Ovarian Cysts

Get Email Updates

Ovarian Cysts Guide

Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Simple or Complex: The Different Types of Ovarian Cysts

By Stacy Lloyd HERWriter
Rate This
Simple or Complex: The Different Types of Ovarian Cysts 0 5
Ovarian Cysts related image
Photo: Getty Images

Many women have ovarian cysts at some point. Most cause little or no discomfort and are harmless. The majority disappear without treatment within a few months. And their presence doesn’t automatically mean cancer.

Ovarian cysts are sacs filled with liquid, solid material or both. They’re found on the surface or inside the ovary. Ovarian cysts can be simple or complex.

Fluid-filled sacs are simple. The most common are graafian follicular and corpus luteum cysts.

Graafian follicle cysts are the most common of all ovarian cysts. They develop when an egg doesn’t release properly during ovulation. They grow quickly and last only a short time. Usually, they have no symptoms and vanish within a few months.

Corpus luteum cysts also develop when an egg fails to release. These tend to be larger and their thin wall may rupture. This releases fluid into the ovary. Considered to be relatively mild, there’s more chance of abdominal pain. This cyst usually reabsorbs into the system over the course of three periods.

A complex ovarian cyst consists of both fluid and solid contents. Dermoid, endometriomas and cystadenomas are examples.

Dermoid ovarian cysts are sacs filled with pieces of bone, teeth, hair and skin. They’re rarely cancerous, but can become large, causing the ovary to move out of place which increases the chance of pain.

Endometrial cysts contain thick, old blood. This is a condition where the lining of the womb starts growing in parts of the body other than the womb. Patches form on the ovaries, creating cysts which bleed during periods. There’s no outlet for the bleeding, causing the cyst to grow larger. That can cause abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, and headaches.

Another complex ovarian cyst is the cystadenoma cyst. This may be filled with a watery liquid or a mucous material. They can grow to be 12 inches or more in diameter. They don’t have symptoms, but can twist and rupture causing extreme pain and require emergency surgery.

One of the more painful types of ovarian cysts is the hemorrhagic cyst. They develop when a blood vessel ruptures and drains blood into the fluid already in the cyst.

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I was diagnosed with 1.8" ovarian cysts and was taking birth control pills per my doctor's suggestions. Weeks and months went by but my ovarian cyst was still there (although it was still the same size). Then I found this amazing resource ( http://the-natural-way.info/Best-Treatment-For-Ovarian-Cysts.php ). During the first week of following the steps I found there, I started feeling a lot better and the pain started fading away. It was magical. Nine weeks later, my doctor says that my cyst is gone! I cannot describe how wonderful I feel gazing at the ultrasound results.

December 17, 2014 - 12:55pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Dear could you please tell me those steps. Will b appreciated
Thank you

January 29, 2015 - 4:29am
EmpowHER Guest

My daughter was recently diagnosed with mildly complex ovarian cyst. Your article gave me useful information that I can bring to her OB/GYN for further evaluation and understanding. Thank you for describing several different kinds of cysts including if they precancerous or not.

July 23, 2014 - 9:48pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


3206 Health


1972 Lives


1849 Lives
16 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Have you joined the IUD trend? What kind of birth control do you use? :
View Results