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Understanding Ovarian Cysts: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Ovarian cysts are a common gynecological condition that can affect women of all ages. While most ovarian cysts are harmless and resolve on their own, understanding their causes, symptoms and potential treatments is crucial for maintaining women's reproductive health. In this clinical blog, we will delve into the world of ovarian cysts, exploring their different types, symptoms, diagnosis and available treatment options.

Book an online appointment with Dr. Aastha Aggarwal for Pregnancy & Gynecology related issues

What are Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled bags that develop on or within the ovaries. They can vary in size and are often classified into two main types: functional cysts and pathological cysts.

Functional Cysts

1. Follicular Cysts: These cysts form when a follicle in the ovary fails to release an egg during ovulation. They may resolve on their own within a few menstrual cycles.

2. Corpus Luteum Cysts: After an egg is released during ovulation, the ruptured follicle transforms into the corpus luteum. Sometimes, this structure fills with fluid or blood, resulting in a cyst. Most corpus luteum cysts also resolve spontaneously.

Pathological Cysts

1. Endometriomas: These cysts form when endometrial tissue grows on the ovaries, resulting in painful cysts that can affect fertility.

2. Dermoid Cysts: Also known as teratomas, these cysts are made up of different types of tissue, potentially including hair, skin and even teeth.

3. Cystadenomas: These cysts develop from ovarian tissue and can be filled with mucus or a watery fluid.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts

Many ovarian cysts are asymptomatic and are discovered incidentally during routine pelvic exams or imaging tests. However, some women may experience symptoms, which includes:

  • Pelvic Pain: Dull or sharp pelvic pain, often on one side, can be a symptom of a cyst.
  • Bloating or Abdominal Swelling: Larger cysts can cause abdominal bloating or a feeling of fullness.
  • Irregular and Painful Menstrual Cycles: Cysts can disrupt normal menstrual patterns. Endometriomas result in painful menstrual cycles.
  • Painful Intercourse: Some cysts may lead to discomfort during sexual activity.
  • Urinary Urgency: Pressure on the bladder due to cysts can result in frequent urination.
  • Nausea or Vomiting: This may occur if a cyst causes the ovary to twist or rupture.

Diagnosis and Treatment

1. Diagnosis: Ovarian cysts are often detected through pelvic exams, ultrasound imaging or other diagnostic tests. Imaging can help determine the cyst's size, composition and location.

2. Watchful Waiting: In many cases, especially with small functional cysts, a "wait and see" approach is recommended as they often resolve without intervention.

3. Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers can alleviate discomfort associated with cysts.

4. Birth Control Pills: Hormonal birth control can prevent the development of new cysts by preventing ovulation.

5. Surgery: If a cyst is large, causing severe symptoms or shows signs of being potentially cancerous, surgical removal may be necessary. Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery is often used.

Also Read : Pregnancy with Ovarian Cyst

When to Seek Medical Attention

It's important to consult a healthcare professional if you experience persistent or severe pelvic pain, sudden and severe abdominal pain, fever or symptoms that interfere with your daily life.


Ovarian cysts are a common occurrence in women's reproductive health and can vary in terms of types and symptoms. While most cysts are harmless and resolve without intervention, it's crucial to be aware of potential symptoms and seek medical attention when necessary. Regular gynecological check-ups and open communication with healthcare providers are essential in maintaining optimal reproductive health and well-being.

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