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What is a Typical Ovarian Cyst Size?

By L. Whitaker
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Typical ovarian cyst size depends on the type of cyst. In general, ovarian cysts can range from under 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) to more than 12 inches (30.48 cm). The largest type of ovarian cyst is called a cystadenoma. It is benign and fluid-filled, and in rare instances has been found to grow to 40 inches (1.016 m) and weigh more than 100 pounds (45.36 kg).

Ovarian cyst size covers a large range because there are multiple types of ovarian cysts, each with its own characteristics. An ovarian cyst is a small sac filled with fluid that grows within the ovaries in a female body. Many ovarian cysts are non-cancerous, although about 15 percent are malignant. During the childbearing years, it is common for small cysts to form within the ovaries and then spontaneously disintegrate as a part of the menstrual cycle. These are called functional cysts, which tend to go away without intervention.

In addition to functional cysts, there are several types of ovarian cysts that might cause pelvic pain or other symptoms. A follicular cyst is most likely to occur at the time of ovulation and can grow up to 2.3 inches (5.84 cm) in diameter. This type of cyst usually does not create symptoms and might eventually disappear without treatment. A corpus luteum cyst can occur if a follicle does not disintegrate automatically after the release of an egg; instead, the follicle fills with blood and remains on the ovary. This cyst is also unlikely to cause symptoms.

A hemorrhagic cyst is named for the hemorrhage, or bleeding, that occurs within the cyst, leading to abdominal pain. In a dermoid cyst, which usually occurs in young women, the cyst contains body tissues such as fat or hair. This type of ovarian cyst might grow inflamed or become twisted, which causes severe abdominal pain. The average size for dermoid cysts is often between 2 inches (5.08 cm) and 4 inches (10.16 cm), although in some cases they can become as large as 6 inches (15.24 cm).

Endometrial cysts happen in individuals with endometriosis, a chronic condition in which tissue covering the uterus is also found in other areas, such as on the ovaries. The size for a blood-filled endometrial cyst can range from 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) to 8 inches (20.32 cm). Another fluid-filled benign tumor called a cystadenoma can sometimes grow extremely large, up to 12 inches (30.48 cm) or more. In cystadenoma cases, the ovarian cyst size might depend on how the tumor is classified. A serous cystadenoma, containing a watery fluid, will tend to be 2-6 inches (5.08-15.24 cm) in diameter; a mucinous cystadenoma, which is filled with a sticky, thick fluid, is more likely to be 6-12 inches (15.24-30.48 cm) or larger.

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Discussion Comments

By anon970146 — On Sep 16, 2014

When I had a 85 pound tumor, I did not have all the pain that you would think that you would have! I had a hernia, so I thought what pain I did have was from that.

When I went into the hospital I was shocked when they came in after I had a CT scan and told me I had a very large mass in my stomach and they didn't know if it was cancer or not and they couldn't find a doctor who would do the surgery. They called Duke and Charlotte and could not get a doctor to let them transfer me over to them!

They finely sent me home with an appointment for a cancer center but I went back into the same hospital because I had gotten worse and the doctor they called in on my case did my surgery and it was not cancer! I felt like they took the weight of a building off me. But you don't hurt like you think you would!

By anon969956 — On Sep 14, 2014

I had an 85 pound cyst removed a year and half ago! I lost 160 pounds in just days. I kept telling my doctor that I didn't eat enough to say I should weigh what I weighed, but he kept saying to quit snacking and get more exercise!

The cyst was so heavy that my husband had to help me up out of a chair! Doctors need to start listening and doing more scans on women with large stomachs. If my doctor had just sent me for a scan, I could have had my life back years ago.

By anon958067 — On Jun 24, 2014

My 73 year old mother has been having severe abdominal pain, nausea and a lot of pressure in her lower abdomen. After an ultrasound today, it was discovered that there are two growths on her right ovary (she had partial hysterectomy 44 years ago, but ovaries were left). One is about nickel size and the other is nearly the size of an orange. At her age and physical health, I have many concerns. She had the CA blood test done today and we will get results on Friday. God willing, this will not be cancer. She is a lung cancer survivor (miracle).

By clintflint — On Sep 25, 2013

I can't even imagine having a cyst as big as 100 pounds. How do you even get to that point without getting help and having it removed? I would be absolutely terrified that it would rupture.

And the pain from something like that must be enormous. I have had much smaller cysts and they were painful enough, without adding that kind of size into the equation.

By bythewell — On Sep 24, 2013

@MrsPramm - Unfortunately there is a long tradition of not taking women seriously in general when they complain about menstrual related pain and other symptoms. I've even had doctors tell me that I was being too dramatic when I've complained about what turned out to be a ruptured ovarian cyst.

And these same doctors will turn around and tell women that they didn't take action soon enough when it's discovered that someone has become infertile because they didn't get treatment for a condition.

It makes me angry, but I do think that the situation is getting better as more people become aware of the different conditions that can occur and that it isn't actually normal to be in massive amounts of pain when you've got your period.

By MrsPramm — On Sep 24, 2013

One of my friends teaches at a school where a student has recently had to have surgery for endometriosis. It was a big deal because for a long time the student had been taking days off with pain and PMS symptoms and the school had been essentially accusing the family of letting her skip class on a whim.

Then it turned out that she actually was in very serious pain, which is one of the symptoms of ovarian cysts that can occur with endometriosis.

I hope it gave the school a wake up call about taking their students seriously.

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