Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
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.
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
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
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 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
Ovarian cancers. Rarely, ovarian cysts may be related to ovarian
cancers. However, over 99% of ovarian cysts are benign and not caused by