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An ovarian cyst is any collection of fluid, surrounded by a very thin wall, within an ovary. Any ovarian follicle that is larger than about two centimeters is termed an ovarian cyst. The vast majority of ovarian cysts are harmless (benign). Some ovarian cysts cause problems, such as bleeding and pain.

Results: 13

Oral contraceptives to treat cysts of the ovary

Women of reproductive age usually release an egg about once a month. The ovary gets an egg from the inside of the ovary to its surface by creating a blister or fluid‐filled space around the developing egg. When the blister (or cyst) reaches the surface of the ovary, it bursts and releases the egg into the abdominal cavity. After this occurs, the blister can develop into another type of cyst, which makes a hormone (progesterone) that helps the pregnancy to grow. Most of these cysts come and go without problems. Sometimes, however, the cysts get large or painful; others may remain for months. Several decades ago, health care providers learned that women taking birth control pills had fewer cysts, since the pills usually kept an egg from being released. Based on this fact, many clinicians started treating these cysts with birth control pills to make them go away faster.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Ovarian cyst aspiration and IVF outcomes

Cochrane authors investigated the effectiveness and safety of cyst aspiration before ovarian stimulation versus a conservative approach (no aspiration) in women undergoing In vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Our primary outcomes were live birth rate and adverse events. We also assessed pregnancy rates, number of follicles recruited, and number of oocytes retrieved.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Excisional surgery versus ablative surgery for ovarian endometriomata

Endometriomata are benign growths of the ovary. Evidence suggests that surgery to remove the endometrioma provides better results than draining and destroying the lining of the cyst with regard to the recurrence of the cyst, pain symptoms and also the chance of a spontaneous pregnancy in women who were previously subfertile. Surgery to excise the cyst should be the favoured surgical approach. Evidence that one technique is favoured in women who desire to conceive and who seek in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment is however lacking. An additional randomised trial demonstrated that in women trying to conceive the ovarian response to stimulation, as part of fertility treatment, is better in women who have undergone surgery to remove the cyst rather than draining and destroying the endometrioma. The subsequent likelihood of pregnancy was not affected.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2011

Acupuncture for polycystic ovarian syndrome

PCOS is where women have small cysts on their ovaries (organs that produce eggs) and is characterised by the clinical signs of infrequent or very light menstruation (periods), failure to conceive (become pregnant) and excessive hair growth. The current standard western medical treatments for women with PCOS are prescription medicines, surgery and lifestyle changes. There has been evidence suggesting acupuncture may influence ovulation (release of the egg) by affecting levels of various hormones. Acupuncture is a Chinese therapy where fine needles are inserted into the skin in certain places. Various non‐randomised studies (an experimental study in which people are allocated to different treatments using methods that are not random) of acupuncture in PCOS suggested that there were low rates of side effects, no increased risk of multiple pregnancy (e.g. twins) and that it was comparatively inexpensive to administer. However, it should be emphasised that these conclusions were made based on the findings of non‐randomised controlled studies alone and, therefore, may not reliably support the effectiveness and use of acupuncture in this area.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Pre‐treatments in IVF/ICSI cycles

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are important techniques for women who have trouble getting pregnant. IVF and ICSI cycles consist of a few steps. First the woman receives hormone therapy to stimulate her ovaries in producing egg cells. When a few egg cells are mature enough to be fertilized, the woman receives a single hormone injection. This triggers the ovaries to release the egg cells, so they can be gathered by the clinician. The eggs are then fertilised outside the woman's body and become embryos. At last one or two embryos are transferred into the womb.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2010

