Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled pockets that develop in a woman’s ovary. This may occur when fluid accumulates within a thin membrane inside the ovary. In most cases, ovarian cyst is less harmful and varies in sizes. Recent studies have shown that not all women with an ovarian cyst, have symptoms but may at some point lead to bleeding and pelvic pain, especially in cases when the cyst is more than 5-6 centimetres in diameters.

Symptoms of an ovarian cysts
As explained earlier, most cysts occur without symptoms. However, a large and ruptured ovarian cysts may lead to the following symptoms:

  • Pains during and after sexual intercourse
  • Slight to severe pelvic pain
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Bloated or swollen  tummy
  • Irregular menstrual flow
  • Fullness or heaviness in your abdomen
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder
  • Most fertility issues are sometimes linked to the presence of a cyst in the ovary
  • Constant back or leg pain

When to see the doctor

You may have to see the doctor when the following occurs:
– When you start experiencing severe pain around your pelvic area
– Feverish feeling and vomiting

Types of ovarian cyst

Ovarian cyst is of two types;

  1. Functional ovarian cyst
    Functional ovarian cyst is often the most common type of ovarian cyst in a woman’s ovary. Here, the cyst develops as part of the menstrual cycle and are usually harmless, they stay for a while and disappear.

Here are two types of functional cyst to note;
– Follicular cyst:

A follicular cyst usually occurs as a result of the follicle’s inability to rupture or release its egg. The follicle swells with the fluid, which makes it develop into a  follicular ovarian cyst.

– Corpus luteum ovarian cyst
Luteal ovarian cyst is usually less common. It occurs when the follicle releases its eggs and begins producing estrogen and progesterone needed for conception. This follicle is called the corpus luteum.

However, functional cyst rarely causes pain and usually disappears within 2  to 3 menstrual cycles.

  • Pathological cysts: pathological cysts are usually less common, and are formed as a result of abnormal cell growth.

Pathological cysts are grouped into two major types
– Dermoid cysts: the dermoid cysts are usually common for women below 30 years of age and are formed from the cysts that make the egg. However, only a surgical operation can effectively remove this type of cyst.

– Cystadenomas: this cyst grows on the surface of the ovary, usually filled with watery substance. The cyst can become very large, causing the ovary to change its position.

Diagnosing ovarian cysts

A cyst can be found during a pelvic exam. The size and nature of the cyst may likely determine the type of test to be taken.

Possible test included are listed below:
– Pelvic ultrasound scan: the doctor reviews the wave received, using a wand-like device. This test allows your doctor to determine the type and location of the cyst.

– Pregnancy test: the pregnancy test can be used to easily identify a corpus luteum cyst. It is hardly used in most cases, because, other types of the cyst cannot be easily identified through the means.

 –Blood test: your doctor may run a blood test especially in cases where your cyst is solid or when you are at high risk for ovarian cancer.


Several factors will determine the treatment procedure for an ovarian cyst
1. The patient’s age
2. the size of the cyst
3. if there are signs and  symptoms, as well as the types of symptoms
4. in some cases, the doctor may need to know if the client has reached menopause or not.

Once the above has been determined, your doctor might suggest any of the following ;

1. Watchful observation: Sometimes, the doctor may recommend watchful waiting to monitor the behaviour of the cyst. This is usually done with the help of an ultrasound scan; especially in cases where the cyst is still small and falls below 5 centimetres. The process will continue for some months to ensure the cyst is down. If otherwise, other treatment procedure may follow.

2. Medications and contraceptives: Hormonal contraceptives such as birth control pills may be recommended to prevent the cyst from recurring.

3. Surgical operations: For cyst more than 5-6 centimetres, surgery may be required. Depending on the nature and type of growth, the doctor may need to remove the affected ovary although, not all ovarian cysts may require the removal of the ovary.

Ovarian cyst and fertility

A lot of women are often scared, when it comes to issues relating to the ovarian cyst and a woman’s ability to give birth. Well, the ovarian cyst may not always prevent you from getting pregnant although it may make it difficult for a woman to conceive in some cases. In extreme cases, your surgeon will ensure he takes adequate measure to preserve your fertility whenever possible.