What Is a Paraovarian Cyst?

Medically Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on May 19, 2023
4 min read

Paraovarian cysts grow near your ovaries. These are sometimes mistaken for ovarian cysts, but they often don’t cause symptoms.

A paraovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac found next to or attached to the fallopian tubes near your ovaries. It might also be called paratubal cyst or a hydatid cyst of Morgagni.

These cysts usually don’t cause any symptoms and often aren’t discovered unless you have surgery or other problems. A paraovarian cyst is usually noncancerous and will go away on its own. But sometimes they do become cancerous.

Paraovarian cysts can be anywhere from 0.5 cm to 20 cm. They might look like an ovarian cyst if they are close to an ovary.

Paraovarian cysts are usually caused by developments from before you were born. In the very early stages of pregnancy, a baby has a structure called a Wolffian duct. These become the male sex organs.

These change as a female grows to become the Mullerian duct. This is where the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and vagina grow. These are also called the paramesonephric ducts.

Sometimes these parts of these ducts can be left after you’re born and they can become paraovarian cysts‌. Some paraovarian cysts also come from mesonephric ducts. These are kidney ducts that were connected to the Mullerian and Wolffian ducts during your early development in the womb.

The cysts usually happen in women who are between 30 and 40 years of age. Younger women can also get them. Paraovarian cysts in teens are often large. 

Most people who have a paraovarian cyst don’t know it. They are typically asymptomatic and are usually only found when your doctor is looking at other health problems. Sometimes they can grow and cause other problems.

Symptoms of paraovarian cysts can include:

  • Pressure
  • Abdominal pain that comes and goes
  • Feeling of heaviness or fullness in the abdomen
  • Constipation
  • Frequent urination

Most of the time your doctor will find your cysts while they’re looking at other health problems. They will do a physical and pelvic exam and order some tests if you’re having symptoms.

Ultrasound. You might have a pelvic or abdominal ultrasound to look for any abnormal growths. This uses ultrasonic frequency to take pictures of your uterus and abdomen.

Magnetic resonance imaging. An MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to take detailed pictures of your organs.

Most paraovarian cysts don’t have any symptoms. Your doctor might decide to watch and see what happens. The best treatment for cysts is surgery. But surgery comes with risks. So they might decide to leave a cyst if it isn’t growing or affecting your health.

Your doctor will likely recommend surgery if the cyst continues to grow to prevent any other complications.

Laparoscopic cystectomy. A cystectomy is a surgery to remove the cyst. A laparoscopic cystectomy uses a small incision in your abdomen. This is generally the first choice for getting rid of cysts because you will recover quickly with better results.

Laparotomy. This surgery is an invasive open surgery that involves a large incision in your abdomen. 

Sometimes paraovarian cysts can grow and cause other health problems.

Torsion. Paraovarian cysts are held in place by special tissues called stalks. Sometimes the cyst can twist on a stalk. This is called torsion. It can cause serious side effects like:

  • Cramps
  • Sudden and severe abdominal pain
  • Pain radiating into your lower back
  • Fever
  • Vomiting

Torsions are a medical emergency. The cyst’s twisting causes your fallopian tube to twist as well. This can cause blood loss in the area. That may cause permanent damage to your fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Paraovarian cyst torsions are more likely to happen during pregnancy. This is probably because of the fast growth that happens.

Hemorrhage. Sometimes the cyst can break open. This can cause uncontrolled bleeding and blood loss.

Fallopian tube rupture. Though this is rare, if the cyst becomes too big or it twists the fallopian tube, it can cause the tube to split open.

Cancer. Sometimes the paraovarian cyst cells can change and turn to cancer. This is rare.

Large cysts. Sometimes cysts can become extra-large. These can put pressure on other organs like your bowel, bladder, kidneys, or uterus. Large cysts can cause symptoms like constipation, kidney swelling, and frequent, painful urination.

You may not know that you have a paraovarian cyst. Speak to your doctor if you have pain or a heavy feeling in your lower abdomen.