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Ovarian cysts are very common and are frequently found in infertile women. Large cysts (more than 5 cm in size) need to be monitored more carefully, especially if the ultrasound scan shows that there is solid tissue within the cyst.
Ovarian cysts are very common and are frequently found in infertile women. However, there are of many types and cause considerable confusion - for both patients and doctors! First, you need to understand that even a normal ovary will always have cysts !
Can the cyst be more sinister ? Could it be an ovarian cancer, for example ?
This can be a possibility, but the good news is that the chances are very low. For most women, the vast majority of cysts are benign. However, the fear of cancer causes some gynecologists to become trigger happy and perform a laparoscopy to find out what's going on and to remove it. Unfortunately, this unnecessary surgery often reduces the patient's fertility by reducing her ovarian reserve, since normal ovarian tissue is also sacrificed during the surgery.
When should you worry about the cyst being a serious problem ?
Large cysts ( more than 5 cm in size) need to be monitored more carefully; especially if the ultrasound scan shows that there is solid tissue within the cyst ( the technical word for this kind of cyst is a complex cyst). Some doctors will use blood tests called tumour markers such as CA-125, to help find out the type of the cyst.
These levels are increased in patients with some kinds of ovarian cancer, but unfortunately these tests are rarely helpful, because elevated levels can be found in a wide variety of other conditions as well. For most simple ovarian cysts, watchful waiting is the best approach.