Due to the complexity of ovarian tissue, that is to say containing many cell types, ovarian cysts take on a number of different forms. Are you familiar with dermoid cysts?
Ovarian cysts sound rather ominous, however they are quite common in some women yet in a small percentage of cases can be cancerous. Ovarian cysts occur for many different reasons particularly during menstruation. During a females period, it is common to form fluid filled sacs within follicles that contain eggs. For short periods of time, these egg sacs will continue to become larger but eventually should diminish and leave scar tissue behind. This is a normal process of egg development and shedding of eggs and known as functional ovarian cysts. These types of functional cysts generally do not cause any symptoms.
On the other hand, some ovarian cysts can be painful and create a number of other symptoms as well. Only about 5 percent of ovarian cysts are harmful, so keep this in mind. Nevertheless, it is important to talk with your healthcare provider is you are having any problems with lower abdomen pain associated with the ovaries. Sometimes the pain may be one sided but both ovaries can have cysts at the same time bringing about pain on both sides.
There are 3 general types of ovarian cysts depending on where the cyst is located. These include corpus luteum cysts, hemorrhagic cysts and dermoid cysts. We’ll take a look at the causes, symptoms and treatments available for these 3 different types of ovarian cysts.
Corpus Luteum Cysts
A follicle in the ovary is were an egg develops. When an egg is released for fertilization, the follicle will become the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum will produce progesterone preparing the endometrium (uterus) for implantation of the fertilized egg. If the egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum degenerates and forms a corpus album which is essentially scar tissue. At times, the corpus luteum can become a fluid-filled ovarian cyst known as an corpus luteum cyst. These types of cysts generally disappear on their own and cause no real discomfort.
From time to time, a functional cyst such as a corpus luteum cyst may contain blood. These functional cysts are referred to as hemorrhagic cysts. When a cyst of this type leaks blood, it can generate a burning sensation on the side of the ovarian with the cyst. These cysts are not unusual and generally don’t require any treatment. They tend to fix themselves. On rare occasions these cysts could be a sign of endometriosis and require surgical removal.
Epithelial or dermoid cysts are cysts that can form in the ovary from stem cells (totipotent cells). These types of cells are like a fertilized egg (zygote) where that zygote can develop a number of different cell and tissue types from the one fertilized cell. For example, that tissue could develop into teeth or hair. These types of cysts can form in the ovary and these cysts may be a composite of cells that form teeth and hair. Most of these types of ovarian cysts are benign. They can grow quite large and may cut off ovarian blood circulation and require surgical removal.