Functional Ovarian Cysts - Treatment Overview
functional ovarian cysts are harmless, do not cause
symptoms, and go away without treatment. When treatment is needed, treatment
- Relieving symptoms of pelvic pain or
- Preventing more cysts from developing by preventing
ovulation (if recurrence is a problem). Treatment with
birth control pills prevents ovulation.
functional ovarian cysts typically go away without
treatment, your doctor may recommend a period of
observation without treatment (watchful waiting) to see whether your
ovarian cyst gets better or goes away on its own. Your doctor will do another
pelvic exam in 1 to 2 months to see whether the cyst has changed in
If an ovarian cyst doesn't go away, your doctor may want to do more tests to be sure that your symptoms are
not caused by another type of ovarian growth. Home treatment with heat and
pain-relieving medicine can often provide relief of bothersome symptoms during
functional ovarian cyst that doesn't go away, has an unusual appearance on
ultrasound, or causes symptoms may require treatment
with either medicines or surgery.
- Your doctor may suggest that you try
birth control pills for several months to stop more cysts from
- Surgical removal of the cyst (cystectomy) through a small
incision (laparoscopy) may be needed if a painful functional
ovarian cyst does not go away despite medical treatment. If a cyst has an
unusual appearance on ultrasound or if you have other risk factors for
ovarian cancer, your doctor may recommend surgical
removal through a larger abdominal incision (laparotomy)
instead of by using laparoscopy.
What to think about
Cysts after menopause. After
menopause, ovarian cancer risk increases. This is why
all postmenopausal ovarian growths are carefully checked for signs of cancer.
Some doctors will recommend removing the ovaries (oophorectomy) when any kind
of cyst develops on an ovary after menopause. But the trend in medicine seems
to be moving away from surgery for small and simple cysts in postmenopausal
women. In the 5 years after menopause, some women will still have functional
ovarian cysts now and then. Some postmenopausal ovarian cysts, called
unilocular cysts, which have thin walls and one
compartment, are rarely linked to cancer.