Treatment for ovarian cysts

How are ovarian cysts treated?

It depends on what is the cause of the cyst and what your symptoms are. Possible treatments include:
Watchful Waiting – In cases of small simple cysts you will need an ultrasound scan every three months. Your cysts might remain the same size, get smaller, or even disappear. In those cases, you usually don’t need any treatment
Contraceptive pills – They can stop some types of new cysts from growing.
Surgery to remove the cyst or the whole ovary. If a cyst is large, causing symptoms or appears suspicious for cancer, treatment involves surgery to remove the cyst or the entire ovary. In the vast majority of cysts the operation is done via keyhole surgery.

Most of the ovarian cysts can be removed as a key-hole (laparoscopic procedure). Three or four small (5-10mm) incisions are made on the tummy wall. Camera and special surgical instruments are then inserted to remove the cyst and healthy ovarian tissue is conserved. The cyst is then put in a plastic bag, decompressed and removed with no spillage inside the tummy. Key-hole surgery avoids the need for a big cut and has the advantage of reduced hospital stay and quick recovery and return to normal life.

Do the ovarian cysts always need removal?

Not all ovarian cysts need removal. Functional (follicular) cysts often will resolve spontaneously. Surgery may be needed if the cysts are persistent or if there are symptoms (see above). If there is a suspicion of cancer, urgent surgery is indicated to make a diagnosis and also as treatment.

Will I lose my ovary?

Whether the surgery involves removing only the cyst or the entire ovary depends upon your age and what is found during the procedure. If malignancy is suspected then the ovary should be removed in order to avoid rupture and spillage of the cyst content. In every other case though only the cyst is removed.

How can you prevent recurrent ovarian cysts?

It may not be always possible to prevent ovarian cysts, but going on the contraceptive pill may prevent cyst-formation to some degree.


After an ovarian cyst is removed, you will not need further tests if you do not develop any symptoms.
Some types of ovarian cysts, as endometriomas (chocolate cysts) and functional ovarian cysts are more likely to recur than others. If you are concerned about recurrent cysts you will require yearly pelvic ultrasound scans.