Women should not be alarmed by the relatively common occurrence of functional ovarian cysts. In most cases these cysts do not predict or develop into cancer. In fact, many cysts will have no noticeable symptoms or need any form of treatment, although some could be painful and require treatment of some kind.
When ovulation does not take place, or when a mature follicle breaks down, a simple form of ovarian cyst may form, called a follicular cyst. This cyst can become as large as 2 or more inches in diameter, but will usually disappear by itself after only a few months, and will usually show no symptoms.
The corpus luteum cyst can develop when an ovarian gland produces progesterone as an egg is released during the ovulation phase of the monthly menstrual cycle. A healthy corpus luteum is a round gland filled with fluid and roughly an inch in diameter. It is important to note that cysts on the corpus luteum are known to be asymptomatic. They appear without the presence of noticeable symptoms and develop at the end of the monthly menstrual cycle, as well during the early stages of a pregnancy. Luckily, most corpus luteum cysts disappear without treatment.
As the name suggests, a hemorrhagic cyst is a type of functional ovarian cyst that releases blood. Though it is rare for these type of ovarian cyst to burst, when they do burst they leak blood and cause a burning sensation across the pelvic area. However, hemorrhagic cysts are fairly common and do not normally require treatment. Doctors may surgically remove hemorrhagic cysts when they think it indicates the presence of endometriosis.
Women can develop dermoid cysts at any time and age, but they are more common during the childbearing years. A dermoid cyst is one type of an ovarian cyst that grows from the totipotential germ cell in the ovaries. Tissues such as bone, teeth and hair can form from this ovarian cell. Dermoid cysts may contain solid physical tissue. Indded, in some cases doctors have found hair and teeth forming in these cysts. Treatment for these types of cysts is to remove them as they can block the flow of blood to the ovaries.
An ovarian cyst that is pathological includes both tumors and endometriosis. These are not common and can only be found after examination by a doctor. A tumor can be defined as a pathological ovarian cyst and be either cancerous or not, benign or malignant. Tumors need to be dealt with as soon as they are discovered. A tumor is generally 6 cm or over, thick walled and persistent. On the other hand women in their prime reproductive years will often develop endometrioid cysts. These endometrioid cysts are present when a woman has endometriosis and are formed when a portion of endometrial tissue bleeds, falls off and then becomes transplanted in the ovaries.
The different types of ovarian cysts must be diagnosed and treated appropriately. Pathological cysts can be potentially more serious than simple or functional cysts. However, all women should seek assistance from their doctor, especially if they are noticing any symptoms common to having ovarian cysts.