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Understanding the Causes of Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are extremely common. Many women get one or more each month during the ovulation phase of their menstrual cycle — they often appear and then go away on their own without you knowing it. Unless multiple cysts form or a cyst gets much larger, you may not even realize it was ever there. 

Dr. Daniel Kushner is a compassionate, highly experienced OB/GYN with offices in White Plains and Queens, New York. Along with his skilled and welcoming staff, Dr. Kushner provides a full range of obstetric and gynecological services to support your health. He has years of experience diagnosing and providing effective treatments for ovarian cysts

What are ovarian cysts?

Ovarian cysts are small sacs filled with fluid that can appear in or on your ovaries. Your ovaries are tiny glands that are part of your reproductive system. During your childbearing years, your ovaries develop and then release eggs during your monthly cycle, a process called ovulation.

Each egg grows inside a tiny sac that’s called a follicle. When the egg is mature, the sac breaks open, releasing the egg. When there’s a problem that causes the follicle to not open properly, it can continue to grow into a cyst. Typically, these cysts don’t cause symptoms or problems, and they go away within a few months.

When the follicle breaks down correctly, it forms a mass called the corpeus luteum. This mass produces hormones used in the next menstrual cycle. However, sometimes the follicle releases the egg but doesn’t break down, instead turning into a cyst. Usually this type of cyst, known as a corpus luteum cyst, goes away on its own after a few weeks.  

These are the most common types of cysts. They’re not harmful, and they generally go away on their own without you even knowing they were ever there. However, if multiple cysts form or if the cysts grow larger, they can cause bothersome symptoms and medical problems. 

The causes of troublesome ovarian cysts

Though most common types of cysts appear and disappear without issue, sometimes cysts can grow larger, appear in groups of multiple cysts, or rupture, causing problems. These may be caused by:


In the early stage of pregnancy, a cyst typically develops to support the embryo until the placenta has fully formed. Sometimes this cyst doesn’t go away after its job is done, and it may need to be surgically removed. 

Hormonal fluctuations

Abnormal levels of hormones may contribute to the development of problematic cysts that might require treatment. Fertility drugs can also cause cysts to develop.

Pelvic infections

Infections in your pelvic region can contribute to the development of cysts. These cysts may cause symptoms and require treatment.


Endometriosis is a condition that causes uterine tissue to grow in areas outside the uterus. This condition can cause the development of painful cysts that are called endometriomas. 

Getting treatment for problematic ovarian cysts

Most cysts disappear on their own. Those that don’t can sometimes cause pelvic pain, breast tenderness, bloating, unexplained weight gain, painful intercourse, vaginal bleeding, and even problems with fertility. If you experience any such symptoms, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor to ensure you get appropriate treatment. 

If you have concerns about ovarian cysts or if you’re experiencing any troublesome symptoms, call one of our convenient offices to make an appointment. You can also use our online booking system

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