Northwestern Women’s Health Associates, S.C
680 N. Lake Shore Drive #1200, Chicago, 60611 | Get Directions

Recognizing symptoms of ovarian cysts and finding treatments in Chicago

If you have had regular menstrual cycles, you have probably had an ovarian cyst, as well. They occur at some point in most ovulating women and usually resolve naturally without any issues. However, about eight percent of premenopausal women develop cysts that cause problematic symptoms and require medical treatments. The doctors at Northwestern Women’s Health Associates S.C. in Chicago, IL share this information to help you determine when to seek professional care.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts and Treatments in Chicago area

Understanding ovarian cysts

Ovulation is the clinical term for the release of an egg from a woman’s ovary, which normally happens once a month. A cyst is a sac filled with fluid. Thus, an ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac on an ovary. A single ovarian cyst may form, or a woman could develop a cluster of small ones, called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This condition may prevent conception.

While functional ovarian cysts can occur at any age, they are most common in women who ovulate regularly. Though rarely malignant (cancerous), ovarian cysts that occur after menopause can be an indication of a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

Types of ovarian cysts

  • Follicle cyst – This is a benign functional cyst. A follicle is a tiny sac that houses the egg as it grows. Once the maturing process is complete, the follicle ruptures, releasing the egg. A follicle cyst forms when this does not occur – the follicle remains intact instead of breaking open.
  • Corpus luteum cyst – Also a benign functional cyst, this type occurs a bit later in the otherwise normal cycle. After the egg is released, the follicle is meant to shrink. Called corpus luteum, this mass of cells produces hormones to prepare for the next egg. Sometimes the follicle reseals after the egg is released. Instead of shrinking, fluids build up inside the sac. A corpus luteum cysts can grow rather large (several inches in diameter) and may cause pain or bleed, but it usually resolves on its own.
  • Cystadenomas – Though less common, these fluid-filled cysts can grow quite large.
  • Dermoid – Cells present from birth comprise this type of cyst. It is usually asymptomatic, although they can get large.
  • Endometriomas – Endometrial cysts form when the lining of the womb grows outside the uterus, forming a growth that can be painful during intimacy or menstruation. These can also get large or cause adheions.
Call : 312-440-9400 OR Request an Appointment

Symptoms of ovarian cysts

Functional ovarian cysts are most often triggered by hormonal imbalance. Formation of an ovarian cyst is also normal in the early stage of pregnancy, while the placenta forms. However, an ovarian cyst can also be a result of serious pelvic infection, or a tumor growth.. If you have any of these symptoms, please see a gynecologist right away:

  • Intermittent sharp pain in the pelvic area
  • Sudden acute pain – an indication that a cyst has ruptured
  • Severe abdominal pain with nausea or vomiting – a cyst may be twisting the ovary
  • Painful intercourse
  • Severe menstrual cramps
  • Bloating, pressure, or pain on one side of the lower abdomen
  • Weight gain
  • Dull lower back pain or ache in thighs
  • Tender breasts
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder or bowels completely
  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual bleeding from the vagina

Treatment options

Treatment options of Ovarian Cysts and Treatments in Chicago area

At Northwestern Women’s Health Associates S.C., diagnosis includes physical examination and evaluation of symptoms. The doctor may order an ultrasound, a painless imaging test that uses sound waves to identify the existence, shape, size, and location of a mass. Hormone level tests, a blood workup, and a pregnancy test provide other vital information for treatment planning.

In many cases, functional ovarian cysts can be treated successfully without surgery. Pain medications can relieve discomfort until a cyst goes away naturally. Oral contraceptives may be prescribed to help balance hormones and reduce the chance of further cyst development.

For a cyst that is causing uncomfortable symptoms but appears to be benign (non-cancerous), laparoscopic surgery may be recommended. This minimally invasive outpatient procedure requires only a small incision at the navel and two other small incisions in the lower abdomen. The doctor inserts special instruments through these access points to remove the cysts of the ovary.

