Sometimes girls are told that they have a cyst on their ovaries. Fortunately most go away without any treatment. A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops in the ovary and usually dissolves after ovulation.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) –actually means many cysts in the ovary. Some girls with this condition have lots of tiny cysts or very small bumps inside of their ovaries, and others do not. This type of ovarian cyst is not harmful, does not have to be removed, and almost never causes pain.

Because most ovarian cysts do not cause symptoms and go away on their own, they may be completely unnoticed. If you have pain or irregular periods that prompt you to see your health care provider (HCP), you may need to have a pelvic ultrasound to see if you might have a cyst. If you have a cyst, it will be visible on the ultrasound.

An ovarian cyst usually doesn’t cause any problems, but occasionally it may cause the ovary to twist on its root. This is called “torsion”. Torsion blocks the blood from going to the ovary. If this were to happen, you would have severe abdominal pain and you might feel like throwing up or even feel like passing out.

Treatment depends on your age, the type and size of your cyst, and your symptoms.

  • Watchful waiting. In many cases you can wait and be re-examined to see if the cyst goes away on its own within a few months.
  • Birth control pills. Our doctor may recommend birth control pills to reduce the chance of new cysts developing in future menstrual cycles.
  • Our doctors may suggest removal of a cyst if it is large, doesn’t look like a functional cyst, is growing, or persists through two or three menstrual cycles. Cysts that cause pain or other symptoms may be removed.
Some cysts can be removed without removing the ovary in a procedure known as an ovarian cystectomy.