Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacks that form on the outside or inside of the ovaries. They affect most women at some point but are generally pain-free and resolve on their own. There are a few types of ovarian cysts, and they all have different causes. The most common type of is the follicle cyst, which forms during the menstrual cycle when an egg grows inside a follicle in the ovary. Normally, this follicle releases the egg, but sometimes the follicle closes up and forms a cyst, which generally vanishes during the next cycle. Endometriosis also affects many women. This condition, caused by abnormal tissue growth on the outside of the ovaries and womb, leads to cysts and may result in infertility. If ovarian cysts are causing issues, they can be surgically removed. Some women get multiple cysts on both ovaries, a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome. This can cause medical issues such as high testosterone, excess facial hair, weight gain, and infertility.
There are a few critical symptoms of ovarian cysts that require immediate medical attention. If you experience severe or sharp abdominal pain, fever, fainting, or rapid breathing, see a doctor right away. These symptoms can result from ruptured cysts or ovarian torsion.
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