We create new possibilities for life

WhatsApp Appointment

+65 8111 3777

Ovarian Cysts

  • What is an ovarian cyst?

    Cysts in the ovary

    Every female reproductive system has an ovary on each side of her body. Each ovary produces an ovum that, when released, travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus and becomes fertilised by a sperm.

    An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac formed in the ovary. It usually forms during ovulation. Ovulation transpires when the woman’s ovary releases an egg each month. Many women don't have ovarian cyst symptoms. The cysts are usually harmless.

    Functional cyst

    A functional ovarian cyst is a sac that holds a maturing egg. It forms on the surface of a woman's ovary during or after ovulation and goes away after the egg is released. Yet if the ovary does not release an egg, or if the sac closes up after the egg is released, the sac can swell up with fluid.

    Functional ovarian cysts are not the same as ovarian growths caused by other problems, such as cancer. Most of these cysts are harmless, without symptoms, and they go away without treatment. But if a cyst becomes large, it can twist, rupture, or bleed. A ruptured ovarian cyst can be very painful.

    There are 2 types of functional cysts:

    • Follicular cyst
      Around the midpoint of a woman’s menstrual cycle, an egg bursts out of its sac or follicle and travels down the fallopian tube. Follicular cyst occurs when the follicle does not release an egg, and that sac swells up with fluid.
    • Corpus luteum cyst or luteal cyst
      This occurs when the sac releases an egg and then reseals and fills with fluid.

    What types of cysts are harmful?

    As functional cysts rarely cause pain or harm and often disappear on their own within 2 – 3 menstrual cycles, there are other types of cysts that are not related to the normal function of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Some ovarian cysts become large, which can also make them rupture. Some examples are:

    • Dermoid cyst
      Also called teratoma, dermoid cyst can contain tissue, such as hair, skin, or teeth because it forms from embryonic cells. It is rarely cancerous but can become large and cause the ovary to move out of position, which increases the chance of ovarian torsion or the painful twisting of the ovary. Ovarian torsion may result, too, in decreasing or stopping blood flow to the ovary.
    • Cystadenoma
      This cyst develops on the surface of an ovary and might be filled with a watery or a mucous material. Like a dermoid cyst, cystadenoma may also grow large and cause the ovary to move out of position, causing ovarian torsion.
    • Endometrioma
      Also known as a chocolate cyst, this cyst develops when uterine endometrial cells grow outside a woman’s uterus or what is called endometriosis. Some of the tissues can attach to the ovary and form a growth.
    • Hormonal problems
      Hormonal problems or drugs used to help a woman ovulate can cause functional cysts.
    • Endometriosis
      A woman with endometriosis can develop a cyst called endometrioma. The endometriosis tissue may attach to her ovary and form growth. This cyst can be painful during sexual intercourse and a woman’s period. For more information, download our brochure ‘Painful Periods? It Could be Endometriosis’.
    • Pregnancy
      To help support the pregnancy until the placenta forms, an ovarian cyst develops in early pregnancy. Though sometimes even until later in the child-bearing period, the cyst stays. It usually needs to be removed.
    • Severe pelvic infections
      Infections may spread to the fallopian tubes and ovaries, and cause cysts to form.
  • Symptoms of an abnormal cyst

    If a cyst does cause symptoms, a woman may have pressure, bloating, swelling, or pain in the lower abdomen on the side of the cyst. This ovarian cyst pain may be sharp or dull and may come and go.

    Symptoms of a ruptured cyst and large cyst

    When a cyst ruptures, it can cause pain. The pain from a ruptured ovarian cyst can be severe and sudden.

    Less common symptoms include:

    • Pelvic pain
    • Dull ache in the lower back and thighs
    • Problems emptying the bladder or bowel completely
    • Pain during sex
    • Unexplained weight gain
    • Pain during your period
    • Unusual vaginal bleeding
    • Breast tenderness
    • Needing to urinate more often
  • The doctor can detect an ovarian cyst during a routine pelvic examination. He may notice swelling on one of the patient’s ovaries and order an ultrasound test to confirm the presence of a cyst and determine its size, location, shape, and composition.

    Some imaging tools used to diagnose ovarian cysts are:

  • Some ovarian cyst treatments or surgeries that a doctor can recommend are:

    • Laparoscopy
      If the cyst is small and results from an imaging test ruled out cancer, the doctor can perform an ovarian cyst surgery called laparoscopy to remove the cyst. This involves the doctor making a tiny incision near the navel and inserting a small instrument into the abdomen to remove the cyst.
    • Laparotomy
      If a woman has a large cyst, the doctor can surgically remove the cyst through a large incision in the abdomen. There will be an immediate biopsy, and if the doctor determines that the cyst is cancerous, he can perform a hysterectomy to remove the ovaries and uterus.
    • Ovarian cystectomy
      This type of ovarian cyst removal preserves the ovary. This treatment is recommended for patients who want to preserve their fertility.

    Make an Appointment Make an Enquiry

  • As you seek ovarian cyst treatment, it is important to remain cautious of possible complications that may arise from ovarian cysts. They include:

    Ovarian torsion

    Cysts that enlarge can cause the ovary to move, increasing the chance of painful twisting of the ovary.


    A ruptured ovarian cyst can cause severe pain and internal bleeding. Larger cysts have a greater risk of rupture. Vigorous activity affecting the pelvis may also increase the risk.


    Cystic ovarian masses that develop after menopause are possibly cancerous. For this, regular pelvic exams are important.

  • Our Specialists

    No specialist(s) found.