Follicular ovarian cysts

A follicular cyst is a type of benign ovarian cyst that develops from a follicle that is meant to burst out an egg at ovulation, but instead does not burst, and fills with fluid. A follicular cyst is known as a functional ovarian cyst.

Follicular cysts most commonly develop in ovulating women, with postmenopausal women never getting follicular cysts. Most follicular ovarian cysts are painless and harmless, and resolve on their own.

Follicular cysts develop more often in women who have had ovarian cysts previously, have irregular periods, got their periods at an early age (age 11 or younger), use fertility drugs, have excess body fat around the torso, have high stress levels, and have hormone imbalances.

Women who are on the pill have less follicular cysts, since the pill stops ovulation.

Symptoms of a follicular ovarian cysts

  • No symptoms at all
  • If a follicular cyst becomes very large, it can rupture, causing sharp pain, pressure, nausea, breast tenderness, menstrual cycle disturbances

Follicular cyst treatments

Treatments include leaving the follicular ovarian cyst completely alone to resolve on its own in several weeks. Monitoring will occur.

Any follicular ovarian cyst that is large enough to cause symptoms will likely be removed surgically.

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)