A cyst is a fluid filled sac. It is normal to find cysts on the ovaries and most are as a result of the normal ovarian functioning (functional cysts). Occasionally these cysts will grow too big and may cause symptoms. If they are small, they usually disappear without treatment but if they are big or symptoms become severe, the cyst(s) may need to be removed.
Other types of cysts may develop on the ovary which are not part of the normal functioning of the ovary. Such benign cysts include endometriomas, cystadenomas and dermoid cysts. Rarely ovarian cysts can be cancerous.
A cyst may be detected on internal examination but will usually require a pelvic ultrasound scan to make a diagnosis. When a cyst does need to be removed this can usually be done using keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) which enables a much quicker recovery, has less impact on future fertility and helps to preserve normal ovarian tissue. Occasionally more major surgery may be required.