During your reproductive years, it's not uncommon to have an ovarian cyst form on your ovaries. There are various types of ovarian cysts, most of which are harmless.
You must know your type if you've been diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. Many are benign, but others are due to a disease process or problem in your body.
New England Women's Healthcare is here to help when you need expert care for your reproductive health. Our team of eight specialized OB-GYN doctors knows cutting-edge tools to diagnose your cyst and get you treatment when necessary.
What are ovarian cysts?
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form on your ovaries. These cysts may also develop inside your ovaries and can contain other materials.
Your ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. They're a vital component in ovulation, as they're what forms and releases an egg every month a few weeks before your period starts.
Some ovarian cysts cause pain, while others are harmless and painless. You may not even know you have an ovarian cyst unless one of our providers finds it during a routine exam.
Four common types of cysts
There are several types of ovarian cysts, each of which causes similar symptoms. Most ovarian cysts are functional, meaning they form due to hormonal changes around your menstrual cycle.
Functional cysts aren't related to any disease process; they're formed during ovulation and often resolve without treatment. A few other types of cysts include:
1. Corpus luteum cysts
The corpus luteum is what's formed after your ovary releases an egg. The corpus luteum is a group of cells that release hormones during ovulation. When it fills up with fluid, it forms a cyst on your ovary.
2. Follicular cysts
A follicle in your ovary is responsible for releasing an egg during ovulation. When you don't release an egg during the month, that follicle may fill up with fluid causing a cyst to form on your ovary.
Endometriomas are cysts that form out of endometrial tissue. Your endometrial tissue is the lining in your uterus that's shed during your menstrual cycle. These cysts are common when you have endometriosis.
4. Dermoid cysts
Dermoid cysts, also called teratomas, consist of various tissue types in your body. These cysts form on your ovary and comprise tissues like hair, teeth, and skin. They develop from the reproductive cells in your ovary.
How are ovarian cysts treated?
Our team uses different treatment approaches when you have an ovarian cyst. The type of cyst and severity of your symptoms affect the kind of treatment you receive. A few of the options our team offers for ovarian cysts include:
Many types of ovarian cysts go away on their own. If your cysts aren't bothering you or are only causing minimal symptoms, our team may want to monitor the cysts. You'll need to come for a follow-up ultrasound a few weeks to months after your diagnosis to evaluate the cyst and see if it has resolved itself.
Our team sometimes controls your symptoms with hormonal birth control. These type of medications stop ovulation every month, which helps prevent ovarian cysts from growing and forming.
You may require surgery for an ovarian cyst that continues to grow. Our team also recommends surgery when your cyst causes pain or doesn't go away after several menstrual cycles.
We use minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques to remove your cyst. Minimally invasive techniques provide quicker recovery and less pain than open surgical procedures.
If you're having pain in your ovaries, call us or use our online feature to make an appointment with our team at one of our offices in Wilmington or Woburn, Massachusetts.