Ovarian cysts are such a common occurrence that most women of childbearing age have them. Of the various types of ovarian cysts, a vast majority consist of functional cysts which are harmless, cause no symptoms and need no treatment.
The risk of developing all types of ovarian cysts increases among women with irregular menstrual cycles, infertility or a history of ovarian cysts. Menstruation before age 11, hormonal imbalances, treatments for breast cancer and so on also increase risk whereas use of birth control pills seems to decrease risk of developing cysts in the ovaries because of the lack of ovulation that the pills cause.
We look at non-functional cysts in this post, the kinds that in cases cause problematic symptoms that cause bleeding and pain, or which are large enough to require surgical removal.
Types of Ovarian Cysts
The main kinds of ovarian cysts that are problematic or potentially problematic are.
Polycystic appearing ovary
This condition is different from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which typically has several problematic symptoms. With a polycystic appearing ovary, the size of the ovary is greatly enlarged and may be double its regular size due to small cysts that are present around the ovary. PCOS causes problems such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, metabolic problems and other abnormalities.
This type of ovarian cyst is frequently seen to occur in women with endocrine disorders though it is also common in women who have no other complaints.
Endometrial or chocolate cyst
These types of ovarian cysts are caused by endometriosis (the condition where the lining of the uterus or the endometrium transplants at sites other than inside the uterus). With this kind of ovary cyst, the endometrial tissue (consisting of blood and other tissue) sloughs off and starts to grow abnormally inside the ovaries.
This condition is also referred to as endometriosis of the ovary. The buildup of blood inside the ovary over a long period causes the ovary to turn brown (chocolate colored). Pain is the most frequent symptom of this kind of cyst.
Impaired fertility may be another symptom. Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, hormone therapy and even surgery may be needed to treat these types of ovarian cysts.
Ovarian serous cystadenoma and Ovarian Mucinous cystadenoma
An Ovarian serous cystadenoma a kind of tumor that arises from the ovary and though it appears a lot like ovarian cancer, this type of tumor is benign. Clear straw colored fluid is contained in these cysts.
An ovarian mucinous cystadenoma cyst could become very large; up to 12 inches in diameter and may thus need treatment because it could extend up and into the abdomen.
These ovarian cysts could be benign, borderline, and malignant with a small percentage of these tumors being cancerous or malignant. Castadenomas and other pathological cysts have the greatest danger of developing into cancer.
These types of ovarian cysts are the strangest types and tissue such as developmentally mature skin, hair follicles, sweat glands, bone and teeth could be detected growing within the cyst. These are very strange in nature but usually benign.