A woman's ovaries are reproductive organs, producing eggs, also called ova, and female sex hormones...
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A woman's ovaries are reproductive organs, producing eggs, also called ova, and female sex hormones. Sometimes a small, fluid-filled sac or cyst develops on an ovary. Although there are many different types, most are noncancerous, so-called functional cysts that occur as part of ovulation and the monthly menstrual cycle. Developing human eggs in an ovary are held in sacs called follicles. Each month, the most mature egg is released when its follicle ruptures. If a follicle starts to develop but does not release an egg, a cyst can form. Many women with an ovarian cyst have no symptoms, and the cyst goes away by itself without treatment. But sometimes cysts can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, menstrual irregularities, and other problems. A sonogram may be performed to evaluate an ovarian cyst; and it may need to be surgically removed if it does not look like a functional cyst, does not shrink on its own, or gets larger. In women of childbearing age, most cysts that need to be surgically removed are not cancerous. The risk of ovarian cancer is increased in women aged 50 to 70 years, so an ovarian cyst found after menopause is usually removed surgically.