Ovarian Cysts: A Review

Cheryl Horlen, PharmD, BCPS


US Pharmacist. 2010;35(7):1-4. 

In This Article


Ovarian cysts are a common occurrence in women of all ages. Pharmacists may be asked about the condition by their patients, especially if the patient is using hormonal contraceptives or is undergoing ovulation induction. Functional ovarian cysts are physiologic and usually resolve spontaneously within a couple of menstrual cycles. Combined oral contraceptives may be used to prevent the occurrence of these cysts; however, they do not accelerate cyst resolution. Ovarian neoplasms often are benign in women of reproductive age. The risk of an ovarian mass being malignant increases with age. Measurement of CA-125 may be helpful in distinguishing between benign and malignant ovarian masses, especially in postmenopausal women. While laparoscopy is commonly used to remove benign cysts, laparotomy is often preferred for removal of masses that may be malignant. In women with certain findings suggestive of malignancy, survival is increased when prompt referral to a gynecologic oncologist is made.


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