Ovarian Cysts Specialist

Melissa G. Drake, M.D. -  - OB-GYN

Melissa G. Drake, M.D.

OB-GYN & Women’s Health Doctor located in Santa Barbara, CA

Most women develop cysts on their ovaries at some point in their reproductive lives. These cysts are largely harmless and resolve themselves on their own. When they don’t, however, you can benefit from the medical expertise of Melissa Drake, OB/GYN. If ovarian cysts are causing you discomfort, or affecting your fertility, Dr. Drake works with you to find an appropriate solution. If you’re in Santa Barbara, California, call or book an appointment online.

Ovarian Cysts Q & A

What are ovarian cysts?

A cyst anywhere in your body is a liquid-filled sac. How these cysts form is what differentiates them. When it comes to your ovaries, there are typically two types of cysts: follicle cysts and corpus luteum cysts.

When you ovulate, your egg is released by your ovary and grows in a small follicle. When the time comes, the follicle breaks open and releases the egg. If the follicle doesn’t break open and release your egg, a follicle cyst can form. These cysts typically go away on their own in a couple of months.

If the follicle successfully releases the egg, but the remaining sac doesn’t shrink, a corpus luteum sac can develop. These cysts typically go away on their own, but they can grow quite large (up to four inches) and cause painful problems, such as twisting your ovary.

What causes ovarian cysts?

The most common reasons why cysts develop are:

  • Hormonal problems
  • Endometriosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pelvic infection
  • Pre-existing cysts (if you’ve had one, you’re more likely to develop more)

What are the symptoms of ovarian cysts?

Most ovarian cysts come and go without you ever noticing their presence. If your cyst grows too large, ruptures, or you have numerous cysts, you may feel:

  • Pain
  • A fullness or pressure in your abdomen, especially on the side of the cyst
  • Bloating
  • Pain during sex
  • Weight gain

If you experience sudden, excruciating pain, it may be because your cyst has ruptured. In this case, you should seek immediate medical attention. If you visit Dr. Drake regularly, you’re probably aware of the presence of cysts, and she’ll caution and guide you if there’s a risk of rupture.

How are ovarian cysts treated?

While most cysts resolve themselves on their own, if you have persistent problems with them, Dr. Drake works with you to find an appropriate solution. Hormone medications help prevent new cysts from forming, but they can’t shrink existing cysts.

If your cyst is large and interfering with the function of your ovary, Dr. Drake may recommend removing the cyst, or the ovary, keeping your second ovary intact.

If you develop cysts after, or during, menopause, Dr. Drake monitors these closely to see if she needs to step in.

To better understand ovarian cysts and your risks, call Dr. Melissa Drake, or schedule an appointment using the online booking tool.