The Various Causes Of Ovarian Cysts

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An ovarian cyst is an accumulation of fluid within the ovary and bounded by a thin wall. They can develop for no apparent reasons in women who have their monthly periods. Most of these cysts that form as a normal function of the menstrual cycle are known as functional cysts. These are the common variety. The other types of ovarian cysts are rarer in occurrences.

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Functional Cysts

Every month, the ovaries grow cyst likes structures called follicles. These follicles produce hormones progesterone and estrogen while also releasing an egg during ovulation. Sometimes, these follicles keep on growing and when that occurs, it is known as a functional cyst. There are two kinds of functional cysts,

1. Follicular cysts

Normally, during the midpoint of the menstrual cycle, an egg bursts out of the follicle and travels down the fallopian tube. A follicular cyst is formed when this normal process is hindered and the follicle does not burst. Instead, the follicle grows in size and forms a cyst. Normally, only one cyst occurs at a time and it goes away within a week.

2. Corpus Luteum cyst

After releasing the egg, the follicle begins to produce a large amount of progesterone and estrogen. This modified version of the follicle is known as corpus luteum. However, sometimes the escape point of the egg seals up causing liquid to accumulate inside the follicle and it swells up into a cystic mass.

Also the fertility drug named clomiphene which induces ovulation can also cause the formation of corpus luteum cysts after ovulation is complete.

Normally, functional cysts are common occurrences and are generally harmless. They rarely cause pain and disappear within two or three menstrual cycles.

Other forms of cysts

These are those cysts which do not occur as part of the normal menstrual cycle of the body. These are,

1. Dermoid cyst

These cysts can be made up of human tissue such as hair or teeth or skin. They are formed from cells which produce human eggs, but are rarely cancerous. They are developed from a totipotential germ cell and need to be removed surgically.
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2. Cystadenomas

They are developed from those cells that form the outer wall of the ovary. They contain water or a thick mucous like substance. They are not attached to the ovary directly but are connected by a stalk and can grow considerably. They are however generally non cancerous in nature.

3. Endometriomas

A condition occurs where cells that usually grow inside the uterus are found to grow outside the uterus walls. Endometrial cells are shed every month during period cycles and generally affect women in their child bearing years.

4. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

These are caused by a hormonal imbalance in the ovaries which cause small but harmless cysts on the ovaries. People suffering from PCOS have a much higher chance of developing ovarian cysts.

These are the various forms of ovarian cysts and how they occur. Though generally harmless, ovarian cysts can cause quite a bit of pain and discomfort and must be looked into by a doctor for treatment and preventive measures.
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