Ovarian cysts are likely to develop in 7 per cent of women before they reach the menopause, although many people experience no symptoms and are therefore unaware of the cyst’s presence. An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on the surface, or sometimes inside, the ovaries. They tend to be small and clear up without treatment, but a decision whether to remove surgically will be informed by the symptoms suffered, the type and size of cyst, and the patient’s age.

Are ovarian cysts cancerous?

Most ovarian cysts are benign and the likelihood of yours being cancerous is slim. There are risk affecting factors such as whether you have had ovarian or breast cancer (or if there is a family history of the disease), whether you have had children, and whether you smoke. In pre-menopausal women, around one in 1,000 ovarian cysts are found to be cancerous; for women over the age of 50, the risk of the cyst being malignant is higher, with about three in 1,000 ovarian cysts found to be cancerous. Female gynaecologist Miss Amanda Tozer regularly treats women for ovarian cysts at her London clinic; where cysts show suspicious features, she will run a blood test to measure CA 125 level and perform an MRI scan to evaluate the cyst further.

How will ovarian cysts affect my fertility?

Ovarian cysts do not usually cause infertility issues and will, in most cases, go away without medical intervention. However, where surgery is required to remove a cyst, particularly one that is very large or has twisted, there is a risk of damaging the ovaries, or needing to remove one, thereby initiating a fertility problem. It is important that anyone undergoing keyhole surgery for removal of ovarian cysts understands the risks; to this end, during a consultation with London gynaecologist Amanda Tozer, you will discuss at length the potential complications of surgery and how these are managed.