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Why ovarian endometriosis called chocolate cyst?


I read ovarian cysts are very dangerous for women health. But what about cyst called “chocolate cyst”? Why ovarian endometriosis called chocolate cyst?

ANSWER from experts

First of all, all ovarian cysts need very attention and sometimes women need to remove ovarian cysts – earlier is better.

It is well known that endometriosis is the presence of endometrial glands and tissue outside the uterus. So called “Chocolate Cysts” are a particular type of ovarian cyst linked to endometriosis. Chocolate cysts are well known also as “Endometriomas” – these are cysts in the ovaries formed by endometrial tissue (tissue similar to the lining of the uterus).

Actually the chocolate cyst is the cyst of the ovary with intracavitary hemorrhage and formation of a hematoma containing old brown blood. The term “chocolate cyst” come from the physical appearance as these growths are usually comprised of dried blood making them brown in appearance (similar to the color of chocolate).

Why ovarian endometriosis called chocolate cyst?

Chocolate cysts are formed when endometrial tissue (the mucous membrane that makes up the inner layer of the uterine wall) grows in the ovaries.

So called “chocolate cysts” are usually filled with old, dark, reddish-brown, sludgy-brown blood, hence their moniker. Chocolate cysts can vary between 0.5 and 8 inches (1.5-20cm) in diameter. Sometimes the chocolate cysts can rupture and their contents can spill into the ovaries and in the pelvic cavity. This can be very painful and can provoke development of spreded endometriosis and can cause some of the organs in the pelvis to bind together. If this happens with the fallopian tubes and ovaries, it can result in infertility.

In general, endometriosis and chocolate cysts are affecting women during their reproductive period (average age 20-35). In many cases the endometriosis could cause chronic pelvic pain associated with menstrual periods (menstrual cramps, endometrial cramps).

Some specialists suggest that actually all chocolate cysts (ovarian endometriosis) probably start as a surface lesion. This process becomes invasive and the endometriotic lesion internalizes into the ovarian tissue. Once the menstrual flow and debris collect at the site of endometriosis in the ovaries, chocolate cysts form that are filled with chocolate-colored liquid – actually it is a cyst which represent debris from prolonged cyclic menstruation in an enclosed area (inside of ovary).

Chocolate cysts could sometimes attain impressive size, with some documented as large as a baseball or grapefruit that completely obliterate the normal ovary.


Endometriosis and pain



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