Little medical information is available on the prevention of ovarian cysts. Smoking was not found to be a risk factor for their development.
Functional ovarian cysts cannot be prevented if you are ovulating. Anything that makes ovulation less frequent reduces your chance of developing an ovarian cyst. Birth control pills, pregnancy, and breast-feeding in the first 6 months following birth prevent ovulation. Ovulation ceases when menopause is complete.
Women who use high-dose birth control pills have a modestly decreased risk of developing functional ovarian cysts; low-dose birth control pills seem to have a less preventive effect.
If a woman is not seeking pregnancy and develops functional cysts frequently, they can be prevented by taking oral contraceptives, Depo-Provera, or Norplant, all of which prevent follicle formation.