Ovarian Cysts

What are Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian cysts are sacs on an ovary that contain fluid or semisolid material depending upon the type of cysts (Copstead & Banasik, 2012). Ovarian cysts can develop between puberty and the onset of menopause. The type of ovarian cyst depends on when they occur in relation to ovulation.

Funtional cysts occur due to the normal function of the menstrual cycle. They develop when something in the cycle goes wrong. They are hormonal and tend to occur at least once in a woman’s lifetime (Weschler, 1995).

Follicular cysts develop as a result of the maturation of an ovarian follicile that does not release an ovum (Copstead & Banasik, 2012). Instead of rupturing to release the ovum, the foollicle that encloses the egg enlarges to form a cyst which prevents ovulation (Weschler, 1995). The follicle continues to grow and produces estrogen. A similar type of cyst is the lutenized follicular cyst. The matured ovum prepares to be released by the follicle and appears to go through the normal cycle of ovulation in which the corppus luteum is formed, however the ovum is not released by the follicle (Weschler, 1995).

Corpus luteum cyst- The corpus luteum does not degenerate as it is supposed to, instead it continues to grow and produces progesterone (Copstead & Banasik, 2012).

Theca-lutein cysts- Are cysts filled with clear fluid. The development of theca-lutein cysts is associated with hydatidiform mole, choriocarcinoma or hormone therapy (Copstead & Banasik, 2012).

Dermoid cysts are more common for women between the ages of twenty and forty years of age. Dermoid cysts form from cells that produce human eggs and can grow in any part of the body. These cysts are growths that can contain hair, teeth and skin (Weschler, 1995).

Cystadenoma- Are cysts that develop from ovarian tissue and are usually filed with a watery or viscous liquid (Weschler, 1995).

Endometrioma- Are cysts that develop as a result of endometriosis. They typically contain old blood and attach themselves to ovaries, fallopian tubes or even the bowel (Weschler, 1995).

Treatment for ovarian cysts often involves prescribed oral contraceptives in order to inhibit ovulation, however this method does not inhibit the growth of a cyst that is already present. If a cyst is large and causes pain or discomfort, then surgery is often recommended.

For further reading . . .

Copstead, L.-E. C., & Banasik, J. L. (2012). Pathophysiology. St. Louis: Elselvier.

Weschler, T. (1995). Taking charge of your fertility. Seattle: William Morrow Paperbacks.

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