Health & Fitness

What Size Of Ovarian Cyst Is Dangerous? Identifying Risks!

An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac in one or both of the ovaries in the female body. There are two functional ovarian cysts – ...

by Kendra Reed

What Size Of Ovarian Cyst Is Dangerous? Identifying Risks!

An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac in one or both of the ovaries in the female body. There are two functional ovarian cysts – Follicle cysts and Corpus luteum cysts. They are common in women during pregnancy or before menopause. It can occur during menstrual cycles and normally does not cause any problems. However, if it stays and gets bigger it is a cause of concern. In rare cases, it can also be indicative of cancer growth. 

It is important to verify that the cyst is not of any concern. Consultations with a licensed gynecologist are required for this. The gynecologist can diagnose and plan a safe and effective treatment. It includes routine medicines that should be taken consistently over some time. On the contrary, If the cyst grows larger, 5 to 10 centimeters in size, and causes difficulties, it requires a surgical procedure to remove it.

We will talk about ovarian cysts and their implications in the upcoming sections. Keep on reading.

What is Ovarian Cysts?

The ovarian cysts are common growths found in one or both ovaries. There are several types of them and they are pretty much harmless. Ovarian cysts are linked with the menstrual cycle and do not require any treatment.

However, if it outgrows it may require medical intervention. Ovulation is the primary cause of ovarian cysts. It can also be due to abnormal cell production, pelvic inflammatory disease, and endometriosis. The symptoms range from pelvic pain to a feeling of dull ache in the lower abdomen.

The diagnosis of the ovarian cyst is done through an imaging test. The gynecologist can then prescribe medications or recommend a surgical procedure depending on the severity of the condition. 

Dangerous Sizes of Ovarian Cysts

Size and Classification of Ovarian Cysts

As mentioned, the ovarian cysts are normally smaller in size and go away on their own. However, if it stays for long and keeps growing it can cause varied problems. If the ovarian cyst has an abnormal growth which is 10 centimeters or more it needs to be removed. These cysts are classified into functional and non-functional cysts. Follicular cysts and Corpus luteal cysts are the functional ones. The non-functional cysts are Dermoid, Cystadenoma, and Endometrioma

Functional Cysts

Follicular cysts: Follicular cysts are not a cause of concern as they are small sacs grown in the ovaries during ovulation and will subside on their own. 

Corpus luteal cysts: The Corpus luteal is a functional ovarian cyst that occurs after the corpus luteum does not revert after an ovum is released. 

Non-functional Cysts

Dermoid cysts: These grow as a result of the tissues from hair, skin, or teeth finding their way into the ovary. Normally, it does not grow beyond two centimeters. 

Cystadenoma: When the cells that surround the ovary grow they form into mucus larger in size than other cysts.

Endometrioma: Endometrioma occurs after undergoing a condition called endometriosis and the cysts contain fluids.

Ovarian cancer: These are cancerous growths inside the ovaries that are more like solid masses. 

When Size Becomes a Concern?

Ovarian cysts generally grow below two centimeters and do not pose any difficulties. However, if it grows beyond the normal size medical examination is required. The cysts, when they become larger, can lead to inflammation and other serious problems. If it ruptures, it can lead to bleeding and torsion which require immediate attention. Normally, these are considered gynecological emergencies and medical treatment is required.   

Symptoms of Dangerous Ovarian Cysts 

Ovarian cysts can rupture and cause sudden and intense pain in the lower abdomen. In certain cases, the pain follows abdominal bleeding. The condition can also trigger vomiting, fainting, and fever. These symptoms should not be taken lightly and medical help should be taken immediately.

A problematic cyst induces pelvic pain and a dull ache which feels more within one side of the body. Besides, it can also cause painful periods. The cysts that grow beyond 5 centimeters are a cause for concern when compared to smaller ones. If it doesn’t die down and continues to grow, it should be medically examined to ensure it is not a cancerous growth. 

Treatment Options Based on Cyst Size

Treatment for the ovarian cysts varies depending on their sizes. Smaller cysts that measure below two centimeters in size do not cause problems. Yet in rare cases, medical treatment is required to eliminate them.

However, for those cysts that grow larger beyond five centimeters, a medical examination is required. The treatment can depend on a range of factors such as the size and type, degree of discomfort, etc. Unlike in the case of a smaller cyst, where medicines are provided for relief, a larger cyst may be required to be removed surgically.

Preventive Measures and Monitoring

The abnormal growth of ovarian cysts can cause irritation and discomfort. A gynecologist can prescribe medicines to stall the growth and stop the development of new cysts. These medicines can also reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

Routine examinations and monitoring help the gynecologist to detect the presence of ovarian cysts. The changes in the menstrual cycle and any instances of pelvic pain should be timely reported. In addition, loss of appetite and abdominal fullness can all be signs of cyst growth. Studies have confirmed that consuming antioxidants such as resveratrol could optimize follicular cell structure inside the ovaries.


While not all ovarian cysts cause problems, those that grow beyond safer limits have to be taken seriously. However, there is a lack of awareness about them among the female population.

Attempts should be made to be aware of the symptoms so that an individual knows when to seek medical help. Any recurring pain in the pelvic region or lower abdomen should not be taken lightly. Routine health checkups are a good way to keep problems at bay.


  • Kendra Reed

    Dr. Kendra Reed is a dedicated general medicine physician with 7 years of clinical experience. After graduating from medical school, she completed her residency in internal medicine, developing a well-rounded skillset in diagnosing and treating a diverse range of conditions. Patients appreciate Dr. Reed's warm bedside manner and commitment to providing comprehensive, personalized care. In addition to her clinical work, she is actively involved in community outreach programs, educating the public on important health topics. Dr. Reed is known for her ability to establish trusting relationships with her patients and help them achieve their wellness goals.

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