Cystic follicles and follicle cysts of the ovary

by Emily Goebel, MD FRCPC
March 9, 2023

What are cystic follicles and follicle cysts in the ovary?

Cystic follicles and follicle cysts are related non-cancerous changes commonly seen when the ovary of a reproductive-age woman is examined under the microscope. Both are created by the growth of a normal structure called a follicle that did not release its ovum (egg) during the menstrual cycle. As the follicle grows, an open space called a cyst develops in the center of the follicle.

What is the difference between a cystic follicle and a follicle cyst?

A cyst that measures less than 3 cm is called a cystic follicle. A cyst that measures more than 3 cm in size is called a follicle cyst.

What are the symptoms of a cystic follicle or follicle cyst in the ovary?

Cystic follicles in the ovary generally do not cause symptoms. However, a large follicle cyst can rupture and cause pelvic pain.

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