In the case of a large cyst, when both ovaries are involved, or when a mass is suspected to be cancerous, laparotomy  might have to be done. This more invasive surgical procedure allows the doctor to collect tissue samples for biopsy while removing cysts and/or ovaries.

Would you like to learn more about the symptoms of ovarian cysts and treatments available in Chicago? Call 312-440-9400 to schedule an appointment at Northwestern Women’s Health Associates S.C. You are assured of all the information you need to make an informed decision on the treatment path best suited to your situation.


Back To Blog Page




women’s healthcare, our team of experts is dedicated to providing every woman highest level of sensitive, specialized care

At Northwestern Women's Health Associates

your unique needs are our highest priority.

Making use of advanced technology and staying on the cutting edge of women’s healthcare, our team of experts is dedicated to providing every woman who visits our office with the highest level of sensitive, specialized care. At our office in Chicago, you can receive exceptional obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) services from any one of our highly skilled doctors, including Stanley Friedell, MD; Abbie Roth, MD; Regina Belmonte, MD; Sharon Wise, MD; Julianne Morton, MD; Whitney Dunn, MD; Aleena Lakhanpal, MD ; and Margaret Kistner, MD. With their combined expertise, this team of board-certified doctors at Northwestern Women's Health Associates makes it possible for you to receive efficient, personalized care from the preeminent women’s hospital in the Midwest.

Success Stories

  • 5 Star Review
    "Wonderful experience with Dr. Julianne Morton @ NW Women's Associates. I've recommended her to countless girlfriends. Being a first time mom, I went through many physical symptoms and emotions that accompany pregnancy. She is extremely thorough, patient, and has wonderful bedside manner. I felt confident going into delivery with Dr. Morton taking the lead with my delivery. Wonderful practice!"

    VIA Google
  • 5 Star Review
    "Dr. Morton is absolutely amazing. She cared for me throughout my first pregnancy and we found her to be kind and caring and straightforward - could not have asked for a better experience! Dr. Dunn ended up being on call during my delivery and she was great as well. I have always found the nurses and office staff to be friendly and on top of things - very happy with the practice!"

    VIA Google
  • 5 Star Review
    "I had to have a laproscopic hysterectomy done by Dr. Friedell and all went fabulously! They were very detailed in pre-op which made a lot of difference. I came out of surgery feeling great and post op I was back to work within two weeks. Everyone at the practice, at the hospital, at pre-op were incredible."

    VIA Google
  • 5 Star Review
    "Dr.Julianne Morton is amazing! I was recommended by a friend when I moved to the Chicago area and was looking for an OB-GYN. I have seen her for two years in Chicago for my yearly exam. She is beyond kind and great at what she does. Dr.Morton makes you feel very comfortable and is such an incredible doctor! I have recommended her to all of my friends as well who need a new gyno/OB-GYN."

    VIA Google
  • 5 Star Review
    "Dr. Morton is a really great doctor. She has an incredible bedside manner and makes you feel comfortable. She makes sure to ask if you have any questions and will happily answer all of them with you. Would highly recommend!"

    VIA Google
  • 5 Star Review
    "Dr. Friedell is amazing! He helped delivered my first baby and the whole process was super smooth and stress free. All the staff in the office are super friendly too. Highly recommend!"

    VIA Google
  • 5 Star Review
    "Dr Freidell is extremely knowledgeable, thorough and really cares about his patients. He is very good at getting to the root of the problem, especially with overlapping symptoms. He guided me through all my options and their implications. I will highly recommend him and his team."

    VIA Google
  • 5 Star Review
    "I love Dr. Belmonte. I have been going to her since 2006! She rocks!!! She is straight to the point, I love that about her. When I leave her office after seeing her I always feel great, like a just left a good friends house or something!"
    VIA Google
  • 5 Star Review

    "I can not tell you how wonderful my experiences have been. Dr. Sharon Wise is my doctor and she is fantastic. She is straightforward and honest about treatments and procedures. I enjoy her sense of humor, and I found her bedside manner when delivering my son to be excellent. "

    VIA Google