Ovarian cystadenomas (a cystic ovarian tumour)

A cystadenoma is a benign cystic ovarian tumour most commonly diagnosed when women are in their forties and fifties.

Cystadenomas can become cancerous, with between 5-25 per cent of these tumours becoming cancerous, depending on the type. If a cystadenoma turns cancerous, it is then referred to as a cystadenocarcinoma. Cystadenomas account for about 60 per cent of all ovarian tumours.

Cystadenomas come in two forms: filled with a watery liquid (known as a serous cystadenoma) or filled with mucous (known as a mucinous cystadenoma), with the latter more common in younger women.

The fluid-filled cystadenoma can become quite large. Most cystadenomas appear on just one ovary, but in up to 20 per cent of cases, these tumours can appear on both ovaries.

Symptoms of cystadenomas

  • Asymptomatic for the most part
  • Large tumours will cause pain due to pressure
  • Pelvic pain and possible ovarian damage if ruptures (mild or excruciating)
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities
  • Changes to the flow of menstrual blood
  • Bleeding between periods (metrorrhagia)
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Painful sex (dyspareunia)
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Painful exercise

Treatment for cystadenomas

Treatments depend on the type and severity of the cyst, with the usual treatment being either to leave it be to see what happens (it could rupture, and if small, cause no further issues) or surgical removal of the cyst (ovarian cystectomy). Your ovary says intact.

The partial removal of your ovary may be necessary in some cases.  

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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)