What Is an Ovarian Cyst?

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs in an ovary, or on its surface. Most ovarian cysts are small and harmless, causing little if any discomfort and disappearing on their own after a few months. Larger cysts, however, can be more problematic—causing pain and more serious complications. Below we’ll examine ovarian cyst symptoms and examine some of the causes.

 

Ovarian Cyst Symptoms

It’s important to be familiar with ovarian cyst symptoms and get regular pelvic exams from your healthcare provider. While the majority of ovarian cysts disappear on their own without causing any pain or discomfort, larger ovarian cysts, however, can typically cause:

 

  • Pelvic Pain, with feelings of a dull or sharp ache in the lower abdomen on the left or right side (depending on what the affected ovary is on)
  • Feelings of fullness or heaviness in the abdomen
  • Bloating

It’s important to see your doctor if you develop severe abdominal pain that is sudden, or if you experience pain with fever and vomiting.

 

Causes

Most ovarian cysts are referred to as functional cysts. These typically develop as a result of the menstrual cycle and are harmless, disappearing on their own. The ovaries normally grow cyst-like structures called follicles each month. These follicles produce estrogen and progesterone and release an egg during ovulation. If one of these normal monthly follicles continues to grow, it’s known as a functional cyst.

Other types of ovarian cysts are less common and aren’t related to the monthly menstrual cycle. These include:

 

  • Dermoid cysts: These are also referred to as teratomas, and are rarely cancerous. These cysts form from embryonic cells and can contain tissue, such as hair, skin or teeth.
  • Cystadenomas: These cysts typically develop on the surface of an ovary and might be filled with a watery or a mucous material.
  • Endometriomas: These cysts are associated with endometriosis (a condition in which uterine endometrial cells grow outside of the uterus). Some of the tissue can attach to your ovary and form a growth.

Women’s Physicians of Jacksonville

It’s important to schedule regular visits with your doctor to address any medical concerns or receive regular pelvic exams as a part of preventive care. At Women’s Physicians of Jacksonville, our focus is to provide all patients with comprehensive state of the art gynecologic and obstetrical care throughout every phase of life. As a division of North Florida Ob-Gyn, we specialize in delivering gynecological care in a warm and individualized environment to women across Northeast Florida. If you are experiencing ovarian cyst symptoms, contact us today.