ZocdocAnswersWhat causes cysts to grow on ovaries?

Question

What causes cysts to grow on ovaries?

I'm 25, and I just found out that several women in my family have had ovarian cysts. Now I'm trying to learn as much as I can about them. What causes a cyst to grow on an ovary in the first place?

Answer

Cysts on ovaries can be normal, or can be a sign of disease. I would recommend that you discuss this with your OB / GYN. This requires follow up with your doctor. There are many different types of cysts, but the most common are functional cysts. During the normal menstrual cycle, the body produces hormones that cause the eggs to mature. As the eggs mature they grow in the ovary. At each ovulation period (which occurs half way between each menstruation period) the egg is released, however the cyst in which it grew remains in the ovary. These are sometimes bigger than they should be and can be seen on an ultrasound. These however are normal and we know that they go away later in the menstrual period. That is why the first step if these are found is to simply repeat the ultrasound in a few weeks to see what has happened to them. There are other types of cysts. Some occur during pregnancy. Some occur because of other hormonal disorders (known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which is related to diabetes). A minority of them occur from cancer. There are also some cysts that are caused be endometriosis. Talk to your OB/GYN. Most cysts grow from normal female hormones and are not important, but some can be a sign of disease.

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