What are ovarian cysts?

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form during ovulation, on either one or both of the ovaries. In most cases, ovarian cysts do not cause symptoms and can disappear on their own without treatment. When an ovarian cyst grows rather large, rarely it may rupture or become cancerous. When cysts grow larger, they may cause pain and requires treatment.

What causes ovarian cysts?

An ovarian cyst is commonly caused when the ovary responsible for releasing an egg, fails to open. Ovarian cysts may also be caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which is a condition that causes many small cysts to develop on the ovaries at a time, affecting fertility.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms associated with ovarian cysts include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pressure
  • Pelvic pain
  • Painful intercourse
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Ruptured cysts may cause sudden sharp pain in the abdomen.

How can ovarian cysts be treated?

Most ovarian cysts can resolve on their own and do not cause symptoms, however larger cysts and multiple cysts caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) require treatment. Oral contraceptives can prevent ovarian cysts from developing, while minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery may be needed to remove cysts (known as a cystectomy). For women who are post-menopause, a laparoscopic oophorectomy may be done to remove the ovaries.