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Ovarian Cysts - Treatments, Symptoms & Causes

Ovarian cysts are very common and normally do not cause symptoms. They form on the ovary as fluid filled sacs. Most cysts occur naturally and do not require treatment. They tend to go away within a few months.

What are the symptoms of an ovarian cyst?

Ovarian cysts do not usually cause symptoms unless it splits/ruptures, blocks the blood supply to the ovaries or is very large. Symptoms in these cases include:

Types of ovarian cyst

  • Functional ovarian cysts - these develop as a part of the menstrual cycle. They are normally short-lived and don't cause any symptoms. These are the most common type of ovarian cyst.
  • Pathological ovarian cysts - these form as a result of abnormal cell growth and are much less common.
Ovarian cysts can also be caused by other conditions such as endometriosis. A very small number of ovarian cysts are cancerous; these are more common if you have gone through menopause.
Find out more about Ovarian Cysts:
Symptoms and CausesDiagnosis and TestsTreatmentsOvarian Cyst Specialists
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Diagnosis for Ovarian Cysts:

The most common diagnosis for an ovarian cyst is an ultrasound scan. If a cyst is found during your scan, a repeat ultrasound may be performed in a few weeks to monitor the cyst.

If there are any concerns that your cyst might be cancerous, you will also have blood tests to test for high levels of chemicals that can indicate ovarian cancer. High levels of these chemicals does not necessarily mean you have cancer, you may have another condition such as endometriosis, a pelvic infection, fibroids or your period.

How can Ovarian Cysts be Treated?

You may not need to be treated depending on:
  • The size and appearance of the cyst
  • Whether you have any symptoms
  • Whether you have been through menopause
Most commonly, the cyst will disappear within a few months. A second ultrasound scan may be required to confirm this.

There is a slightly higher risk of ovarian cancer if you have gone through menopause. In this case, regular ultrasound scans and blood tests are recommended to monitor the cyst.

If cysts are large, or are causing significant symptoms, they may need to be removed surgically.

Ovarian Cysts - Specialists

Mrs Ruchira Singh

Mrs Ruchira Singh

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Ruchira is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with her NHS practice based at Birmingham Women's Hospital in Edgbaston. She is the Clinical Director of Gynaecology at her NHS Trust.

Ruchira is a reviewer for European Journal of Obstetrics and gynaecology. She is also a Senior clinical examiner and Honorary lecturer for University of Birmingham.

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Dr Pallavi Latthe

Dr Pallavi Latthe

Consultant Gynaecologist and subspecialist Urogynaecologist

Dr Pallavi is an accredited subspecialist in urogynaecology and a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust.

She is the clinical lead for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology in the Trust.

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