In a female body, there will be a pair of organs in the reproductive system called ovaries, which you can find in the pelvis, each on either sides of the uterus.
Once in a month, during your normal menstrual cycle, a cystic structure known as a follicle forms.
Actually, the follicle produces hormones such as estrogen and progesterone that helps release a mature egg from your ovary through the fallopian tube and finally to the uterus.
In some cases, the follicle persists to grow and turn into what is known as an ovarian cyst. The ovarian cyst is a sac with liquid, solid material or both contained in it, which you can find on the surface of the ovary or inside of it.
Ovarian cysts are quite common in all women who experience regular menstruation. It is found that ovarian cysts are also common in all pre-menopausal women, and up to 14.8% in postmenopausal women.
Mostly, you will not experience any symptoms of ovarian cysts as these are asymptomatic. Thus, you will not aware of the fact that you have a cyst. Most of the times, without any treatment, these ovarian cysts will disappear on its own after one or two menstrual cycles.
Actually, an ovarian cyst can be simple or complex. A simple cyst is a fluid-filled sac. Graafian follicular cysts and corpus luteum cysts are functional simple cysts.
However, a complex ovarian cyst consists of both fluid and solid contents. Dermoid cysts, endometriomas and cystadenomas are some of complex types of ovarian cysts.
Graafian follicular cysts:
A type of simple cyst occurs when ovulation doesn’t take place, and a follicle doesn’t break or release its egg instead grows till a cyst forms.
Usually, these cysts exhibit no symptoms and vanish by themselves within a few months. Ultrasound is the primary tool used to diagnose the follicular cyst.
Corpus luteum cyst:
Another type of ovarian cyst occurs after an egg released from a follicle. Thus the follicle becomes a corpus luteum. Usually, this cyst ruptures and disappears once if a pregnancy doesn’t occur. Even this is a fluid-filled cyst and usually causes no symptoms.
Dermoid cysts (teratomas):
A type of complex cysts having a very strange phenomenon with effectively structured sacs filled with pieces of bone, teeth, hair and skin. These are filled with solid structures, which mean they are not, technically, cysts; rather they can become malignant (cancerous).
This ovarian cyst is a condition where the lining of the womb (endometrium) starts growing in parts of the body other than the womb. These patches forms on the ovaries by creating cysts filled with old blood known as ‘chocolate cysts’.
These patches become encapsulated in a cyst will bleed during your periods. As there is no outlet for the bleeding, the cyst becomes larger. Even small cysts can rupture causing severe pain.
Normally, these ovarian cysts grow from cells on the exterior surface of the ovaries and up to a large size and are sometimes attached to the ovary by a stem. These cysts do not exhibit symptoms, but can twist on their stems and rupture. This can pain you extremely and requires emergency surgery.
Some helpful links to know more about Ovarian Cysts: