarian cysts condition and the symptoms to ensure correct treatment.

Ovarian Cysts Types:

Ovarian cysts are of various types and can be of any size. Most cysts are benign or not cancerous. These can be functional, which develop due to hormonal effects, and do not require surgical treatment. Different types of cysts are common in different age groups.

1. Dermoid cysts are common in girls and young women.

2. Reproductive age is likely to be associated with functional cysts or cystadenoma.

3. Benign cysts require surgical treatment if they are big, growing rapidly or are symptomatic. These types of cysts can be dermoid cysts, endometriosis (Chocolate cysts) or cystadenomas.

4. Rarely, a few cysts may turn out to be malignant or cancerous. Malignant are more common in women above 40 years.

Ovarian Cysts Symptoms:

• Most ovarian cysts are very small and do not cause any symptoms.

• Some cysts may cause a dull or sharp pain in the abdomen area and pain during certain activities.

• Some can even cause severe dysmenorrhoea painful periods), which is of recent onset.

• Torsion or twisting of the ovary can cause severe pain, requiring immediate medical intervention.

• Cysts that bleed may lead to serious issues, requiring prompt surgery.

Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian Cysts Diagnosis:

Confirmation of ovarian cyst is done during a regular pelvic exam or an ultrasound scan. Once a cyst is diagnosed, you may require further tests to determine the type of the cyst. Some blood tests such as CA 125 and CEA may also be done.

Ovarian Cysts Treatment:

Once a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cyst, there are various treatment options available. Choosing the option depends on:

• Size and type of cyst
• Woman’s age
• Severity of symptoms
• Desire for future childbearing
• Family history of the woman, especially if there is history of such cancers in the immediate family

Watchful Waiting:

If the cyst is not showing any symptoms and is suggestive of functional type then they may monitor for 3 to 6 months and check to see whether it has changed in size. This monitoring is normally done by repeated USG scans.

Most functional cysts disappear on their own after 1 or 2 menstrual cycles, as they are dependent on ovulation that is associated with menstrual cycles.

If a woman has a tendency to form functional cysts repeatedly, oral contraceptive pills are advised as these pills prevent ovulation and this process reduces the chance of functional cysts.

Risk Factor:

In rare cases, a cyst may be cancerous. In its early stages, ovarian cancer often has no symptoms, so you should be aware of its warning signs. Ovarian cancer is very rare in young women, but the risk increases as the women get older.

Women with first degree relative with breast or ovarian cancer should undergo checkups more often as they have higher chances of developing these cancers.

Ovarian Cancer Warning Signs:

Pelvic pain
Abdominal pain
• Back pain
• Enlargement or swelling of abdomen
• Inability to eat normally or indigestion
• Unexplained weight loss and fatigue
Constipation and increased urinary frequency


Surgical intervention is recommended if the cyst is:

• Symptomatic
• Growing in size
• Persisting for more than six months without change in size, very large.
• Associated with other conditions including infertility

In non-cancerous condition, irrespective of the type, size of cyst or situation (even in woman with previous surgeries), the approach is Laparoscopy.

It is usually done as day care procedure or the woman can go home after a night’s observation in the hospital. It also gives woman the benefit of quick and painless recovery.

Also Read: What is Cervical Cancer

The most common treatment in young women with non-cancerous lesions is cystectomy – removal of the abnormal tissues and saving the normal ovarian tissues.

In older women, depending upon the cause, oophorectomy – removal of the complete ovary may be done. If the situation requires, complete removal of uterus can also be done laparoscopically.

If the ovarian cysts are of cancerous nature, then an open surgery is done. In pregnant woman ovarian cysts is common during their childbearing time.

While most cysts are benign and disappear on their own, you should consult a gynecologist to keep monitoring, and make sure it does grow and create problems.

SOURCE: B-Positive Health Magazine

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