They often do not present with symptoms unless they rupture or are especially large, and typically clear up on their own. There are two main types of ovarian cyst, functional and pathological. Functional ovarian cysts are more common. They are short-lived, developing during the menstrual cycle from a follicle (egg sac) or corpus luteum, and usually harmless. Pathological cysts are less common and develop as a result of the abnormal growth of cells.
Both kinds of ovarian cysts are usually benign (non-cancerous), with a higher incidence of cancerous cysts occurring in post-menopausal women.
It is unusual for ovarian cysts to cause symptoms, but when they do they include pelvic pain (which is either severe, sharp, and sudden, or a dull and heavy sensation), pain during intercourse, constipation, increased urinary frequency, menstrual problems (heavy, light, or irregular periods), swollen abdomen with bloating, and in some cases, trouble conceiving.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis of ovarian cysts is usually made with a transvaginal ultrasound scan, using a small probe. Any cysts identified may need to be monitored with repeat scans.
If there is any concern that your cyst may be cancerous, a blood test will also be taken. In many cases, the cysts will disappear on their own after a few months. If the cysts are especially large, causing significant symptoms, or potentially cancerous, they can be surgically removed.
What to do next
If you are experiencing any pelvic pain or menstrual problems, come and talk to one of our specialists, who can help you find the right treatment. Call us for an appointment.
You may not have any indication of a cyst until it ruptures or is especially large. Sometimes ovarian cysts will disappear of their own accord. If you are experiencing symptoms, speak to a doctor who can examine you and give you a proper diagnosis.
If the cyst is particularly large your doctor may be able to feel it manually when pressing on your abdomen. Usually a transvaginal ultrasound scanner is used for diagnosis.
Not always. It depends on their size and whether they are causing severe pain or other symptoms.