Ovarian cysts, Polycystic ovary syndrome

Most ovarian cysts are benign (noncancerous) and cause no symptoms.

Some ovarian cysts cause problems such as pain.

Treatment of ovarian cysts will depend on the cysts type and related symptoms.


Ovarian cysts are closed, sac-like structures within the ovary that are filled with a liquid or semisolid substance. Most ovarian cysts occur as part of the normal workings of the ovaries. These cysts are generally harmless and disappear without treatment in a few months.


Cysts should always be taken seriously. They may not cause signs or symptoms, but in some conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome, they can be associated with pelvic pain. It is vital to investigate thoroughly, especially if they’re large, getting bigger or affecting a woman who has had her menopause.


Worldwide, about 7% of women have an ovarian cyst at some point in their lives. Some kinds of ovarian cysts are related to the menstrual cycle and occur before a woman has reached menopause. Ovarian cysts in post-menopausal women are also very common, and most are not cancerous. However, because the most significant risk factor for ovarian cancer is age, any cysts in a postmenopausal woman should be taken seriously.


We will take a full medical history and examine you, to identify the problems you’re experiencing. The best way to diagnose a cyst is by ultrasound. It is a safe and painless test which uses sound waves to create images of organs and structures inside your body. We may also take a sample of blood to test for a protein called CA-125. It is a tumour marker and helps to rule out cancer; However, it’s not always reliable, so don’t panic as there are a number of normal and noncancerous conditions can cause an elevated CA- 125 level. We can advise on the best treatment. This depends on factors such as your age, whether you are past the menopause, the appearance and size of the cyst, and whether you have symptoms. We may opt for observation, where we simply suggest a repeat ultrasound scan to monitor the cyst. Most functional ovarian cysts go away on their own over a few weeks or so. If it goes away, then no further action is needed. Surgical removal of an ovarian cyst may be advised if you have symptoms or the ultrasound suggests any suspicious appearance.