What are different types of ovarian cysts?

Ovarian cysts can be categorized as noncancerous or cancerous growths.

All of the following are noncancerous ovarian growths or cysts.

A woman may develop 1 or more of them.

  • Follicular cyst:

    This type of simple cyst can form when ovulation does not occur or when a mature follicle involutes (collapses on itself).

    It usually forms at the time of ovulation and can grow to about 2.3 inches in diameter.

    The rupture of this type of cyst can create sharp severe pain on the side of the ovary on which the cyst appears. This sharp pain (sometimes called mittelschmerz) occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle, during ovulation.

    About a fourth of women with this type of cyst experience pain.

    Usually, these cysts produce no symptoms and disappear by themselves within a few months.

    The doctor monitors these to make sure they disappear and looks at treatment options if they do not.

  • Corpus luteum cyst:

    This type of functional ovarian cyst occurs after an egg has been released from a follicle. After this happens, the follicle becomes what is known as a corpus luteum.

    If a pregnancy doesn't occur, the corpus luteum usually breaks down and disappears.

    It may, however, fill with fluid or blood and stay on the ovary.

    Usually, this cyst is on only 1 side and produces no symptoms.

  • Hemorrhagic cyst:

    This type of functional cyst occurs when bleeding occurs within a cyst.

    Symptoms such as abdominal pain on 1 side of the body may be present with this type of cyst.

  • Dermoid cyst:

    This is an abnormal cyst that usually affects younger women and may grow to 6 inches in diameter.

    This cyst is similar to those present on skin tissue and can contain fat and occasionally bone, hair, and cartilage.

    The ultrasound image of this cyst type can vary because of the spectrum of contents, but a CT scan and MRI can show the presence of fat and dense calcifications.

    These cysts are also called mature cystic teratomas.

    They can also twist around (a condition known as ovarian torsion), causing severe abdominal pain.

  • Endometriomas or endometrioid cysts:

    This type of cyst is formed when endometrial tissue (the mucous membrane that makes up the inner layer of the uterine wall) grows in the ovaries.

    It affects women during the reproductive years and may cause chronic pelvic pain associated with menstruation.

    Endometriosis is the presence of endometrial glands and tissue outside the uterus.

    Women with endometriosis may have problems with fertility because 80% of all pelvic endometriosis is found in the ovary (1 or both).

    These cysts, often filled with dark, reddish-brown blood, may range in size from 0.75-8 inches and are also called as CHOCOLATE CYSTS because the colour of the fluid in the cyst is similar to that of chocolate

  • Polycystic-appearing ovary:

    Polycystic-appearing ovary is diagnosed based on its enlarged size—usually twice normal—with small cysts present around the outside of the ovary.

    This condition can be found in "normal" women and in women with endocrine disorders.

    An ultrasound is used to view the ovary in diagnosing this condition.

    Polycystic-appearing ovary is different from the polycystic ovarian syndrome, which includes other symptoms in addition to the presence ovarian cysts.

    Polycystic ovarian syndrome involves metabolic and cardiovascular risks linked to insulin resistance. These risks include increased glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

    Polycystic ovarian syndrome is associated with infertility, abnormal bleeding, increased incidences of pregnancy loss, and pregnancy-related complications.

    Polycystic ovarian syndrome is extremely common and is thought to occur in 4-7% of women of reproductive age and is associated with an increased risk for endometrial cancer.

    More tests than an ultrasound alone are required to diagnose polycystic ovarian syndrome.