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About Ovarian cysts
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop inside or on the surface of an ovary. The ovaries are a pair of small organs that produce hormones and hold eggs for maturation. Ovarian cysts are very common and usually occur as a result of ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). These growths are harmless and may cause little to no discomfort.
Your ovaries will naturally produce cyst-like structures during your regular menstrual cycle, known as functional cysts. These growths will produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which help release an egg from the ovary every month. Functional cysts will go away on their own after 60-90 days and cause few (if any) symptoms.
Large cysts, or cysts that have ruptured (burst) may cause symptoms, however, and may lead to serious complications.
- Pain in the pelvis or lower back
- Bloating in the abdomen
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain during menstrual periods
A ruptured cyst can cause severe pain as well as abdominal swelling.
Ovarian cysts are diagnosed through a pelvic exam. During this physical examination, your doctor will inspect the reproductive organs for signs of disease. Pelvic exams play a key role in detecting ovarian cysts, cancers of the reproductive organs (such as cervical cancer), and other serious medical conditions. Because of this, it is very important that you receive regular pelvic exams to encourage early detection. If you experience sudden and severe pain in the abdomen, or pain that is accompanied by a fever, talk to your health care provider right away. This can be a symptom of a large or burst ovarian cyst and should be treated right away.
The best way to detect an ovarian cyst is through regular pelvic exams. If a large or potentially harmful cyst is found, talk to your doctor about treatment options. Below are common treatment options for an ovarian cyst that you can discuss with your doctor.