Understanding the Different Types of Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts — fluid-filled or solid sacs that develop in or on a woman’s ovaries — are quite common in premenopausal women.

Most ovarian cysts are small and cause no noticeable symptoms. But as many as 8% of women develop ovarian cysts that are large enough to require treatment.

Here at Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, Susan Crockett, MD, and our team of highly trained care providers have extensive experience diagnosing and treating ovarian cysts. To help you understand this condition, we would like to tell you about the different types of ovarian cysts.

About ovarian cysts

Most ovarian cysts are benign, meaning they are not cancerous. We don’t know why some women develop cysts or why some cysts go away and others don’t.

Ovarian cysts may have no symptoms at all, or they may cause one or more of the following:

Cysts may go away on their own, or they may require treatment. In rare cases, ovarian cysts may burst open. If this happens, you may experience severe pain, bleeding, shortness of breath, dizziness, or vomiting and fever. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate care.

Types of cysts

There are several types of ovarian cysts.

Functional ovarian cysts

These are the most common types of ovarian cysts. They develop when the follicles in your ovaries don’t release eggs as they should or when follicles accumulate fluid after ovulation. These often go away on their own.


Teratoma may be present in your body when you are born, but grow during your reproductive years. In rare cases, they can become cancerous.


These cysts are typically located on the outside of one of your ovaries. They tend to grow very large.


Endometrioma are cysts that form in women with endometriosis, a condition in which uterine tissue grows in places it doesn’t belong, such as the ovaries.

Cysts related to PCOS 

These cysts may develop in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Symptoms of PCOS can include irregular periods, excessive hair growth on the face or chest, and severe acne.

Treating ovarian cysts

When ovarian cysts cause troublesome symptoms, we typically recommend pain medication or hormonal birth control to manage symptoms. If cysts continue to bother you, you may need surgery.

Whenever possible, Dr. Crockett performs ovarian cyst surgery using the da Vinci™ robotic surgical system. This minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical technique makes it possible to perform surgery through tiny incisions rather than larger cuts. Dr. Crockett is a master-level surgeon in da Vinci surgery.

If you’re experiencing pain, heavy bleeding, or any other gynecological symptoms, or if you suspect that you may have ovarian cysts, we can help. Call us today to schedule an evaluation.

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