What Size Of Ovarian Cyst Is Dangerous

Ovarian cysts are common fluid-filled sacs that form on or within the ovaries, affecting women of all ages. Most of the cysts are harmless and resolve on their own, some can grow to dangerous sizes, posing significant health concerns. 

In this article, we will develop  the different types of ovarian cysts, typical sizes, and when they become hazardous. 

By understanding the warning signs and seeking timely medical attention, women can proactively manage their health and well-being. 

What Is An Ovarian Cyst?

An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms on or within the ovary. These cysts are common and usually harmless, often going away on their own without treatment.. These cysts, varying in size from a few millimetres to several centimetres in diameter, are prevalent, with many women experiencing at least one during their lifetime. Looking for the best ovarian cyst treatment in Delhi? Visit Queen’s Gynecology now.

The majority of cysts are benign and resolve on their own without causing symptoms. However, larger cysts or those triggering symptoms demand immediate medical attention to prevent any potential complications. 

Related Blog: Ovarian Cysts: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Type of Ovarian Cysts and Their Sizes

Understanding the various types of ovarian cysts and their sizes is crucial for proper diagnosis and management. Here are the different types of ovarian cysts:

  • Functional Cysts

Functional cysts develop as a result of your regular menstrual cycle progression. However, there are instances when these cysts may continue to grow beyond the usual size. Let’s explore two examples of functional cysts below:

  • Follicular Cyst

These particular functional cysts typically arise due to abnormal growth of a follicle in the ovary. As fluid accumulates within the follicle, it forms a sac or cyst. The good news is that these cysts are generally benign and do not pose a significant health risk. Most often, they will resolve naturally without requiring any treatment within a span of 8 to 12 weeks.

  • Corpus Luteum Cyst

Corpus luteum cysts develop when the follicle sac, which remains empty after ovulation, fails to shrink as it normally should. Instead, the sac becomes sealed off and gradually fills with fluid, giving rise to a corpus luteum cyst.

The majority of functional cysts typically range from 2 to 5 centimetres (about 3/4 of an inch to 2 inches) in size. Ovulation usually occurs when these cysts are around 2 to 3 cm in diameter. However, in certain cases, these cysts can grow larger, reaching sizes of 8 to 12 cm (approximately 3 to 5 inches).

  • Other Cysts (Pathological Cysts)

Ovarian cysts may not always be related to your menstrual cycle. While they typically do not indicate a serious illness, your doctor might monitor them to ensure no complications arise. Additionally, there are other types of cysts to be aware of, which include:

  • Dermoid Cysts

Dermoid cysts are characterized as non-cancerous, slow-growing, and generally benign growths that can develop in different areas of the human body.

Typically, these cysts contain a mix of skin tissues, including sweat glands, hair follicles, and sebaceous (oil) glands. Although they may appear anywhere on or near the skin surface, they are commonly found on the face, neck, or scalp.

Dermoid cysts grow slowly at approximately 1.8 mm (0.07 inches) per year, but some can expand rapidly, up to 8-25 mm (0.3-1 inch) annually. Rarely, giant dermoid cysts over 15 cm (about 6 inches) have been observed.

  • Endometriomas

Endometriomas typically referred to as chocolate cysts, are ovarian cysts caused by endometriosis. These cysts form when uterine lining tissue grows outside the uterus and attaches to organs, often near or on an ovary. Unfortunately, endometriomas can lead to pain, infertility, and heavy menstrual bleeding.

About 17-44% of women with endometriosis may have endometriomas, also known as chocolate cysts, due to their dark blood content. They can vary in size.

  • Cystadenomas

Cystadenomas, benign tumours on the ovarian surface, contain watery or mucus-like fluid. On ultrasound, they may resemble functional cysts but persist and grow larger over time. Some cystadenomas can be small (around 1 to 3 cm), while others can reach significant sizes, up to 30 cm (almost a foot).

Related Blog: Ovarian Cyst and its Impact on Pregnancy and Fertility

What is the Normal Size of an Ovarian Cyst in mm?

An ovarian cyst’s normal size in mm is 3 centimetres (30 mm) in diameter. Cysts of this size are generally considered normal and benign, often resolving on their own without requiring medical intervention. Routine pelvic exams can help detect these small, non-threatening cysts.

Is 10 cm Ovarian Cyst dangerous?

A 10 cm ovarian cyst can be potentially dangerous and may require medical attention. Such a large cyst is considered complex and has a higher risk of complications. While not all cysts of this size are cancerous, they should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate course of action.

What Size Of Ovarian Cysts Are Dangerous?

Ovarian cyst size can vary, and its potential risk can depend on various factors, such as the size of the ovarian cyst and individual health conditions. It is believed that ovarian cysts larger than 6 cm are dangerous for health and need medical intervention. Below are the simplified examples of ovarian cysts based on size and potential risk associated with them:

Ovarian Cyst SizePotential Risk
Small (<3 cm)Low risk, often asymptomatic
Moderate (3-6 cm)Moderate risk, monitor for changes
Large (>6 cm)Higher risk, potential for complications, may require medical intervention

Note- This table provides general information and that the assessment of ovarian cysts should be done by healthcare professionals based on individual cases, symptoms, and medical history.

Importance of Understanding Ovarian Cyst Sizes

Ovarian cysts vary greatly in size, ranging from less than one centimetre to over 10 centimetres. Small cysts, less than 3 centimetres, are often considered normal and typically resolve without intervention, often detected during routine pelvic exams.

Cysts become concerning when exceeding 5 centimetres (2 inches), reaching a complex stage with potential cancer risks. However, most ovarian cysts are not cancerous, and the majority of women with cysts do not develop ovarian cancer.

Ovarian Cyst Symptoms

Here are the signs and symptoms of large ovarian cysts:

  • Abdominal pain (one side)
  • Bloating
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Infertility


Understanding the size of ovarian cysts and their potential risks is essential for every woman’s health. While most cysts are harmless, larger cysts can pose dangers and warrant medical attention. Recognizing symptoms and seeking prompt care is crucial for early detection and appropriate management. If you have any concerns or need expert gynaecological care, consider visiting Queen’s Gynecology in Delhi. Our experienced team can provide personalized solutions and ensure your well-being. 


At what size is an ovarian cyst dangerous?

An ovarian cyst becomes dangerous when it exceeds 5 centimetres (2 inches) in size.

Which type of cyst is not dangerous?

Most functional cysts, which result from the normal menstrual cycle, are not dangerous and typically resolve on their own.

Are ovarian cysts lifelong?

Ovarian cysts are not always lifelong; most functional cysts resolve on their own within a few menstrual cycles.

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