What are follicular
Follicular cysts are also known as benign ovarian cysts or functional cysts.
Essentially they’re fluid-filled pockets of tissue that can develop on or in your
ovaries. They commonly occur in women of reproductive age, as a result of
ovulation. It’s rare for prepubescent girls to develop follicular cysts. Postmenopausal
women don’t get them at all. Any cyst that occurs in a woman after menopause
needs to be evaluated.
Most follicular cysts are painless and harmless. They are not cancerous. They
often resolve on their own, within a few menstrual cycles. You may not even
notice you have a follicular cyst.
In rare cases, follicular cysts can lead to complications that require
are the symptoms of follicular cysts?
Most follicular cysts don’t cause any symptoms.
If you have a follicular cyst that becomes large or ruptures, you may
- pain in your lower abdomen
- pressure or bloating in your lower abdomen
- nausea or vomiting
- tenderness in your breasts
- changes in the length of your menstrual cycle
Seek medical treatment immediately if you feel sharp or sudden pain in your lower
abdomen, especially if it’s accompanied by nausea or fever. It may be a sign of
a ruptured follicular cyst or a more serious medical emergency. It’s important
to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.
causes follicular cysts?
Follicular cysts develop as the result of normal menstrual cycles. If you’re
a fertile woman of reproductive age, your ovaries develop cyst-like follicles
every month. These follicles produce the important hormones, estrogen and
progesterone. They also release an egg when you ovulate.
If a follicle doesn’t burst or release its egg, it can become a cyst. The
cyst can continue to grow and fill with fluid or blood.
What are the risk
factors for follicular cysts?
Follicular cysts are much more common among women of reproductive age than
You’re more likely to develop a follicular cyst if you:
- have had ovarian cysts in the past
- have irregular menstrual cycles
- were 11 years old or younger when you had your first
- use fertility drugs
- have hormone imbalances
- have excess body fat, especially around your torso
- have high levels of stress
also less likely to develop follicular cysts if you use oral contraceptives, or birth control pills. Sometimes
these drugs don’t allow your ovaries to create a follicle and ovulate. Without
a follicle, a follicular cyst can’t develop.
How are follicular cysts
Most follicular cysts are asymptomatic and clear up on their own, without
In some cases, your doctor may learn you have a follicular cyst during a
routine physical exam. If you’re of childbearing age, otherwise healthy, and
don’t exhibit any symptoms, your doctor will likely leave the cyst to resolve
on its own. They may monitor it during routine check-ups to ensure it doesn’t grow.
In some cases, they may also recommend a vaginal sonogram or other testing.
If you’re experiencing pain in your lower abdomen or other symptoms, your
doctor may conduct a pelvic examination to diagnose the cause. Depending on
your symptoms and medical history, they may also recommend an ultrasound, CT or
MRI scan, or other tests. It’s important for your doctor to make an accurate
diagnosis. The symptoms of a ruptured cyst are often similar to those of
appendicitis and several other conditions.
are follicular cysts treated?
If a follicular cyst is discovered, but it hasn’t caused any symptoms, your
doctor may recommend that it be left alone. Often times these cysts resolve on
their own. Your doctor may simply monitor it during routine check-ups. Although
you may be advised to get a pelvic ultrasound to make sure the cyst isn’t
If you develop a follicular cyst that becomes large enough to cause pain or
block the blood supply to your fallopian tubes or ovaries, your doctor may
recommend surgery. Surgery may also be recommend if you develop any type of cyst
after you’ve gone through menopause.
To help prevent future cysts, your doctor might prescribe contraceptives or
other treatments to manage your hormone levels.
Follicular cysts typically go away on their own, without treatment. This
usually occurs within a few months. Follicular cysts aren’t cancerous and
generally pose few dangers. Most are never even noticed or diagnosed.