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Functional Ovarian Cysts - What Happens

Most functional ovarian cysts cause no symptoms and go away without treatment in 1 to 2 months or after 1 to 2 menstrual periods. Some cysts grow as large as 4 in. (10.2 cm) in diameter before they shrink or rupture. A rupturing functional cyst can cause some temporary discomfort or pain.

What to think about

Functional ovarian cysts do not cause ovarian cancer. But your doctor must rule out other possible types of ovarian cysts or growths before diagnosing a functional cyst. This may involve another pelvic exam, a pelvic ultrasound, or possibly a laparoscopy procedure to closely examine the cyst and its ovary.

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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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