Ovarian cysts are enlargements of the ovary that appear to be filled with fluid. They can be a simple fluid filled bleb or contain complex internal structures. The term cyst is used to differentiate them from solid enlargements. Simple cysts have no internal structures and are less worrisome than those with complex structures or solid components. A sonogram or ultrasound test can determine if a cyst is simple or complex.
Ovarian cysts are frequently encountered. Every menstruating woman develops an ovarian cyst each cycle. Sometimes the ovary does not ovulate and the follicle cyst persists. It will continue to enlarge and can become as big as a baseball. Eventually it will break and the woman may not even be aware that this has happened. The period may be delayed because there is no progesterone phase of the cycle to respond to. The corpus luteum can also become cystic. If these cysts are detected during an examination the woman will be told that she has a cyst. Usually this will cause considerable consternation. Now everybody is upset. Could the cyst be a cancer? Will an operation have to be done? How are these questions to be answered?
Usually if it is a clear cyst, there is no need to be panic. But any pathology of ovaries and uterus have to be viewed seriously in a menopausal woman.