Ovarian Cysts | Diagnosis & Treatment

How are ovarian cysts diagnosed?

The first step in treating your daughter is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis. Because most ovarian cysts don’t cause symptoms and go away on their own, they may go completely unnoticed. If your child has pain or irregular periods, her doctor may recommend several tests which may include one or more of the following tests:

  • Pelvic ultrasound: This imaging procedure uses sound waves to make a picture of your child's ovaries, uterus and bladder. A full bladder may be necessary for the test. If the ultrasound detects a cyst, your child's doctor will likely repeat the ultrasound in two to eight weeks to make sure it is shrinking. If the ultrasound shows a cyst filled with clear fluid it is unlikely a tumor; if it shows debris in the cyst fluid or solid parts, your child's doctor will likely recommend further testing.
  • Pregnancy test: In pregnancy, harmless cysts often form when the ruptured follicle releases the egg, reseals itself and fills with fluid.
  • Biopsy: The mass is removed with great care not to spill the contents of the mass if there is a concern for malignancy.
  • Urine and blood tests
  • CT scan

What are the treatment options for an ovarian cyst?

Your child's physician will determine a specific course of treatment based on several factors, including your child's age, overall health and medical history. If your daughter has been diagnosed with an ovarian cyst, her treatment may include:

  • Watchful waiting: Most ovarian cysts go away without any treatment.
  • Draining: If your daughter has a cyst bigger than two inches across, it may need to be drained with a needle to keep it from twisting and pinching off the ovary's blood supply.
  • Removal: Sometimes an ovarian cyst may not go away and needs to be removed. In this case, a surgeon would remove the cyst while leaving the rest of the ovary in place.