"My Daughter Has An Ovarian Cyst"
Ovarian cysts are very common in girls, and there are many times throughout a young woman's life when cysts may occur. The good news is that many of these cysts are small and self-limiting. Nonetheless, having an ovarian cyst may be a source of anxiety as they can cause pain or other hormonal disruptions.
With the advances in prenatal ultrasounds, it’s now possible to pick up ovarian cysts in neonates. These cysts are usually due to maternal hormonal exposure in the womb. Cysts found prenatally should be followed up with another ultrasound sometime after delivery or ordered at the baby’s first visit. Because these cysts are frequently due to hormones, most cysts should resolve without intervention. Rarely, surgical intervention may be needed when ovarian cysts persist or grow larger.
In prepubertal children, it’s possible for small ovarian cysts to be present because the body is growing and preparing to be a young woman soon. However, some cysts at this age can be a sign that a girl’s body is developing too quickly. A visit with your doctor will help determine if there are signs of early puberty. If no signs of puberty are evident, it is important to ensure these cysts resolve. When ovarian cysts persist or grow larger, surgical intervention may be needed.
In adolescents and young women, ovarian cysts are expected each month. Once a young female begins regular periods, ovarian cysts will occur. For instance, all young females produce hormones from the brain that stimulate the ovaries to produce “follicles". These follicles are responsible for producing additional hormones to stimulate the uterus. Once a follicle reaches a certain size, young girls ovulate. Ovulation occurs when a small egg is released from the ovary. The shell left behind from this release helps to produce hormones to allow girls to have their periods. Again, surgery may be needed if ovarian cysts persist or grow larger.
So, your daughter may have an ovarian cyst for a variety of reasons, but in all cases, it’s important to have a discussion with her obstetrician. Resolving cysts when they form can alleviate a lot of stress for you and your daughter, and reduce the likelihood of further complications resulting from the cyst.