Are Ovarian Cysts Dangerous?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

I have been told by the doctor that I have ovarian cysts, should I worry?

Doctor's response

Benign ovarian cysts can only rarely cause medical complications, for example, if they rupture.  Most women with benign ovarian cysts never would have symptoms, and would only find out about the cysts by coincidence during testing for other indications.  Typical ovarian cysts are formed by women who are ovulating, and therefore you could consider them to be 'normal', signaling functioning ovaries.  Removal of ovarian cysts that are felt to be benign is not an appropriate option unless the doctor is concerned that there is an additional more serious reason for removal of the ovaries.  For example, if the cyst is suspicious for cancer or other disease, surgery may be indicated.

Thank you for your question.

Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018