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In order to have proper information about ovarian cysts, it is essential to discuss the anatomy of ovaries. These are basically a part of the female reproductive system and are located in the lower abdomen on the two sides of the uterus. The major functions of ovaries are production of eggs, oestrogen and progesterone hormones.
So what exactly are cysts? Cysts are fluid-filled sacks, which sometimes develop on the ovaries. These are usually painless, causing no such symptom and females develop a cyst at least once every year. However, there are various kinds of ovarian cysts like the dermoid cysts and endometrioma cysts. The most common kinds of cysts are usually the functional ones. The types of follicle cysts include the following:
- Follicle cyst: When the menstrual cycle starts, the egg grows in a sac, usually called follicle, which is located inside the ovary. In usual cases, the follicle breaks and the egg is released. However, there might be a case where the follicle may not break. In situations like these, the fluid present in the follicle may turn into cysts in the ovary.
- Corpus leuteum: After the egg is released into the uterus, the follicle ideally dissolves. However, in case the follicle does not dissolve, the excess liquid causes the developing of little sacs and these are the other kinds of cysts.
Most of these tumors are benign (non-cancerous) and never spread beyond the ovary. Benign tumors can be treated by removing either the ovary or the part of the ovary that contains the tumor.
Malignant (cancerous) or low malignant potential ovarian tumors can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body and can be fatal.
There are some more types of cysts as well, which are as follows:
- Dermoid cyst: This is a sac-like growth, which occurs on the ovaries that can contain hair, fat or other tissues. They’re a type of ovarian germ cell tumor. Usually these tumors are benign, but occasionally they can be malignant.
- Endometriomas: These are those tissues, which should originally grow inside the uterus, but instead they attach themselves outside the uterus to the ovaries. This in turn results in cyst formation.
- Cystadenomas: These are basically non-cancerous growths that develop on the ovary surface.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
This is a condition that some women develop, a large number of small cysts form inside the ovaries, thereby causing the ovaries to enlarge. It is important that polycystic ovarian syndrome is treated soon because if left untreated for long, it may cause infertility in women. These cysts are usually not harmful, but they can cause the following:
- Hormonal imbalance, which may lead to acne or facial hair, may also cause individuals to stop ovulating or cause irregular periods
- Higher chance of getting diabetes as the body starts having insulin resistance
- Weight gain
This is not that big a deal and can be controlled easily. Also with healthy living and eating, this condition can be brought to normal. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist and ask a free question.