Most functional ovarian cysts cause no symptoms and go away without treatment in 1 to 2 months or after 1 to 2 menstrual periods. Some cysts grow as large as 4 in. (10.2 cm) in diameter before they shrink or rupture. A rupturing functional cyst can cause some temporary discomfort or pain.
What to think about
Functional ovarian cysts do not cause ovarian cancer. However, your health professional must rule out other possible types of ovarian cysts or growths before diagnosing a functional cyst. This may involve a reexamination in 6 or 8 weeks, a pelvic ultrasound, or possibly a laparoscopy procedure to closely examine the cyst and its ovary.
Cysts after menopause. After menopause, ovarian cancer risk increases. This is why all postmenopausal ovarian growths are carefully checked for signs of cancer. Some doctors will recommend removing the ovaries (oophorectomy) when any kind of cyst develops on an ovary after menopause. But the trend in medicine seems to be moving away from surgery for small and simple cysts in postmenopausal women. In the 5 years after menopause, some women will still have functional ovarian cysts occasionally. Some postmenopausal ovarian cysts, called unilocular cysts, which have thin walls and one compartment, are rarely linked to cancer.1