What is an ovarian cyst?

An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid, blood or other tissue that forms in or on the surface of the ovary. Ovarian cysts are very common.  Most ovarian cysts are not cancer and go away on their own without treatment. Rarely, a cyst may be malignant (cancer).

What are the symptoms of ovarian cysts?

In most cases, small ovarian cysts do not cause symptoms.  Some cysts may cause a dull or sharp ache in the abdomen.   Larger cysts may cause the ovary to twist. This twisting usually causes pain on one side that comes and goes and can start suddenly. Cysts that rupture also may cause sudden, severe pain.

What is the most common type of Ovarian cyst?

A functional cyst is the most common type of ovarian cyst. It usually causes no symptoms. Functional cysts often go away without treatment within 6–8 weeks. It is common in Childbearing age.

 How are ovarian cysts diagnosed?

If your obstetrician-gynecologist  thinks that you may have a cyst, the following tests may be recommended to find out more information:

Ultrasound exam.

Blood tests— including CA 125

( An increased level of CA 125, along with physical exam and ultrasound findings, may raise concern for ovarian cancer, especially in a woman who is past menopause). Several other blood tests also can be used to help identify whether a mass on the ovary is concerning for cancer.

How are ovarian cysts treated?

The treatment options for ovarian cysts depends on the type and size of cysts along with other factors.  Treatment options also include watchful waiting and repeat ultrasound to monitor the cyst.  If the cyst is large or causing symptoms then surgery is also an option.

When is surgery recommended?

Surgery may be recommended if your cyst is very large or causing pain or if cancer is suspected.

How is surgery performed?

IF the ovarian cyst is benign then minimally invasive surgery is recommended. Minimally invasive surgery is done using small incisions and a special instrument called a laparoscope. This type of surgery is called a laparoscopy. Another type of surgery is called open surgery. In open surgery, an incision is made horizontally or vertically in the lower abdomen. Open surgery may be done if cancer is suspected or if the cyst is too large to be removed by laparoscopy.