An ovarian cyst is any collection of fluid, surrounded by a very thin wall, within an ovary. Any ovarian follicle that is larger than about two centimeters is termed an ovarian cyst. An ovarian cyst can be as small as a pea, or larger than an orange.
Most ovarian cysts are functional in nature, and harmless (benign). In the US, ovarian cysts are found in nearly all premenopausal women, and in up to 14.8% of postmenopausal women.
Ovarian cysts affect women of all ages. They occur most often, however, during a woman’s childbearing years.
Some ovarian cysts cause problems, such as bleeding and pain. Surgery may be required to remove cysts larger than 5 centimeters in diameter.
Ovarian cysts are usually diagnosed by either ultrasound or CT scan.
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