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Ovarian Cysts (cont.)

Types of Ovarian Cysts

The most common types of ovarian cysts are the following:

  • Follicular cyst: This type of simple cyst can form when ovulation does not occur or when a mature follicle involutes (collapses on itself). A follicular cyst  usually forms at the time of ovulation and can grow to about 2.3 inches in diameter. The rupture of this type of cyst can create sharp severe pain on the side of the ovary on which the cyst appears. This sharp pain (sometimes called mittelschmerz) occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle, during ovulation. About one-fourth of women with this type of cyst experience pain. Usually, these cysts produce no symptoms and disappear by themselves within a few months.
  • Corpus luteum cyst: This type of functional ovarian cyst occurs after an egg has been released from a follicle. After this happens, the follicle becomes what is known as a corpus luteum. If a pregnancy doesn't occur, the corpus luteum usually breaks down and disappears. It may, however, fill with fluid or blood and persist on the ovary. Usually, this cyst is found on only one side and produces no symptoms.
  • Hemorrhagic cyst: This type of functional cyst occurs when bleeding occurs within a cyst. Symptoms such as abdominal pain on one side of the body may be present with this type of cyst.
  • Dermoid cyst: This is a type of benign tumor sometimes referred to as mature cystic teratoma. It is an abnormal cyst that usually affects younger women and may grow to 6 inches in diameter. A dermoid cyst can contain other benign types of growths of body tissues such as fat and occasionally bone, hair, and cartilage.
    • The ultrasound image of this cyst type can vary because of the spectrum of contents, but a CT scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can show the presence of fat and dense calcifications.
    • These cysts can become inflamed. They can also twist around (a condition known as ovarian torsion), compromising their blood supply and causing severe abdominal pain.
  • Endometriomas or endometrioid cysts: Part of the condition known as endometriosis, this type of cyst is formed when endometrial tissue (the lining tissue of the uterus) is present on the ovaries. It affects women during the reproductive years and may cause chronic pelvic pain associated with menstruation.
    • Endometriosis is the presence of endometrial glands and tissue outside the uterus.
    • Women with endometriosis may have problems with fertility.
    • Endometrioid cysts, often filled with dark, reddish-brown blood, may range in size from 0.75-8 inches. Due to the color of the blood within the cysts, these cysts have been referred to as "chocolate cysts."
  • Polycystic-appearing ovary: Polycystic-appearing ovary is diagnosed based on its enlarged size - usually twice that of normal - with small cysts present around the outside of the ovary. This condition can be found in healthy women and in women with hormonal (endocrine) disorders. An ultrasound is used to view the ovary in diagnosing this condition.
    • Polycystic-appearing ovary is different from the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which includes other symptoms and physiological abnormalities in addition to the presence of ovarian cysts. Polycystic ovarian syndrome involves metabolic and cardiovascular risks linked to insulin resistance. These risks include increased glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
      • Polycystic ovarian syndrome is associated with infertility, abnormal bleeding, increased incidences of miscarriage, and pregnancy-related complications.
      • Polycystic ovarian syndrome is extremely common and is thought to occur in 4%-7% of women of reproductive age and is associated with an increased risk for endometrial cancer.
      • The tests other than an ultrasound alone are required to diagnose polycystic ovarian syndrome.
  • Cystadenoma: A cystadenoma is a type of benign tumor that develops from ovarian tissue. They may be filled with a mucous-type fluid material. Cystadenomas can become very large and may measure 12 inches or more in diameter.
  • Ovarian cancers. Rarely, ovarian cysts may be related to ovarian cancers. However, over 99% of ovarian cysts are benign and not caused by cancer.

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Ovarian Cysts - Causes

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Ovarian Cysts - Symptoms

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Ovarian Cysts »

An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with liquid or semi-liquid material arising in an ovary.

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