Ovarian Cyst Size, Its Symptoms, and Treatments

You went to the doctor for a normal health checkup. In the ultrasound, they found some growth on your ovaries. Now till the next visit to your doctor, you are all worried about what it could be. Is the growth too big to cause an effect on the surrounding organs? Will it cause fertility issues? What exactly is that growth?

When a fluid accumulates within a membrane in or on your ovaries, it forms an ovarian cyst. It is similar to a blister. Based on the size and some other factors there are different types of cysts. The symptoms and effects also vary according to it.

This topic gives insights into the symptoms, what size of the cyst is normal and what will be harmful. Also, it talks about the effects on your fertility, and what are the possible treatments available. Some growths can cause a threat to your life or harm your reproductive organs. Keep reading to identify when ovarian cyst can become a concern.

What is an ovarian cyst?

Fluid-filled sacs formed in or outside the ovaries is an ovarian cysts. They usually form around the time of ovulation. Most of the cysts are benign, which is non-cancerous. It is different from abscesses as it does not contain pus. Ovarian cyst size can range from less than 1 cm to greater than 10 cm. It can even be as big as over 15 cm.

Types of ovarian cysts and sizes

There are various types of ovarian cysts. The most common one is the functional or ovulatory cyst. Functional cysts further have two types. These are the follicle and the corpus luteum cysts. Some of the rare types are endometriomas, dermoids, and cystadenomas. Malignant or cancerous cysts are the rarest type. This is more common in older women.

  • Functional Cysts -Functional cysts may come with the menstrual cycle. The size of the functional cyst can vary between 2 to 5 cm. However, some may reach sizes up to 8 to 12 cm. They have no symptoms. Generally, they do not need any treatment and get cured on their own. The two types of functional cysts are: -
  • Follicle cysts-The follicle is a tiny sac inside which the egg grows. Every month the follicle breaks open and releases the egg. If it does not do so it continues to grow into a cyst. This type of cyst goes away within three months or so.
  • Corpus luteum cysts-The ovaries produce eggs alternatively every month. So, when the other empty follicle sac instead off shrinking gets sealed and starts to collect fluid it becomes a corpus luteum cyst. These cysts can grow up to 10 cm.
  • Endometriomas -These are the cysts caused by endometriosis. Endometriosis happens when the lining that is usually inside the uterus grows outside it. these tissues can get attached to the ovaries and result in cysts. Almost 7 out of 10 women with endometriosis may have this ovarian cyst.
  • Dermoid cysts-it is also called teratomas. This type of cyst is also a type of ovarian tumour. These are quite benign. They are present from birth and grow during the reproductive years. The growth rate of these cysts is around 0.18 cm. Some studies have reported that it can grow rapidly up to 0.8 or 2.5 cm per year. The largest one reported to date is over 15 cm in diameter. This type can cause complications if the cyst’s diameter increases.
  • Cystadenomas-These are non-cancerous growth on the surface of the ovaries. They are filled with either watery or mucus-like liquid. They are often mistaken as functional cysts initially. These cysts keep on getting bigger rapidly. They may initially be around 1 to 3 cm but later some may even become as big as a football.

We can easily detect something is wrong when the cyst is big. But what about the cases where they are around 3 to 4 cm. Keep an eye out for these symptoms. Immediately contact your healthcare provider if you face any of these symptoms.

Symptoms of ovarian cyst

Small ovarian cysts, often, do not produce symptoms. However, it can cause complications sometimes. Some common symptoms include: -

  • Pain on one side of the lower abdomen either dull or sharp
  • Feeling of pressure in the lower belly
  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Pain in the lower back or thighs
  • Pain during sex
  • Weight gain
  • Irregular periods
  • Feeling to urinate frequently

When the cysts rupture it can cause sharp stinging pains in the abdomen area. In some cases, torsion can cut off the blood supply to the ovaries. These can have a negative impact on your health and fertility. Seek a doctor’s guidance immediately if you experience any of these symptoms: -

  • Pain with fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden and severe pain in the abdomen
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Unexpected heavy bleeding

These are the symptoms. Many cysts go away on their own. However, treatment is needed for cysts that are larger in size and does not shrink with time. You might be wondering how to shrink ovarian cysts naturally. There is no natural treatment for this. Either it gets cured on its own or medicinal or surgical intervention is required.

What is the treatment for ovarian cysts?

If this was your first diagnosis, the doctor will recommend a period of watchful waiting. In most cases, the cysts go away after 2 to 3 menstrual cycles. In case of any discomfort during the watching period, your doctor may suggest some over-the-counter medicines. It includes: -

  • Acetaminophen or Tylenol
  • Ibuprofen or Advil
  • Naproxen or Aleve

If the cyst is larger, i.e., more than 5 cm, and causing any pain or effect on the surrounding organs, the treatment involves surgery or removal of the entire ovary. Other symptoms when surgery is considered necessary are: -

  • Continuing and rapid growth of the cyst
  • Does not go away on its own even after 2 to 3 menstrual cycles
  • Causes severe pain
  • Appears abnormal or is cancerous

Surgery is done in either of the two ways depending upon the circumstances:

  • Laparoscopy - This is a very minimally invasive procedure. A small incision is made in your pelvic area and the cyst is removed. This surgery works best for small and non-cancerous cysts.
  • Laparotomy - This method is chosen when the cyst size is large and potentially can be cancerous. The incision made is large and the cyst is removed. The cyst is then tested for cancer. If it is found positive, then there may arise the need to remove the entire ovary and surrounding tissues.

If it requires the removal of the entire ovary, it would negate your chances of getting pregnant. Do ovarian cysts in general can cause infertility? Will you not be able to conceive in any other way? Let us find out.

How does an ovarian cyst affect pregnancy?

Ovarian cyst on their own does not affect your chances of conceiving. If it is paired with any underlying disease such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) then it can cause infertility. Also, if the treatment requires medications like hormonal medicines. Further, surgical removal of the ovary or the uterus will remove the chances of getting pregnant.

Then, how can you get pregnant? You do not have to worry about conceiving. There are various methods of Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ARTs) through which you can get pregnant. It includes in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), egg-freezing, and even surrogacy. The type of ART you go for will depend on your physical and reproductive health at that time.


To conclude it all, ovarian cyst sizes vary. The size of the cyst has a huge impact on its type, effects, and treatment. Larger cysts can cause many complications as compared to smaller ones. In fact, smaller cysts go away on their own most of the time. The larger cysts will need surgical treatments that can even affect your chances of getting pregnant. We got you covered with our best and most affordable ARTs.

In case of any further query or guidance about the right ovarian cyst size and related infertility issues and treatment feel free to contact Medicover Fertility at +917862800700

Frequently asked questions

Is a 4 cm ovarian cyst big?
What size ovarian cyst is too big?
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