Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form on the outside or inside of the ovaries. Most premenopausal women with regular periods will get ovarian cysts through a natural ovulation process. These cysts, called functional cysts, are generally small and often resolve on their own as they are related to the menstrual cycle. Large cysts may require treatment, and though they can be cancerous, this is rare. Cysts after menopause are also unusual and generally indicate a higher risk of ovarian cancer.
Follicular cysts happen during the ovulation process. Inside the ovary, an egg forms in a follicle which then breaks and releases the egg. A cyst may occur if the follicle doesn't burst as it normally does and instead continues to grow. Corpus luteum cysts develop when the follicle breaks but doesn't shrink as it should. Instead, the corpus luteum reseals itself and swells with fluid. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (POS) causes some women to produce numerous cysts that can affect the functioning of the ovaries.
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