Dermoid ovarian cysts are tumors that grow in the ovaries. They are strange tumors in that unlike other types of ovarian cysts, they don’t just contain fluids. They are known to contain structures such as fully developed hair, teeth, thyroid tissues, blood, eyes and skin. There are even cases where dermoid cysts contain fully-functioning organ tissues. This is the case for almost 30% of women with this type of cystic growths.
Another name for dermoid ovarian cysts
Dermoid cysts on ovaries got this name because of the way that they appear. The fact that they contain recognizable structures of the skin, hair, teeth and other organ tissues makes them look bizarre. More like little monsters. And that’s how they ended up with the name ovarian teratoma.
They develop in the ovaries hence the ovarian part of the name. As for teratoma, it is derived from a greek word teras. Teras means monster. In essence, this other name simply means ovarian monster.
Mature cystic teratoma is a variation of the name that you can use to describe these ovarian growths.
What gives dermoid ovarian cysts their unique characteristics?
It all has to do with the cells from which the cysts form. These ovarian cysts usually develop from one or more germ cells that gets trapped in the ovaries.
The germ cells can develop into any specialized cells. They can develop into cells that form skin tissues, thyroid tissues, eyes, brain tissue and almost any other part of the human body. This is what sets it apart from other types of ovarian cysts such as functional cysts.
Functional cysts usually develop in the course of a woman’s menstrual cycle – when the follicle, that releases the egg, gets filled up with a fluid. As for dermoid cysts, their development has nothing to do with the functioning of the female reproductive system. They simply appear in the ovaries.
Rate of growth of dermoid ovarian cysts
They are slow growing cysts. This is one of the main reasons why they rarely display most of the symptoms of ovarian cysts. It is also a reason why in most cases, it is usually advisable to refrain from surgical removal of the ovarian cysts.
Their slow rate of growth and their usually small size rarely interferes with the functioning of the female reproductive system. And for as long as they don’t cause any of the usual ovarian cyst symptoms and as long as they remain small in size, it doesn’t make sense to take on the risks associated with undergoing surgery to remove dermoid ovarian cysts – risks like ovarian damage that could end up leading to infertility.