An affiliate of Hera Women's Health

2 Types of Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are quite common in women who are ovulating. In fact, it’s very possible you’ve previously had an ovarian cyst without even knowing about it.

Most of the time, ovarian cysts go away on their own without needing medical intervention. Occasionally, though, cysts can continue to grow and cause you pain and potential health problems.

Learn from Anita Gondy, MD, Saovaros Michaels, MD, and Henry Luh, DO, the OB/GYN team at Women's Health Associates of Southern Nevada, Northwest, about the two different types of ovarian cysts and what to do if your ovarian cyst causes symptoms.

Understanding ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts can develop during the ovulation part of your menstrual cycle. They’re small sacs that are filled with fluid.

Usually, these cysts are harmless and stay small before going away. This means they’ll typically disappear on their own without any symptoms.

The 2 types of ovarian cysts

There are two different kinds of functional ovarian cysts, which both develop during your menstrual cycle. They’re known as follicle cysts and corpus luteum cysts. 

Follicle cysts

During a typical menstrual cycle, your ovaries release an egg that can be fertilized through your follicles. Occasionally the follicle doesn’t open, and you develop a cyst instead. Most frequently, follicle cysts resolve themselves in 1-3 months.

Corpus luteum cysts

Once your follicle releases a mature egg, the empty sac shrinks into the corpus luteum, which allows it to prepare to release another egg the following month. The sac can become an ovarian cyst if it fails to shrink. Corpus luteum cysts usually go away on their own in a few weeks.

Ovarian cyst symptoms

Most of the time, getting a functional ovarian cyst doesn’t cause symptoms. Less commonly, if the cyst grows larger, you might experience pain in your pelvis, lower abdomen, or lower back. You might also experience unusual pain during menstruation or sexual intercourse, or unusual menstrual bleeding.

In rare instances, ovarian cysts can become torqued, rupture, or get abscessed and infected. Symptoms of these conditions include severe pain in your belly or pelvis that comes on suddenly, fever, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, or rapid breathing.

When to get treatment for ovarian cysts

If your ovarian cysts are small and not causing symptoms, the WHASN - NW team can monitor your cysts to see if they’re disappearing on their own. When your cysts continue to grow or cause painful symptoms, our team can treat your cyst medically or surgically.

The medication Lupron® can help reduce the size of your ovarian cysts, as well as offer pain relief. If you’re prone to developing large, painful cysts, our team can also help you choose a form of hormonal contraception, such as the birth control pill, that prevents ovulation.

Our doctors can also perform minimally invasive laparoscopy to remove functional ovarian cysts. This procedure resolves your symptoms without the risks typically associated with getting open surgery.

If you’re experiencing symptoms consistent with a torqued or ruptured ovarian cyst, like severe pain, dizziness, or vomiting, call WHASN - NW or emergency services for immediate treatment.

For assistance with large or painful ovarian cysts and other gynecological care in Las Vegas, Nevada, request an appointment online or give us a call today.

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