Ovarian cysts


A women's reproductive system has two ovaries, one on either side of the uterus. The ovaries, each about the size of an almond, produce eggs (called ova) as well as the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Eggs are fertilized by sperm from the male to produce offspring.
An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid that forms on or inside an ovary. Any ovarian follicle that is larger than about two centimeters is termed an ovarian cyst. An ovarian cyst can be as small as a pea or larger than a cantaloupe.
Ovarian cysts affect women of all ages. They occur most often, however, during a woman's childbearing years. Some ovarian cysts cause problems, such as bleeding and pain. Functional ovarian cysts usually don't need treatment and typically disappear on their own within 8-12 weeks. Surgery may be required to remove cysts larger than five centimeters in diameter.

Related Terms

Blood cyst, chocolate cyst, corpus luteum cyst, cyst, dentigerous cyst, dermoid cyst, endometrial cyst, endometrioid cyst, endometrioma, follicular cyst, functional ovarian cysts, hematocele, hematocyst, hemorrhagic cyst, physiologic ovarian cysts.

types of the disease

Functional cyst: A functional cyst, or simple cyst, is part of the normal process of menstruation. These cysts are not caused by disease, and they can be treated. The three different types of functional ovarian cysts are Graafian follicle cysts, corpus luteum cysts, and hemorrhagic cysts.
A Graafian follicle cyst can form when ovulation doesn't occur and a follicle doesn't rupture or release its egg but instead grows until it becomes a cyst, or when a mature follicle involutes (collapses on itself). It usually forms during ovulation and can grow to about six centimeters (2.3 inches) in diameter. It is thin-walled, lined by one or more layers of granulosa cells, and filled with clear fluid. Its rupture can create sharp, severe pain on the side of the ovary on which the cyst appears. This sharp pain (sometimes called mittelschmerz) occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle, during ovulation. Usually, however, these cysts do not produce noticeable symptoms and disappear by themselves within a few months.
A corpus luteum cystoccurs after an egg has been released from a follicle. The follicle then becomes a secretory gland that is known as the corpus luteum. The ruptured follicle begins producing large quantities of estrogen and progesterone in preparation for conception. If a pregnancy doesn't occur, the corpus luteum usually breaks down and disappears. It may, however, fill with fluid or blood, causing the corpus luteum to expand into a cyst and stay on the ovary. Usually, this cyst is on only one side and does not produce any symptoms. It can, however, grow to almost 10 centimeters (four inches) in diameter and has the potential to bleed into itself or twist the ovary, causing pelvic or abdominal pain. If it fills with blood, the cyst may rupture, causing internal bleeding and sudden, sharp pain.
A hemorrhagic cyst occurs when a very small blood vessel in the wall of the cyst breaks and blood enters the cyst. Abdominal pain on one side of the body, often the right side, may be present. The bleeding may occur quickly and rapidly stretch the covering of the ovary, causing pain. As the blood collects within the ovary, clots form, which can be seen on a sonogram. Occasionally, hemorrhagic cysts can rupture, with blood entering the abdominal cavity. No blood is seen out of the vagina. If a cyst ruptures, it is usually very painful. Hemorrhagic cysts that rupture are less common. Most hemorrhagic cysts are self-limiting (resolving on their own). However, some need surgical intervention.
Dermoid cyst: A dermoid cyst (also called a cystic teratoma) contains developmentally mature skin complete with hair follicles and sweat glands, sometimes clumps of long hair, and often pockets of sebum, blood, fat, bone, nails, teeth, eyes, cartilage, and thyroid tissue.
Endometrioid cyst: An endometrioid cyst is caused by endometriosis and formed when a tiny patch of endometrial tissue (the mucous membrane that makes up the inner layer of the uterine wall) bleeds, sloughs off, becomes transplanted, and grows and enlarges inside the ovaries. As the blood builds up over months and years, it turns brown. When it ruptures, the material spills over into the pelvis and onto the surface of the uterus, bladder, bowel, and the corresponding spaces between them. Treatment for endometriosis can be medical or surgical.
Pathological cysts: Pathological cysts include those found in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or those associated with tumors. A polycystic-appearing ovary is diagnosed based on its enlarged size (usually twice than normal in size), with small cysts present around the outside of the ovary. It can be found in women with or without endocrine disorders. A polycystic-appearing ovary is different from polycystic ovarian syndrome, which includes other symptoms in addition to the presence of ovarian cysts and involves metabolic and cardiovascular risks linked to insulin resistance.
Ovarian carcinoma: Ovarian cancer can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). There are several types of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer that begins on the surface of the ovary (epithelial carcinoma) is the most common type. Ovarian cancer that begins in the egg-producing cells (germ cell tumors) and cancer that begins in the supportive tissue surrounding the ovaries (stromal tumors) are rare.