Functional Ovarian Cysts


A functional ovarian cyst is a pouch that grows on the ovary during or following ovulation and stores a maturing egg. Generally, the pouch disintegrates once the egg is released. In case the egg is not released or the pouch closes after the egg is released, the pouch can become filled with fluid.  Majority of these cysts are benign and asymptomatic and resolve on their own, however, if it grows in size or twists or bleeds, it can be very painful and require surgery.

What are the causes?

A functional ovarian cyst grows when there is slight alteration in the way the ovary produces and releases the egg.  There are two types of functional ovarian cyst:

  • Follicular cyst: This cyst forms when the pouch on the ovary fails to release the egg and the pouch fills up with fluid.

  • Luteal cyst: This cyst forms when the pouch releases an egg but then closes up and fills up with fluid.

What are the symptoms?

Usually, functional ovarian cysts are symptom less, and symptoms if any depend on the size of the cyst.  Symptoms can include period pain, delayed onset of period or bleeding in between periods.  Some functional ovarian cysts can rupture and bleed causing severe pain or pain during intercourse.

What test will be required for diagnosis?
  • Physical examination by your doctor

  • Ultrasound scan

  • CT / MRI scan may be required

What are the treatment options available?

Most functional ovarian cysts resolve and no treatment is required. Surgery is only required when the cyst is large and causing symptoms.