The formation of complex ovarian cysts is linked to the normal menstrual cycle, states WebMD. Other associated risk factors include genetic predisposition, history of irregular menstrual cycles or previous ovarian cysts, hypothyroidism, obesity, and cigarette smoking.
While simple ovarian cysts are fluid-filled and a normal part of the menstrual cycle during childbearing years, complex cysts contain both fluid and solid contents, explains EmpowHer.
Complex ovarian cysts may be dermoid, formed from cells that produce human eggs and contain tissue such as hair, skin or teeth. They may be cystadenomas, which develop from ovarian tissue and are often filled with watery liquid or mucus, or the cysts may be endometriomas as the result of endometriosis, where uterine cells grow outside the uterus, according to Mayo Clinic.
While complex cysts may go away on their own and typically do not present symptoms, the most common symptom is pain or discomfort in the lower part of the abdomen, often due to a larger cyst, states MedlinePlus. Pain may be associated with bleeding, rupture or torsion of the cyst, when the cyst is bumped during sexual intercourse and if there is interruption of blood supply to the ovary. While complex cysts are almost always benign, those developing after menopause have a greater chance of being cancerous.
Complex cysts are typically diagnosed through ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs and CA-125 tests, states eMedicineHealth.