Common in women of reproductive age and often symptom-free, an ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that has developed on the ovary. They are usually harmless and will often clear within a few months; some women will not even know they have had an ovarian cyst. If the cyst is very large or has split, it can cause problems including pelvic pain and bloating, and may affect your bowel and urinary function.

Women presenting at London female gynaecologist Miss Amanda Tozer’s clinic will undergo a pelvic ultrasound during which ovarian cysts may be diagnosed. Very occasionally a cyst will display suspicious features; in these cases, an MRI scan will be performed and a blood test taken for CA 125 level.

Can I just leave ovarian cysts?

Depending on the nature of the ovarian cyst, it may be appropriate not to intervene at all; simple and haemorrhagic cysts (particularly if they are no larger than 5cm) would fall into this category. In post-menopausal women, where the risk of ovarian cancer is slightly higher, a year of regular ultrasound scans and blood tests may be recommended in order to monitor the cyst. Endometriotic and dermoid cysts do, however, necessitate being removed surgically as they will not resolve themselves. This will usually be done by keyhole surgery.

Will ovarian cysts affect my fertility?

In some cases, ovarian cysts may make it harder for you to conceive but they do not usually prevent pregnancy. Indeed, sometimes it is that difficulty in getting pregnant that impels couples to consult fertility experts such as Amanda Tozer for further investigation – and here cysts are diagnosed. During treatment, your surgeon will aim to keep your ovaries intact, preserving your fertility.

Before proceeding with any treatment at her clinic in London’s Harley Street, Miss Tozer will discuss the impact your individual procedure could have on your fertility and ensure you understand what is involved.