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Ovarian Cysts

What Is an Ovarian Cyst?

Ovarian cysts are most often “functional,” meaning they are a by-product of normal hormonal changes that happen during a woman's menstrual cycle. Some factors that contribute to the development of ovarian cysts include:

  • Endometriosis
  • Hormonal changes
  • Pelvic infection
  • Pregnancy
  • Previous ovarian cyst


Most small, functional ovarian cysts may not cause symptoms, but other cysts may result in:

  • Abdominal heaviness — A feeling of “fullness” or “heaviness” in the abdominal area.
  • Nausea or vomiting — If nausea or vomiting is present with severe pain or fever, a physician should be consulted immediately.
  • Pain — Pain or tenderness may be present in the pelvic region.
  • Pressure or bloating — The cyst can cause pressure, bloating or swelling in the abdomen.

Treatment Options

Most benign ovarian cysts resolve on their own, with physicians taking a “wait and watch” approach, but if additional treatment is needed, options include:

  • Medication — Hormonal contraceptives are sometimes prescribed to keep ovarian cysts from recurring. However, birth control pills cannot shrink existing ovarian cysts.
  • Surgery — If surgery is needed for ovarian cysts, it can vary according to the size of the cyst and whether it is benign or malignant. Smaller, benign cysts are removed using minimally invasive surgeries such as a laparoscopy.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of an ovarian cyst, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat ovarian cysts.