Ovarian cysts are sacs filled with fluid or a semisolid material that develops on or within the ovary. Typically, ovarian cysts are functional (not disease related) and disappear on their own. During the days preceding ovulation, a follicle grows. At the time of expected ovulation, the follicle fails to rupture and release an egg. (Physiologic ovarian cysts; Functional ovarian cysts)
Functional ovarian cysts typically disappear within 60 days without any treatment. Oral contraceptive pills may be prescribed to help establish normal cycles and decrease the development of functional ovarian cysts.
Ovarian cysts that do not appear to be functional may require surgical removal by laparoscopy or exploratory laparotomy. Surgical removal is often necessary if a cyst is revealed that is larger than 6 centimeters or that persists for longer than 6 weeks.
Other medical treatment may be recommended if other disorders are found to be the cause of ovarian cysts, such as polycystic ovary disease.
If you experience severe or spasmodic pain in your lower abdomen, accompanied by fever and vomiting, see your doctor. These signs and symptoms – or signs and symptoms of shock such as cold, clammy skin, rapid breathing, and lightheadedness or weakness – indicate an emergency and require immediate medical attention.