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Diagnosing & Treating Ovarian Cysts


Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that are attached to an ovary. They are very common and often go away without treatment. However, a ruptured ovarian cyst is a medical emergency that requires immediate emergency care.

Are you living with ovarian cyst pain or discomfort? Find a Doctor at Dignity Health who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cysts in the Bay Area. Our trusted gynecologists offer women’s services with personal care every time.

What Causes Ovarian Cysts?

Most often, ovarian cysts are caused by ovulation, when an ovary releases an egg. Eggs mature in small, cyst-like structures called follicles. This structure breaks open and releases the egg during ovulation. If the egg is not released, it will continue to grow and form a cyst. Other times the follicle will keep growing even after the egg has been released. This is called a corpus luteum cyst. Both of these types of cysts are called functional cysts. They are harmless, but can cause pain.

The use of fertility drugs can increase the risk of developing ovarian cysts. Other causes of ovarian cysts include endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Ovarian Cyst Pain & Symptoms

Usually, ovarian cysts do not cause symptoms. Most times they are found during an imaging study, such as an ultrasound, that was performed for an unrelated reason.

When ovarian cysts do cause symptoms, they can include:

  • Abdominal pain (may be dull or sharp)
  • Bleeding
  • Bloating
  • Feeling as if you need to urinate or pass a bowel movement
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain during intercourse

Ovarian cysts are rarely cancerous.

Ovarian Cyst Removal & Treatment at Dignity Health

Your treatment options depend on the type of cyst, it’s size, and whether it is causing pain or other issues. Common treatments include:

  • Birth control pills. These medications can help stop the formation of new cysts, but do not treat existing ones.
  • Monitoring. Most cysts go away without treatment. If a cyst isn’t causing pain or other symptoms, your doctor may recommend checking it with ultrasound every few months until it is gone.
  • Surgery. Cysts are removed surgically if they cause pain, continue to grow, or don’t go away over time. Doctors can usually remove the cyst through a small incision in the abdomen without removing the rest of the ovary. If the cyst could be cancerous or is very large, one or both ovaries may need to be removed.

If you suspect an ovarian cyst, talk to your doctor at Dignity Health today.

Dignity Health provides state-of-the-art treatment for ovarian cysts in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.