The most common cysts are called functional cysts, and include an enlarged follicular ovarian cyst or corpus luteum cysts. These cysts will generally resolve within three months naturally, and generally require little treatment beyond oral contraceptive pills. A cyst that does not resolve naturally in young women may incldue a “dermoid cysts”.
The second most common cyst in reproductive-aged women, which may require reproductive minimally invasive surgery, is “endometriomas” or a cyst formed in the ovaries that contain endometriosis. If these cysts are accompanied with infertility or pelvic pain, minimally invasive removal should be considered if the cysts are greater than three cm and the patient has had no prior surgery. Other common benign (non-cancerous) ovarian cysts include mucinous, serous and endometriod cystadenomas.
Ultrasound is the most preferred tool used to detect a concerning or malignant cyst, but there is no definitive test. Complex appearance and blood flow patterns within the cyst are the best way to predict a possible malignancy along with several blood “tumor” markers. While an ovarian cancer in a young, reproductive-aged woman is a very serious concern, it is important to realize that malignant cysts in this population are very rare.