Ovarian Mass/Cyst

Also known as: Ovarian cyst, pelvic mass

What is an ovarian mass?

The ovaries are the sex organs that produce female hormones, and store and release eggs between puberty and menopause. An ovarian mass may be a cyst or a tumor growth (which may be non-cancerous i.e. benign, or cancerous) that develops in one or both of a girl’s/woman’s ovaries. Ovarian cysts are usually non-cancerous fluid filled sacs that frequently disappear on their own; in young girls < 8 years of age, most tumors found are also benign.


What causes ovarian mass?

As the ovaries in women’s bodies produce eggs, they develop a follicle around them, which is a fluid-filled sac that protects the egg. Ordinarily, this sac breaks open and releases the egg and fluid; if it does not it can become an ovarian mass or ovarian cyst. Taking fertility drugs may increase the risk of multiple ovarian cysts.
Ovarian tumors are less common than cysts and while their cause is unknown, inherited defects and genetic/chromosomal abnormalities may play a role.


What are the symptoms of ovarian mass? 

Many ovarian masses produce no symptoms. Others present with abdominal pain (back ache, or pain during intercourse or bowel movements) nausea/vomiting, bloating, trouble urinating or with bowel movements, menstrual irregularities and abnormal bleeding, among other symptoms.


What are ovarian mass care options?

Treatment depends on its cause, and symptoms. For ovarian masses that do not cause symptoms, only careful monitoring is required. Others may require surgery for removal. If the mass is cancerous, additional treatments may be needed.  

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:16:27 PM

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