Not to be confused with ovarian follicles, ovarian cysts are fluid-filled structures within the ovary. They are often asymptomatic but larger ones can cause problems and are present in about 8% of women before menopause.
Types of Ovarian Cyst
There are several types of cysts. Follicular cysts are ovarian follicles which have failed to rupture and release their egg. Instead they continue growing and become a cyst. When an ovarian follicle does rupture naturally the remaining shell is called a corpus luteum. These can form corpus luteum cysts if fluid continues to gather in them. Other types of cysts are endometriomas, or chocolate cysts, which can occur if there is endometiosis; and cystadenomas, which are potentially very large cysts that can form in the outer layer of the ovary.
Treatment for Ovarian Cysts
Large cysts can be surgically removed but this must be done carefully to ensure that no viable ovarian tissue is removed or scarred. Cysts can hinder ovarian function but they are more often harmless and can be left alone. Smaller ones often resolve on their own, or with the aid of medication, and progress can be monitored with monthly ultrasound scans.