Ovarian cysts are extremely common and typically harmless, but they have the potential to cause serious problems. If they do cause you problems, visit gynecologist Melissa A. Delgado, MD, FACOG. At The Chronic Pelvic Pain Center of Northern Virginia in Vienna, Virginia. Dr. Delgado can locate, diagnose, and treat your ovarian cysts, so call or click to book your appointment today.
Ovarian cysts are tiny, fluid-filled sacs that grow on or in an ovary. These cysts typically develop during ovulation, when your ovary releases an egg. Ovarian cysts are very common, and most women have them at some point in their lives.
Most ovarian cysts remain small and harmless. Sometimes, however, they grow and cause uncomfortable symptoms. In rare cases, ovarian cysts may become cancerous.
The risk of a cyst turning into cancer increases as you age, which is why it’s crucial to receive annual women’s wellness exams throughout your life.
Most cysts don’t cause any symptoms and go away on their own. However, if an ovarian cyst continues to grow, it can cause:
Most ovarian cysts are called “functional cysts” because they develop when a follicle in your ovary releases an egg. That's a standard part of your menstrual cycle. Other types of cysts are much less common. Cysts that aren’t related to your normal menstrual cycle include:
Dermoid cysts and cystadenomas may grow large, increasing the chances of painful twisting of your ovary.
Specific factors may increase your risk of developing ovarian cysts, including:
Dr. Delgado may discover ovarian cysts during a regular pelvic exam. Depending on the size and type of cyst, she may recommend diagnostic tests to determine whether you need treatment. These include:
If Dr. Delgado finds a functional cyst on your ovary, she monitors it to see if it gets bigger or goes away on its own. She may recommend you get follow-up ultrasounds to keep track of its size.
If you’re worried about more cysts developing in the future, Dr. Delgado may recommend hormonal medication, such as the birth control pill. This method prevents future cysts but won’t shrink an existing cyst.
In rare cases when a cyst grows large, causes painful symptoms, or doesn’t look like a functional cyst, Dr. Delgado discusses your best options for treatment.
If you think you may have an ovarian cyst, call the Chronic Pelvic Pain Center of Northern Virginia or book an appointment online today.