Your ovaries release an egg every month that you have a regular menstrual period. Sometimes, the ovaries can develop fluid-filled sacs, or cysts. While cysts are usually painless, they can cause pain and other complications in some instances. Samuel Van Kirk, M.D. OBGYN and his team in Redding, California, treat women of all ages suffering from ovarian cysts. Schedule an appointment online or by phone today to learn more about this common condition.

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What is an ovarian cyst?

The ovaries are the part of the female reproductive system responsible for producing eggs. An ovarian cyst is a small, fluid-filled sac that develops in or on your ovary. Ovarian cysts are usually harmless, and many women may not even be aware they have cysts.

The two most common types of ovarian cysts are follicle cysts and corpus luteum cysts. During your menstrual cycle, an egg grows inside a follicle sac.

If the follicle doesn’t open to release the egg, it can grow into a cyst. Corpus luteum cysts form if the follicle sac releases the egg, but doesn’t shrink afterward.

Sometimes, the cysts can be numerous or painful. Larger cysts can cause bleeding, and ovaries that produce many small cysts can lead to the development of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

What causes ovarian cysts?

The fluid-filled sacs usually develop during ovulation, or the time in your menstrual cycle when your ovary releases an egg. Functional cysts occur during a normal menstrual cycle and generally go away in a week or two.

Several factors can increase your risk of developing ovarian cysts, including:

  • Endometriosis
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Pelvic infection
  • Pregnancy

Cysts often develop in women with regular menstrual periods. After menopause, cysts become less common. If you’re postmenopausal and have ovarian cysts, you may be at increased risk for ovarian cancer.

How are cysts treated?

Dr. Van Kirk can perform a variety of procedures in-office to help confirm your diagnosis and check for the presence of ovarian cysts. In-office hysteroscopy is a common procedure to examine the inside of your uterus to help determine the cause of abnormal bleeding.

While many cysts are painless and disappear on their own, sometimes an ovarian cyst can become serious. If you experience severe abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, faintness, dizziness or rapid breathing, it’s possible that a cyst has ruptured. If you have a cyst that ruptures, be sure to seek medical attention right away.

If you’re concerned about pain or discomfort associated with ovarian cysts, Dr. Van Kirk and his team can expertly diagnose your condition provide the best course of treatment. Make an appointment at Samuel Van Kirk, M.D. OBGYN online or by phone today.