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Ovarian Cysts
(GY011)

Introduction


Cysts are sacs filled with fluid or semi-solid tissue that can develop in almost any part of the body. The ovaries, however are a particularly common location for the development of cysts in women. Most ovarian cysts are benign.

Ovarian cysts (OC) are very common in women of childbearing age and are even found in children and newborns. Cysts that occur in postmenopausal women have a higher risk of malignancy and are usually evaluated and treated aggressively.

OC often do not cause any symptoms. Symptoms may be caused by: a cyst bleeding or breaking open (rupture) and spilling contents that irritate the abdominal tissues; a twisting (torsion) cyst that blocks blood flow to the ovary; or a cyst that is very large.

Treatment decisions are based on the woman's age, the size of the cyst, and the ultrasound appearance, which usually provides adequate information to determine which cysts are appropriate for observation and which necessitate surgical removal.

Most cysts, especially smaller ones, resolve spontaneously over the course of 2-3 months and require no intervention. Cysts that are 8 centimeters and larger are generally removed surgically.

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