The human body is an amazing machine, filled with complex organs and systems. One of the most fascinating systems is found in women: the female reproductive system. Understanding exactly how this amazing organ works can help explain a simple ovarian cyst.
This type of mass is often detected during a woman’s reproductive cycle but isn’t necessarily a cause for undue concern. In fact, the way that the reproductive system cycles explains most of these instances of ovarian cysts.
How the Reproductive System Works
The reproductive system of a woman is comprised of three main components: the ovaries, the fallopian tube and the uterus; there are two ovaries and two fallopian tubes, each attached to either side of a woman’s uterus.
Each month, one of the ovaries alternates the job of creating a matured egg, capable of developing into a fetus. The ovarian follicle swells as the egg develops.
At the right time each month, this cyst-like mass bursts, releasing the egg into the woman’s fallopian tube. The follicle then becomes another cyst-like body, known as a corpus luteum. It then secretes the hormones necessary to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
As the egg travels through the fallopian tube, fertilization is possible. The egg, either fertilized or not, travels to the uterus, where it either implants or is shed in menstruation.
At any time during this process, there is some potential for a simple cyst to form. A simple cyst is also known as a functional cyst. This is because these masses occur as a normal part of the fertility cycle.
While a woman’s body is supposed to cycle perfectly through every month, there are occasional malfunctions. If the ovarian follicle does not release the egg, the cyst remains and may even continue to grow for a time. This can happen without any indications or symptoms. There may, however, be some pain and discomfort, especially if the simple ovarian cyst bursts.
A simple cyst can also become apparent if the corpus luteum does not dissolve. If pregnancy does not occur, the corpus luteum should return to its normal state, but that doesn’t always happen as designed. This can also create a cyst that can last between one and three menstrual cycles.
Risks and Treatments
In most cases, a simple cyst is completely harmless. Even if your doctor does notice that there appears to be a mass in the ovarian area, they will likely take a hands-off approach.
Treatment and surgery can be invasive and the ovarian cyst will likely fade on its own as your body adjusts and corrects the issue. A simple cyst is most often filled with fluid, so cancer is usually not a concern. There is some risk associated with having a cyst on your ovary.
If you have a hormonal condition that causes your body to regularly develop excessive ovarian cysts, then it may be extremely difficult to become pregnant.
When a simple ovarian cyst is created, an egg may not be released and pregnancy will not be possible. If this happens frequently, then your fertility is greatly reduced.
In most cases, a simple ovarian cyst will occur without even being detected. These are usually normal masses that may fade on their own. If you find yourself regularly missing periods, you could have an underlying condition that is causing you to develop functional or simple cysts.
Testing can be done to determine if this is the issue, with lifestyle changes, diet and natural remedies used to prevent further issues.