Blood biomarkers for the non‐invasive diagnosis of endometriosis

Women with endometriosis have endometrial tissue (the tissue that lines the womb and is shed during menstruation) growing outside the womb within the pelvic cavity. This tissue responds to reproductive hormones, causing painful periods, chronic lower abdominal pain and difficulty conceiving. Currently, the only reliable way of diagnosing endometriosis is to perform keyhole surgery and visualise the endometrial deposits inside the abdomen. Because surgery is risky and expensive, we evaluated whether the results of blood tests (blood biomarkers) can help to detect endometriosis non‐invasively. An accurate blood test could lead to the diagnosis of endometriosis without the need for surgery, or it could reduce the need for diagnostic surgery to a group of women who were most likely to have endometriosis. Separate Cochrane reviews from this series evaluate other non‐invasive ways of diagnosing endometriosis using urine, imaging, endometrial and combination tests.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Use of progesterone or progestogen‐releasing intrauterine systems for heavy menstrual bleeding

Review question: This Cochrane review has evaluated whether the levonorgestrel–releasing intrauterine system (LNG IUS) reduces heavy menstrual bleeding and whether it is safe and acceptable.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Managing acute lower abdominal pain in women of childbearing age

Review question: Cochrane authors reviewed available evidence on the use of laparoscopy to manage acute lower abdominal pain, non‐specific lower abdominal pain or suspected appendicitis in women of childbearing age. We found 12 studies.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Combination of different types of tests for the non‐invasive diagnosis of endometriosis

Women with endometriosis have endometrial tissue (the tissue that lines the womb and is shed during menstruation) growing outside the womb within the pelvic cavity. This tissue responds to reproductive hormones, causing painful periods, chronic lower abdominal pain and difficulty conceiving. Currently, the only reliable way of diagnosing endometriosis is to perform keyhole surgery and visualise the endometrial deposits inside the abdomen. Because surgery is risky and expensive, combinations of various tests have been evaluated for their ability to detect endometriosis non‐invasively. An accurate test could lead to the diagnosis of endometriosis without the need for surgery or it could reduce the need for diagnostic surgery so only women who were most likely to have endometriosis would require it.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Early versus delayed feeding for reducing complications after gynaecologic surgery

Physicians often delay giving food and drink to women after abdominal gynaecologic surgery (uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, uterine and ovarian cancer) until bowel function recommences (typically 24 hours after surgery). This is to reduce the risk of complications such as vomiting, gastrointestinal disruptions and wound rupturing or leakage. However, it has been suggested that some women may recover more quickly if food is introduced earlier. We reviewed evidence from randomised controlled trials of early and delayed feeding after abdominal gynaecologic surgery.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Interventions for women with endometrioma prior to assisted reproductive technology

Endometriomata are a form of ovarian endometriosis, classified as cysts within the ovaries. They are a common cause of subfertility and pelvic pain. This review aimed to determine which treatment approach was better for women with subfertility and endometriomata who were undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART). Four trials were identified. A gonadotropin‐releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist showed a positive treatment effect on the ovarian response to controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) and the number of mature oocytes retrieved compared to GnRH antagonist. The evidence for surgery was limited but aspiration was associated with a greater ovarian response than expectant management (a wait and see approach). Further randomised controlled trials of interventions for the management of endometrioma in women undergoing ART are required.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Testing for endometriosis

Endometriosis is often only diagnosed and treated late. If you are thought to have endometriosis it is important to decide what examinations are actually needed. More invasive procedures such as an examination of the inside of your abdomen (laparoscopy) are not always necessary to help decide how to best treat the symptoms, and they are associated with risks.In endometriosis, the lining of the womb (endometrium) also grows outside the womb. This endometrial tissue is benign (non-cancerous) and does not always cause noticeable pain. Endometriosis often first becomes noticeable if it causes considerable pain, if the tissue sticks together and adhesions form, or if it makes it difficult to get pregnant.Severe period pain, pain during or after sex and tenderness in parts of the pelvis are all typical signs of endometriosis.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: May 7, 2014

Unusual Cancers of Childhood Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of unusual cancers of childhood such as cancers of the head and neck, chest, abdomen, reproductive system, skin, and others.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: April 6, 2017

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