The ovaries, located on either side of the uterus, commonly develop cysts or sacs that are filled with fluid or other tissue. These cysts typically do not cause problems or symptoms and often are not even detected. Larger cysts can cause pain, and more rarely, a few cysts will become malignant, or cancerous. For this reason, it is important that ovarian cysts be diagnosed and treated by a skilled medical provider experienced in ovarian conditions.
Types of Cysts
Young women commonly develop cysts of different types and sizes, including:
- Functional cysts – formed as a result of normal ovulation or egg release. This is the most common type of cyst.
- Dermoid cysts – formed from the same type of cells that develop into skin, hair, teeth or other types of tissues. If these cysts remain small they may not cause any symptoms, but larger cysts may cause pain.
- Cystadenomas - formed on the outer surface of the ovary. These cysts contain fluid or gel, and they may cause pain as they grow larger.
- Endometriomas – formed as a result of endometriosis . These cysts eventually become filled with blood and will bleed with each menstrual cycle.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Ovarian cysts may be detected during a routine pelvic exam. Additional tests may be needed to determine the location, type and size of an ovarian cyst. Tests may include:
- Abdominal or vaginal ultrasound of the pelvis
- Blood test
- Diagnostic laparoscopy
Once a diagnosis is made, your North Shore-LIJ pediatric and adolescent gynecologist will determine the best course of treatment based on your age, medical history and overall health. Treatment may not be needed if the cysts are small, benign and not causing any pain or unexpected bleeding. When surgery is necessary, most cysts can be treated laparoscopically using minimally invasive surgical techniques
North Shore-LIJ gynecologists are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cysts. For more information on ovarian cysts or to schedule a consultation, please contact the Division of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York at 516-390-9258. For an emergency call 911 or go to the Cohen Children's Medical Center Emergency Room.