Ovarian cysts are solid or fluid-filled sacs in the ovary. They are common and usually form during ovulation. Ovulation happens when the ovary releases an egg each month. Many women with ovarian cysts do not have symptoms. The cysts are usually harmless.
While some ovarian cysts can become cancerous, most ovarian cysts are not cancerous and are simply benign. The risk for ovarian cancer increases as you get older. Women who are past menopause with ovarian cysts have a higher risk for ovarian cancer. Talk to u about your risk for ovarian cancer. Screening for ovarian cancer is not recommended for most women. This is because testing can lead to "false positives." A false positive is a test result that says a woman has ovarian cancer when she does not.
Ovarian Cyst Causes
The most common causes of ovarian cysts include:
Hormonal problems. Functional cysts usually go away on their own without treatment. They may be caused by hormonal problems or by drugs used to help you ovulate.
Endometriosis. Women with endometriosis can develop a type of ovarian cyst called an endometrioma. The endometriosis tissue may attach to the ovary and form a growth. These cysts can be painful during sex and during your period.
Pregnancy. An ovarian cyst normally develops in early pregnancy to help support the pregnancy until the placenta forms. Sometimes, the cyst stays on the ovary until later in the pregnancy and may need to be removed.
Severe pelvic infections. Infections can spread to the ovaries and fallopian tubes and cause cysts to form.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts
Most ovarian cysts are small and don't cause symptoms.
If a cyst does cause symptoms, you may have pressure, bloating, swelling, or pain in the lower abdomen on the side of the cyst. This pain may be sharp or dull and may come and go.
If a cyst ruptures, it can cause sudden, severe pain.
If a cyst causes twisting of an ovary, you may have pain along with nausea and vomiting.
Less common symptoms include:
Dull ache in the lower back and thighs
Problems emptying the bladder or bowel completely
Pain during sex
Unexplained weight gain
Pain during your period
Unusual (not normal) vaginal bleeding
Needing to urinate more often