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Ovarian Cysts

Condition affecting most of women

SHORCUTS What to do next FAQ
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can affect one or both ovaries at any one time. They are very common, most women will experience an ovarian cyst at some point in their life.

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.

Symptoms

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.

FAQ

How do I know if I have an ovarian cyst?

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.

How are ovarian cysts diagnosed?

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.

Do ovarian cysts have to be removed?

Not always. It depends on their size and whether they are causing severe pain or other symptoms.

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Please note that Walk In Clinic is a private medical centre and not an NHS service.