When Are Ovarian Cysts a Problem?

When Are Ovarian Cysts a Problem?

Often, when we hear the word cyst, we assume it’s something bad, but that isn’t always the case. Take ovarian cysts, for example, which are part and parcel of ovulation, and most women develop these small sacs with each menstrual cycle.

While these cysts don’t typically pose problems, about 8% of premenopausal women seek medical help for problematic cysts that are creating some unwanted side effects.

While the name of our practice — Advanced Endometriosis Center — implies that we only focus on endometriosis, we also address other women’s health issues, such as ovarian cysts. Dr. Ulas Bozdogan is a leading expert in reproductive health and has a good deal of experience helping women navigate tricky issues like problematic ovarian cysts.

Here’s a look at some of the complications that can stem from ovarian cysts.

The normal course of ovarian cysts

Let’s first look at how ovarian cysts normally form. During a normal menstrual cycle, your ovary releases an egg that grows inside a small sac called a follicle. When it’s time, the sac breaks open and releases the egg. If the follicle doesn’t break open, a follicle cyst can form, but these usually go away in a few months.

Another perfectly routine way in which cysts can form on your ovaries is if the follicle reseals itself after the release of the egg, forming a corpus luteum cyst, which typically disappears in a few weeks.

When ovarian cysts become problematic

With the cysts we reviewed above, there are usually no symptoms, and they clear up without incident. But for some women, ovarian cysts don’t run the normal course and instead, lead to issues such as:

Cysts that grow too large

In some cases, a normal follicle or corpus luteum cysts can continue to grow instead of go away, which can lead to:

You might also experience pain during intercourse and painful periods if you have a large cyst.

Cysts that rupture or twist

Two of our biggest concerns when it comes to larger cysts are rupture or torsion (the cyst wraps around your ovary). These are medical emergencies and you will be quite aware of the development, which often leads to sudden and intense pain, nausea, vomiting, and bleeding. 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Another issue that can be cause for concern is PCOS, which describes a condition in which you produce too many androgens (male hormones). This hormonal imbalance can lead to cysts on your ovaries as well as other symptoms like acne, body hair, missed periods, and weight gain.

These cysts are unrelated to the follicle and corpus luteum cysts we described earlier.


If you have endometriosis, endometrial tissues and cells can become trapped in a cyst on your ovary. Like PCOS, these are unrelated to more normal ovarian cysts and are a result of a different problem (endometriosis)

If you’re worried about the presence of ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer, which is diagnosed in about 20,000 women each year in the United States, the link isn’t there. 

Getting help for your problematic ovarian cysts

If you suspect you have ovarian cysts that are far from run-of-the-mill, it’s important to come see us for an evaluation. After reviewing your symptoms, we use ultrasound to get a good look at your ovaries to identify the problem and get you on the road to better reproductive health.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cysts, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bozdogan today online or over the phone. We have offices in New York City and Hackensack, New Jersey.

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