Ovarian cysts are pockets or bags filled with fluid in an ovary or on its surface. Women have two ovaries on each side of the uterus, each having the size and shape of an almond. Eggs that develop and mature in the ovaries are released every childbearing year. Many women eventually have ovarian cysts. Most ovarian cysts have little or no discomfort and are harmless. Most disappear without treatment in a few months. However, ovarian cysts, especially those that are torn, can cause severe symptoms. To protect your health, you need regular pelvic exams and symptoms that may indicate a potentially serious problem.