Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs or pockets within or on the surface of an ovary. Women have two ovaries — each about the size and shape of an almond — located on each side of the uterus. Eggs (ova) develop and mature in the ovaries and are released in monthly cycles during your childbearing years.

Many women have ovarian cysts at some time during their lives. Most ovarian cysts present little or no discomfort and are harmless. The majority of ovarian cysts disappear without treatment within a few months.

However, ovarian cysts — especially those that have ruptured — sometimes produce serious symptoms. The best ways to protect your health are to know the symptoms that may signal a more significant problem, and to schedule regular pelvic examinations.

Jul. 29, 2011