What are ovarian cysts?

An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms in or on the ovaries. The two most common types of ovarian cysts are follicle cysts and corpus luteum cysts. Other types of benign ovarian cysts which are less common include endometriomas, dermoids, and cystadenomas. Some women may experience many small cysts, which is called polycystic ovary syndrome.

Ovarian cysts are a common condition among women, especially during their childbearing years. They occur on the outside of a woman’s ovaries and develop in the form of sacs that are filled with fluid. Ovarian cysts may not pose any problems or discomfort, but sometimes, they can be quite painful. Follicular cysts are the most common type of ovarian cysts. They often go away on their own but some may require treatment. Women have two ovaries that are located on each side of the uterus. Their role is to act as a host to the eggs that develop and mature when a woman is trying to have a baby.

Most cysts do not cause any symptoms. However, when large ovarian cysts develop, they can cause symptoms such as:

·       Pelvic pain shortly before your period begins or just before it ends

·       Pressure on your bladder that causes you to urinate more frequently or have difficulty emptying your bladder completely

·       Pelvic pain (a dull ache that may radiate to your lower back and thighs)

·       Fullness or heaviness in your abdomen

·       Pelvic pain during intercourse (aka dyspareunia)

·       Pain during bowel movements or pressure on your bowels

·       Nausea, vomiting or breast tenderness like that experienced during pregnancy

Treatment for ovarian cysts includes watchful waiting, birth control pills, or surgery. Watchful waiting may be recommended if you have no real symptoms that are causing problems. Birth control pills can help decrease the development of new cysts in future menstrual cycles. Surgery may be done to remove a cyst causes pain or other symptoms, or continues to grow after a couple of menstrual cycles.