Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Treatment depends on your age, the type and size of your cyst, and your symptoms. Your doctor may suggest:

  • Watchful waiting. In many cases you can wait and be re-examined to see if the cyst goes away on its own within a few months. This is typically an option — regardless of your age — if you have no symptoms and an ultrasound shows you have a small, fluid-filled cyst. Your doctor will likely recommend that you get follow-up pelvic ultrasounds at periodic intervals to see if your cyst has changed in size.
  • Birth control pills. Your doctor may recommend birth control pills to reduce the chance of new cysts developing in future menstrual cycles. Oral contraceptives offer the added benefit of significantly reducing your risk of ovarian cancer — the risk decreases the longer you take birth control pills.
  • Surgery. Your doctor may suggest removal of a cyst if it is large, doesn't look like a functional cyst, is growing, or persists through two or three menstrual cycles. Cysts that cause pain or other symptoms may be removed.

    Some cysts can be removed without removing the ovary in a procedure known as a cystectomy. In some circumstances, your doctor may suggest removing the affected ovary and leaving the other intact in a procedure known as oophorectomy.

    If a cystic mass is cancerous, however, your doctor will likely advise a hysterectomy to remove both ovaries and your uterus. Your doctor is also likely to recommend surgery when a cystic mass develops on the ovaries after menopause.

Jul. 29, 2011