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Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts: Introduction

The development of ovarian cysts is a common condition in which one or more cysts form on the ovary or ovaries of a woman's reproductive system. An ovarian cyst consists of a sac filled with fluid, blood, or tissue. Ovarian cysts are generally not dangerous and often go away by themselves within weeks to a few months. However, some ovarian cysts can remain and cause serious problems to health or fertility.

Ovarian cysts can develop due to a woman's changing hormones that normally occur during the monthly menstrual cycle. There are many types of ovarian cysts, including endometriomas, dermoid cysts, and functional cysts. Cysts vary in size, from the size of a pea to the size of a softball. When a woman develops multiple ovarian cysts during each menstrual cycle that do not go away, it is called polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS.

There are often no symptoms of ovarian cysts, but sometimes they can result in abdominal pain, infertility and other health problems. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of ovarian cysts.

Making a diagnosis of ovarian cysts begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. A pelvic examination is also performed to examine the inside of the vagina and the cervix of the uterus and to assess the general health of a woman's reproductive organs. During this examination, the health care provider may be able to feel the presence of an ovarian cyst.

Further testing is generally needed to determine the type, size and shape of an ovarian cyst. Diagnosis may include a pelvic and vaginal ultrasound, which uses sound wave technology to create an image of the ovaries and any existing ovarian cysts.

A surgical procedure called a laparoscopy may also be done to better see the ovaries and any possible abnormalities. This procedure allows the physician to visualize the ovaries and the ovarian cyst or cysts using a special lighted instrument, called a laparoscope. The laparoscope is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen and moved into place and send pictures to a computer screen. This procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis and is minimally invasive. Removal of some types of ovarian cysts can also be done during a laparoscopy procedure as well.

Some types of ovarian cysts, especially those that are solid instead of fluid-filled, may be cancerous. A test called a CA 125 blood test may be done to help determine if the cyst is cancerous.

It is possible that a diagnosis of ovarian cysts can be missed or delayed because sometimes there are no symptoms, or because some symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of ovarian cysts.

Many ovarian cysts require no treatment other than regular follow-up care, including pelvic examinations with a licensed health care clinician and ultrasound testing to watch progress of the ovarian cyst and ensure it goes away by itself. Ovarian cysts that cause symptoms or do not go away can often be successfully treated. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of ovarian cysts. ...more »

Ovarian cysts: Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form on the ovaries when the follicles (sacs) on the ovary that contain the egg mature, but do not release the ... more about Ovarian cysts.

Ovarian cysts: Cysts occurring in the ovaries. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Ovarian cysts is available below.

Ovarian cysts: Symptoms

Symptoms of ovarian cysts differ between individuals depending on the type, size and number of cysts, among other factors. Many women have no symptoms at all. Sometimes women can experience lower abdominal pain which can vary in intensity. Symptoms may also include painful intercourse.

Complications of ovarian cysts include twisting, rupturing or bleeding of a cyst, which can result in sudden ...more symptoms »

Ovarian cysts: Treatments

Prompt diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cysts can minimize complications, such as severe pain, infertility, ovarian rupture, bleeding and shock.

No treatment is often needed for many ovarian cysts that are not cancerous and do not cause symptoms, such as severe pain, infertility, or bleeding. However, women with these mild types of ovarian cysts still need regular follow-up care, ...more treatments »

Ovarian cysts: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of ovarian cysts may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms vary between individual women and the different types of ovarian cysts. Some women experience no symptoms at all. Mild symptoms, such as a dull ache in the lower abdomen or abdominal discomfort, may not be addressed because they might be associated with other conditions, such as gas or menstrual cramps.

Other ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Ovarian cysts

Treatments for Ovarian cysts

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Ovarian cysts?

Ovarian cysts: Related Patient Stories

Ovarian cysts: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Ovarian cysts.

Types of Ovarian cysts

  • Functional ovarian cysts - occurring during ovulation and often disappearing during menstruation. Cannot occur during menopause.
  • Endometriomas - related to endometriosis; may be "chocolate cysts".
  • Benign cystic tumors (cystadenomas) - benign and often fat-filled;
  • Dermoid cysts (ovary) - a type of benign cystic tumor with hair, bone, or other abnormal structure.
  • Multiple Cysts (ovary) - many small cysts; possibly caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • more types...»

Diagnostic Tests for Ovarian cysts

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Ovarian cysts: Complications

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Causes of Ovarian cysts

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Disease Topics Related To Ovarian cysts

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Ovarian cysts: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Ovarian cysts

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Misdiagnosed weight-related causes of infertility: A woman's weight status can affect her level of fertility. Although obesity or overweight can in themselves reduce fertility, there are other weight-related more »

Ovarian cysts: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Ovarian cysts

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Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Ovarian cysts, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Ovarian cysts: Rare Types

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Latest Treatments for Ovarian cysts

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Ovarian cysts

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Ovarian cysts: Animations

Prognosis for Ovarian cysts

Prognosis for Ovarian cysts: Most cysts are benign in younger women; post-menopausaul women have a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

Research about Ovarian cysts

Visit our research pages for current research about Ovarian cysts treatments.

Clinical Trials for Ovarian cysts

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Ovarian cysts include:

Prevention of Ovarian cysts

Prevention information for Ovarian cysts has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Ovarian cysts.

Ovarian cysts: Broader Related Topics

Ovarian cysts Message Boards

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Article Excerpts about Ovarian cysts

Ovarian Cysts: NWHIC (Excerpt)

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form on the ovaries when the follicles (sacs) on the ovary that contain the egg mature, but do not release the egg into the fallopian tube where it would be fertilized. A woman can develop one cyst or many cysts. Ovarian cysts can vary in size-from as small as a pea to as big as a grapefruit. (Source: excerpt from Ovarian Cysts: NWHIC)

What You Need To Know About Ovarian Cancer: NCI (Excerpt)

Ovarian cysts are a different type of growth. They are fluid-filled sacs that form on the surface of an ovary. They are not cancer. Cysts often go away without treatment. If a cyst does not go away, the doctor may suggest removing it, especially if it seems to be growing. (Source: excerpt from What You Need To Know About Ovarian Cancer: NCI)

Definitions of Ovarian cysts:

General term for cysts and cystic diseases of the ovary. - (Source - Diseases Database)

A cystic tumor (usually benign) of the ovary - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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