“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.

About Dr. Jennifer Dietrich, Chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology

I am the Division Director for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine and Chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology at Texas Children’s Hospital.

My research interests include congenital problems of the reproductive tract, disorders of sexual differentiation, disorders of puberty, hormonal imbalance, pelvic masses and bleeding disorders in young women.

Posted in Motherhood, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Parenting, Pavilion for Women

3 Responses to “My Daughter Has An Ovarian Cyst”

  1. kiran bhuwalka says:

    my daughter is having a cyst in her ovary.she is 18yrs of age. is it possible that she has inherited it from me?

    • Dr. Jennifer Dietrich, Chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Dr. Jennifer Dietrich, Chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology says:

      There are many different causes for ovarian cysts. Certain types of cysts/ovarian tumors may run in families. Functional cysts occur in all women who are having menstrual cycles as small cysts occur when a women ovulates. It may be good to check with your provider to determine what type of cyst your daughter may have and if it could be related or unrelated to a cyst you had in the past.

  2. Becky Gosain says:

    i have a 10 year old daughter who has had pain on and off to the left of her belly button for 4 months. It has gotten much more severe lately so we have had blood work and stool testing done through her pediatrician, which had all been normal. An ultrasound and X-ray are schedule for next week. The more I research this and read about young girls having ovarian cysts that can get twisted and “pull”, I’m thinking this is what it is. I’m a little freaked out and would love to hear how often you might see this in a girl around 10 years old who is pre-menstrual. We’re going to a GI doc soon, but sounds like it is not a GI issue. She describes pain such as polling inside her abdomen and sometimes it is so sharp she cannot stand up or walk. It’s so sporadic and there is no precursor when it hits. I would love any further information! I also am very reluctant for her to have an internal ultrasound. Can cysts be seen on an external ultrasound?

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