9 Important Facts about Ovarian Cysts

Although ovarian cysts typically occur during your childbearing years, they can also appear after menopause and be an indicator of cancer, so regular medical checkups are essential
9 Important Facts about Ovarian Cysts
Maricela Jiménez López

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Maricela Jiménez López.

Last update: 15 December, 2022

The word “cyst” is one of the more common conditions that can affect a woman’s reproductive system during their lifetime. This is a benign disorder that develops in the ovaries, which can eventually cause complications if not dealt with in time. In today’s article we look at all the facts about ovarian cysts that you need to know.

While most of the time it doesn’t pose a real danger to health, it’s important that all women know what ovarian cysts are and what to do if they’re diagnosed with one.

That’s why we wanted to share the nine most important facts about ovarian cysts you should be aware of.

1. Facts about ovarian cysts – what are they?

An ovary with cysts
Cysts are small, fluid-filled sacs that form on the ovaries, which can range in size from millimeters to more than five centimeters. Whenever a woman ovulates, a small cell or follicle forms in one of her ovaries. This then breaks when the egg is mature and ready to be fertilized.

If a pregnancy doesn’t occur, the ovary reabsorbs the follicle. However, if this process doesn’t take place, the cell becomes a cyst, giving rise to this type of foreign body.

Please read: The 5 things that affect ovarian health

2. Ages at risk

Women are at the risk of developing this condition after they reach puberty and throughout their childbearing years. Ovarian cysts usually disappear with the onset of menopause, but in certain cases they may appear later in life.

Woman with stomach pain
So far there’s no exact cause to explain why these small cysts forms in the ovaries.

However, experts link them to the following factors:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Undergoing fertility treatments
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Genetic factors

4. The main symptoms

As with other disorders related to the reproductive system, the symptoms tend to get confused with other more common conditions. The problem is that they’re not always noticeable early on, and many women prefer to ignore them.

Among them are the following:

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Abdominal and pelvic pain that radiates to the back or legs
  • Severe pelvic pain before and during menstruation
  • Severe pain during intercourse
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Tenderness in the breast tissue
  • Feeling of heaviness
  • Abdominal distension
  • And, finally, pressure in the rectum or bladder

5. How are ovarian cysts detected?

Doctor taking to patient about ovarian cysts
Continuing our facts about ovarian cysts, if you suspect you may have one, you should have a pelvic exam and an ultrasound or MRI. If one is present, your doctor will then carry out a blood test to determine whether it should be removed or not.

6. What is the treatment?

Usually your gynecologist will recommend periodic checks to determine whether the cyst absorbs over time. If it increases in size or causes pain and other complications, then your doctor may ask you to take oral contraceptives or undergo a surgical procedure to remove it.

7. Cysts and fertility

Woman with pregnancy test
One of the most important facts about ovarian cysts concerns fertility. One of the biggest concerns women have when diagnosed with a cyst is whether it will affect their fertility. It typically won’t pose a risk for conception, however, in certain cases, it can prevent proper ovulation. In addition to that, the size of the cyst can increase and alter the function of the ovaries or deform them, altering your future fertility.

8. They don’t normally occur during menopause

A woman who has entered menopause should have no risk of ovarian cysts. If one is present, it should be a cause for concern. According to the experts, cysts or tumors during menopause can be a strong indicator of cancer.

A doctor should monitor this very carefully.

9. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (POS)

The appearance of cysts in various parts of the ovary, such as a cluster of seven to 10 different follicles, is a condition known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (POS). It can be caused by difficulties during ovulation and the main culprit is hormonal imbalance.

In such cases, more care and attention is required because it’s usually accompanied by alterations in menstruation, infertility, excessive body hair, and more. In most cases these cysts don’t cause any problems and will disappear by themselves with time.

Nevertheless, it’s important that you undergo regular medical checkups to ensure that all is well.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.