Fact: Having a cyst on your ovary is not necessarily cause for alarm. This is because there are many different types of cysts on the ovaries, some of which are considered harmless and do not even accompany symptoms. This is often the case with functional ovarian cysts, or what the Cleveland Clinic calls the most common type of cyst. A functional cyst can actually appear and then disappear without you ever knowing it existed.
So where do these functional cysts come from? According to the Mayo Clinic, there are two different types of functional cysts that are related to the ovulation stage of the menstrual cycle: follicular cysts and corpus luteum cysts. The follicular cysts occur when the follicle follicle does not release an egg and continue to grow, while the corpus luteum cysts occur when the follicle releases the egg but then fills with fluid.
While functional ovarian cysts often do not cause pain and tend to disappear on their own, they have the potential to come with symptoms. And that was when Taraneh Shirazian, MD, a gynecologist at NYU Langone Health, said it’s important to check in with your doctor.
For example, Dr. Shirazian cysts in the ovaries sometimes grow large and can create pressure or pain. She said they can also rupture or contribute to an emergency called ovarian torsion.
So if you experience pain or other symptoms or notice any changes, consult your doctor. When deciding whether a cyst in the ovaries is a cause for concern, Dr. Shirazian that doctors will also look at what type of cyst it is as there are other cysts that are attached to or can cause more serious health problems.
“There is a high probability that small, benign cysts will disappear on their own, so we keep an eye on them,” she said.