What Causes Ovarian Cysts? A Complete Guide

There are many different things that can cause ovarian cysts. Keep reading to find out common signs and symptoms you should be watching for.

Women’s health is so important, yet there are many topics that most people aren’t familiar with. A common typeof pain is pelvic pain. If you’re having pelvic pain, you must learn about some of the causes to react appropriately and ensure that you get the proper healthcare support.

Let’s discuss what can cause ovarian cysts and some next steps if you think you might have one. As always, it’s essential to follow up with your healthcare provider and rely on them for medical advice.

What Are Ovarian Cysts?

People that are born biologically female typically have two ovaries. Ovaries play an essential role in the release of eggs, leading to fertilization. Problems with ovaries can cause bloating, extreme discomfort, and fertility issues, so any problems must be acknowledged by a medical professional like an OB/GYN to give the proper treatment.


Ovarian cysts are sacs that develop on the ovaries. These sacs are filled with fluid and can be extremely painful, typically in the lower abdomen on the same side as the cyst.


Ovarian cysts are fairly common, and many women aren’t aware that they have them. Abdominal pain is a common reason why individuals seek medical support and are diagnosed with ovarian cysts.


While ovarian cysts are somewhat common, that doesn’t mean they can’t develop in an emergency. If an ovarian cyst ruptures, individuals might need immediate medical care and will most likely be in extreme pain. Knowing the signs and causes of ovarian cysts is essential for this reason.

The Cause of Ovarian Cysts

Many ovarian cysts form during ovulation. There are multiple different types of cysts, depending on when during the individual’s cycle they form. For instance, pathological cysts occur because of abnormal cells. These cysts are not correlated with menstruation.


Ovarian cysts typically occur in the years between puberty and menopause. Functional ovarian cysts are different. Functional cysts are linked to the menstrual cycle .


There are multiple symptoms of an ovarian cyst.Doctors may perform imaging tests, laparoscopy, sound wave tests, and even a pregnancy test to determine which of the different types of ovarian cysts you have. If you are past menopause, you may also receive a blood test.  It’s important to remember that every body is unique and that causes can vary.


If you think that you may be at risk of developing an ovarian cyst due to any of the causes below, t speak with your doctor. Let’s go over some of the most common causes of ovarian cysts.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormones play a large role in ovulation, which occurs when many ovarian cysts occur. Having hormonal problems can put you at greater risk for developing ovarian cysts. Individuals taking medications to help increase ovulation may be at higher risk of developing cysts, as these medications can affect hormonal balances.


Some oral contraceptives impair ovulation, which can prevent you from developing ovarian cysts. It’s believed that 10 out of 100 women have ovarian cysts.

Follicle Problems

If a follicle of the ovary does not break as expected during the natural cycle and doesn’t release an egg (or rupture), then it could lead to a cyst. If someone has multiple follicles, some may not develop appropriately.


Another possible cause of ovarian cysts is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can lead to multiple new cysts developing on the ovaries. This can cause extreme pain and also impact fertility.


PCOS can present itself differently, so you must be aware of the symptoms and know if you could be at a higher risk for ovarian cysts. However, there are other symptoms of PCOS.


If you have a history of PCOS in your family, you may be at a higher risk of having PCOS and ovarian cysts.  Thankfully, there are many ways to manage PCOS with lifestyle modifications and medication.


Endometriosis occurs when uterine tissues grow outside the uterus. This can cause extreme pain and also negatively impact fertility. While endometriosis deals with the uterus, it can also impact other organs, including the ovaries.


If tissues attach to the ovaries, they can fill pockets with blood. This is a specific type of ovarian cyst called endometriomas. These cysts typically present problems during sex and menstruation. If you were recently diagnosed with endometriosis, learn about the symptoms to be aware of them if you start having any new signs of discomfort.

How To Help Manage Ovarian Cysts

Annual pelvic exams are important, especially if you’re concerned about ovarian cysts. If you believe you have ovarian cysts, you may receive an ultrasound.


If you’re on fertility medications and believe they may lead to ovarian cysts, the prescribing doctor may be able to provide you with some solutions or speak with you about other medication options.


It’s possible to receive a prescription for birth control pills or even surgery for significant ovarian cysts. In some cases,csurgeons may remove the entire ovary. In most cases, surgery is reserved for emergent and significant cases.


Significant changes in your menstrual cycle could  be a cause of cysts. Tracking your cycle can help you stay aware of changes that may end up causing cysts.

When To Speak to Your Doctor

If you suspect you may have an ovarian cyst, speak with your doctor. Ovarian cysts are typically considered an emergency with sudden abdominal and pelvic pain. Vomiting, fever, and severe discomfort can be symptoms of ovarian cysts and are a reason to seek immediate medical care.


Whether you think you may be at a higher risk for ovarian cysts or want to plan for possibilities in the future, speaking with your doctor is a good idea. They’ll be able to provide you with specialized information and make sure that you’re aware of all your choices.





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Ovariancysts: Overview - InformedHealth.org - NCBI Bookshelf

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5 Risk Factors for Ovarian Cysts: Serrano OBGyn

Endometriosis - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

Ovarian Cyst | Cedars-Sinai