Functional Ovarian Cyst: Care Instructions

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Female pelvic organs

Overview

A functional ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms on the ovary. A sac normally forms during ovulation to hold a maturing egg. Usually the sac goes away after the egg is released. But if the egg is not released, or if the sac closes up after the egg is released, the sac can swell up with fluid. This forms a functional cyst.

These ovarian cysts are different than ovarian growths caused by other problems, such as cancer. Most functional ovarian cysts cause no symptoms and go away on their own. Some cause mild pain. Others can cause severe pain when they break or bleed.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Use heat, such as a hot water bottle, a heating pad set on low, or a warm bath, to relax tense muscles and relieve cramping.
  • Be safe with medicines. Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Avoid constipation. Make sure you drink enough fluids and include fruits, vegetables, and fiber in your diet each day. Constipation does not cause ovarian cysts, but it may make you feel more uncomfortable.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have severe vaginal bleeding.
  • You have new or worse belly or pelvic pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have unusual vaginal bleeding.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.