An ovarian cyst – Etymologically, cyst is derived from the Latin word cystis and Greek word kystis which mean bag, pouch, and bladder. Cyst is generally used to refer to a fluid filled structure.
An ovarian cyst (also called cystic ovarian mass) therefore is a sac-like structure located within or on the surface of the ovary that is filled with liquid or semi-liquid material.
What are ovaries?
Ovaries are one of the important components of female reproductive system. Females typically have two ovaries each situated on either side of the uterus (womb).
Physiologically, ovaries have two main functions:
- They are the main source of female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) which are responsible for the development of female secondary characteristics; regulation of menstrual cycle and maintenance of pregnancy.
- Ovaries also release egg during the mid-period of a female’s monthly menstrual cycle through a process referred to as ovulation.
Who can develop ovarian cyst?
The incidence of ovarian cyst in the general population is difficult to estimate because most cases resolve unnoticed. Ovarian cyst can occur in females at any stage of life from neonatal period to post menopause. Statistically, ovarian cyst occurs in between 8%-18% of both premenopausal women and postmenopausal women (Am J Obstet Gynecol 2010). However, ovarian cyst is more common in women in the reproductive age group (premenopausal women) than postmenopausal women because majority of the ovarian cyst develop under the influence of ovarian hormones which are absent in postmenopausal women.
In Nigeria, about 1.5million cases occur per year (College of Medicine, University of Ibadan)
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What are the risk factors for ovarian cyst?
Some of the risk factors for developing ovarian cyst include:
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