Ovarian cysts are small sacs that are filled with fluid and found on the inside or the surface of an ovary. Some ovarian cysts are associated with your menstrual cycle, developing from follicles that hold eggs. This type of cyst often shrinks on its own and doesn’t require treatment.
You can also develop ovarian cysts that cause reproductive health problems because they don’t go away. They may grow large and rupture or, in rare cases, cause ovarian cancer.
When ovarian cysts grow large enough to cause symptoms, you may experience:
If you develop sudden, severe abdominal pain, or you have pain together with a fever, please seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms indicate a ruptured cyst.
While cysts are the primary symptom of ovarian cysts, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may not have cysts. Women are diagnosed with PCOS when they have two out of three key symptoms:
In other words, you can have PCOS if you have abnormal periods and hirsutism, but cysts don’t have to be present.
Depending on the type and size of your cysts, as well as the severity of your symptoms, your doctor at Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine may recommend watchful waiting, which means waiting to see if the cysts shrink. Your doctor will monitor changes in the cysts using ultrasound during this period of time.
Hormone therapy can prevent some ovarian cysts from recurring. You may need surgery to remove ovarian cysts when they’re large, persist through several menstrual cycles, or your symptoms are severe.
You may be a candidate for minimally-invasive surgery, which is done using several small incisions rather than one large incision. When you have minimally-invasive surgery, you heal more quickly and have minimal scarring and less pain.
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