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What are the types of Ovarian Cysts?

Menstruation items, tampons, pads
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An ovarian cyst is a common medical problem in women and usually do not cause symptoms. They can be divided into 2 main categories – functional cysts and pathological cysts.

Functional Cysts

Functional cysts are the most common type of ovarian cyst, which includes follicular cysts and luteal cysts.¹ They form as part of the menstrual cycle and are pretty much harmless most of the time.

These functional cysts usually disappear on their own within a few menstrual cycles. However, they can sometimes burst and cause internal bleeding and pain.¹

There are 2 types of functional cysts:

  • Follicular cyst forms when an egg is not released from the follicle, a tiny structure inside the ovary, and it swells up with fluid.

  • Luteal cysts, on the other hand, are less common compared to follicular cysts. They occur when the follicle develops into a corpus luteum after the female egg is released, and continue to accumulate fluid.

Pathological Cysts

Pathological cysts are the really bad type of cysts you do not want growing inside you as they can be cancerous. These cysts are not related to the menstrual cycle and are caused by abnormal cell growth.

Pathological cysts can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).² Benign tumours are more common in young females, but malignant tumours are unfortunately more frequent in elderly females.²

There are several types of pathological cysts:

  • Dermoid cysts are the most common type of pathological cysts experienced by younger women. They can grow up to 15 cm in diameter and will need to be removed surgically, but are rarely cancerous.¹ Dermoid cysts are formed from many different kinds of cells that are used to create various parts of the human body, such as hair, teeth and bones etc. Imagine combining all that into a ‘Frankenstein lump’ on your organ. P.S. It is not a pretty sight so you may want to think twice before doing an image search.

  • Cystadenomas develop on the surface of an ovary and may be filled with a watery or a mucous material.¹ A mucinous cystadenoma can grow into a large size which causes pressure symptoms on the bladders and bowels. This usually results in frequent urination and indigestion problems. On the other hand, fluid-filled cystadenomas do not usually grow very large but may cause symptoms if they burst.

  • Endometriomas develop as a result of a medical condition in which cells that line the inside of the uterus grow outside of the uterus.¹ They cause inflammation which can lead to symptoms especially during female menstruation. Endometriomas can also make it harder for a woman to get pregnant.

  • Ovarian cancer is occasionally a form of ovarian cyst which requires prompt medical treatment.¹ It is more common in women who have a family history of ovarian or related cancers.³ The treatment of ovarian cancers usually involves chemotherapy or surgery.


  • There are many types of ovarian cysts, thus it is necessary to conduct health scans to determine the nature of it.

  • Functional cysts are usually harmless but pathological cysts can be cancerous.

  • It is important to obtain the right diagnosis in order to determine the best course of treatment.

This health article is brought to you by Miraco Nutripharm. With clinically proven women’s probiotic Pro-Uro™ as our key product, we believe in sharing about common health topics relevant to women. Look out for our next article on Birth Control.


1. Mobeen S, Apostol R. Ovarian Cyst. [Updated 2021 Jun 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan. Available from:

2. Abduljabbar HS, Bukhari YA, Al Hachim EG et al. Review of 244 cases of ovarian cysts. Saudi Med J. 2015;36(7):834-838.

3. Muto MG. Patient education: Ovarian cysts (Beyond the Basics). In: UpToDate, Post TW (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA, 2021.

Disclaimer: The article content is intended for informational or educational purposes only, and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. The disclaimer also provides that no warranties are given in relation to the medical information supplied in the article, and that no liability will accrue to Miraco Nutripharm Pte Ltd or any affiliated authors in the event that a user suffers loss as a result of reliance upon the information.

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