All About Ovarian Cysts
Ovaries are an essential part of the female reproductive system and facilitate the development and release of an egg during the menstrual cycle.
Fluid-filled sacs that form on the inside or surface of an ovary are called ovarian cysts. They are typically harmless and self-limiting, and many women with ovarian cysts don’t experience any symptoms.
However, a very large or ruptured ovarian cyst can become problematic and require medical attention. Therefore, it’s important to be able to understand the causes of ovarian cysts and possible symptoms.
Here’s everything you need to know about ovarian cysts.
What Causes Ovarian Cysts?
Each month the ovaries produce cyst-like structures called follicles, which produce estrogen and progesterone, and are responsible for egg release during ovulation.
This process usually occurs without issue, but if the follicle continues growing, it can result in a functional ovarian cyst.
There are causes and types of functional ovarian cysts. A follicular cyst occurs when the follicle fails to rupture when an egg is released and instead keeps growing.
Comparatively, a corpus luteum cyst is when fluid accumulates in a follicle, after it has released an egg and produced estrogen and progesterone.
Other Types of Ovarian Cysts
While functional ovarian cysts are the most common, other rarer cysts exist and include:
Dermoid cysts that form from embryonic cells and contain tissue, cystadenomas that develop on the surface of the ovary and can house a watery or mucous material, and endometriomas that are caused by endometriosis.
What Are the Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts? When Is It Necessary to Seek Medical Attention?
While a majority of ovarian cysts occur in the absence of symptoms and resolve within two-to-three menstrual cycles, they can sometimes produce pelvic pain, characterized by a dull or sharp pain in the lower abdomen on the side of the cyst, abdominal fullness or heaviness, and bloating.
Additionally, if you experience sudden, severe abdominal or pelvic pain or pain with fever and vomiting, it’s essential that you seek medical attention right away.
If you are experiencing symptoms of an ovarian cyst, need a second opinion or would like to learn more about ovarian cysts, please call Tysons Gynecology and schedule an appointment with Dr. Melinda Hall.