If you are wondering what is a follicular cyst you've come to the right page. A very common gynecological
condition, it is one of several types of cysts on ovaries. Follicular cysts are
the most likely type of ovarian cyst a woman will get.
Millions of women each year will develop follicular cysts on ovaries. Women from all walks of life, genetic
backgrounds and parts of the world will be affected by this condition. Most women who develop follicular cysts are
in their childbearing years but some may be post-menopausal or pre-puberty.
Nearly all follicular cysts are benign (non-cancerous). Cancer is more likely to occur in women who are past
menopause (over 50). Cigarette smoking has been linked to an increase in functional cysts, which includes
follicular and corpus luteum types.
Usually filled with only fluids and no solid mass this kind of cyst is a simple ovarian cyst. Other names for it
include follicular ovarian cyst, ovarian follicular cyst and follicular cyst of ovary. Like a corpus luteum cyst, a follicular cyst is considered a functional cyst because it
arises from the function of ovulation.
Follicular Cyst Development
A follicular cyst may develop when an ovary follicle (egg sac) does not release the egg normally at the end of
ovulation. This is usually caused by a lack of the hormone LH (luteinizing hormone) that triggers the opening of
the follicle. The follicle instead stays sealed up and becomes a cyst that can last for a few weeks to a several
months before it shrinks and disappears normally. In some instances the cyst may not go away on its own and will
require treatment. Follicular cysts can also arise when a follicle stops growing and shrinks or deflates
Follicular cysts start out the size of a pea and don't usually grow much larger than a two to four inches in
diameter. If a cyst expands too fast however, it may stretch the thin wall surrounding its contents. In addition to
causing pain, this can result in a ruptured follicular cyst. In some extreme cases the cyst can bleed excessively,
becoming a hemorrhagic follicular cyst.
A ruptured ovarian cyst can be a serious medical emergency that can
result in infection, hemorrhaging, and adhesions. If you have symptoms such as fever, vomiting, severe pain or
excessive bleeding get help right away.
Follicular Cyst Symptoms
Symptoms are like those of ovarian cyst symptoms in general. Ovarian cancer symptoms are also be similar and should be considered. Not all
women will have the same symptoms, but in general pain, abdominal pressure, and irregular bleeding are typical of
this condition. Many women will have no symptoms and find out they have a follicular cyst during a routine pelvic
Pain is the most common symptom with follicular cysts. Many things can trigger pain including the cyst expanding
too fast, it twisting and cutting off its own blood supply, and bleeding or rupturing of the cyst. Sharp, shooting
pain on one side of the body may indicate on which ovary the cyst is located. Many women report pain occurring
about halfway into their menstrual cycle around the time of ovulation.
Abdominal bloating and cramping is another common symptom. Pressure or feeling of fullness may result from the
cyst pressing upon organs in the pelvis. Some women feel nausea from the abdominal pressure and intense pain caused
by a follicular cyst.
Irregular bleeding is a sign of many ovarian cysts. Heavy menstrual flow is typical, as is spotting between
periods. Some women experience a delayed cycle or one that is more painful than usual.
Follicular Cyst Treatment
Follicular cysts are generally the easiest types of cysts on ovaries to treat and the most likely to resolve
successfully. Treatment choices take into account a woman's age, the size and number of cysts, and the growth of
the cyst as interpreted from an ultrasound.
Diagnosis usually involves an ultrasound and a pelvic exam. Ultrasound will allow the detection of most cysts
except when they are too small to be seen. A pelvic exam helps in the diagnosis by locating the cyst as a lump or
enlargement on the ovary.
Surgery is not usually necessary unless the cyst is especially large or causing severe symptoms like sharp pain
or excessive bleeding. When surgery is advised, the primary concern should be to preserve a woman's reproductive
organs as much as possible for childbearing.
Contrary to what some may believe, birth control pills are not an effective follicular cyst treatment. While they may help prevent the development of future cysts
on ovaries, they do nothing to make an existing one go away.