What Are The Signs Of Ovarian Cysts?

Pictures of ovarian cysts
What Are The Symptoms Of Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian cysts often don't cause any symptoms and are only discovered by chance during a routine pelvic examination. If symptoms do occur they generally reflect the size and location of the cyst, rather than the specific type of cyst. Possible symptoms include:

• Irregular periods, typically heavy periods (menorrhagia) or missed periods (amenorrhea).
• Menstruation-like cramps.
• Pain during sexual intercourse.
Bloating or swelling of the tummy.
• Weight gain if the cysts grow large enough (picture).
• Nausea or vomiting.
• Pain in the shoulder.
• Dull pain in the lower back and thighs.
• Sudden sharp pain if cysts become twisted or ruptured.
• Spotting between periods.
• Tender breasts.
In fact, it is possible to confuse the early signs of pregnancy with ovarian cysts. To help clarify, read our question what are the early signs of pregnancy before a missed period? Additionally, read our response to the question what type of pain do ovarian cysts cause?

Ovarian cysts are more likely to cause pain when they:

• Become large.
• Start bleeding.
• Rupture (pop)and break open (and start leaking).
• Are bumped during sexual intercourse.
• Twist or causes twisting (torsion) of the fallopian tube.

If you have these symptoms, get help right away:

• Pain with fever and vomiting.
• Sudden, severe abdominal pain.
• Faintness, dizziness, or weakness.
• Rapid breathing.

It may be a sign that the ovaries or fallopian tubes have become twisted and their blood supply is cut off. Or it could be that cyst has ruptured causing internal bleeding or leakages. See, what causes ovarian cysts to rupture?

What Were Your Symptoms?

I was 16 when I woke up during the middle of the night with a sharp pain in my lower abdomen and lower back. I had to bend forward to reduce the pain. I tried to go back to sleep thinking, my period is due, it might just be a bad bout of PMS. An hour later I woke up screaming and curled into the fetal position. I didn't know what was wrong and my parents rushed me to ER. Within a few minutes of me explaining the symptoms, the OR surgeons diagnosed me with an ovarian cyst. It turned out I had a cyst the size of an orange on my left ovary. They had to cut it off, with the ovary.
Angela, Bassett.

My doctor told me I had a cyst, but it wasn't producing symptoms. That was a few months ago. However, since then I have been getting a dark brown bloody discharge between periods, shoulder pain and fever sometimes. I'm going back to the doctor for another checkup next week.
Sara, Granada.

I had horrible back pain, menstrual type cramps, heavier periods and pain during sex. I had the back pain fairly much all the time but it was worse a week before my period and during it. I had surgery to remove the cyst and things have improved.
Amber, Denver.

I had a 40 pound tumor removed that was growing off my ovary. Before I knew I had it, I noticed that my abdomen was very hard and I constantly looked bloated. I also had constant back ache. The tumor was like a balloon filled with liquid. It wasn't cancerous but they took out my ovary as well. I still managed to have two children and haven't had any signs of a recurrence since. But, I have been left with a horrible scar down my stomach, they had to give me 40 staples to seal up the opening after the operation.
Marlene, Charlotte.

I was diagnosed last week with ovarian cysts after a CT scan. I've been getting severe stomach aches, constant back pain, bloating and vomiting. Also, my periods were coming twice a month. Hopefully they'll be able to treat me now.
Anne, Washington.
Useful: Can ovarian cysts cause a missed period?

I had a leaking cyst about 7cm in diameter. I ended up twice in ER with crippling pain that made me drop to my knees. The morphine they gave me barely took the edge off the pain. It would start like a crampy period pain. It felt like I had done too many situps, the pain was located very low in the pelvic, a few inches in from the top of hip bone.
Maureen, Baltimore.

My main symptom was not getting a period for 9 months (and no I wasn't pregnant!). My doctor finally sent me for an ultrasound scan at the hospital and they diagnosed me with PCOS.
Heather, Essex.
Useful: What is the difference between PCOS and ovarian cysts?

I used to have irregular periods, sore boobs and menstrual cramps. I was eventually diagnosed with functional cysts, the type that come and go. My GP prescribed me with the contraceptive pill and it got much better.
Rachel, London.

I had cysts on both my ovaries and they were very painful. The only symptoms I got were sharp, burning pain in isolated spots on each of my sides. I was told that if I start vomiting that meant one or both of the cysts had burst - but before that happened, it would be preceded with unbearable pain. Not something I wanted to live in fear of! Well, I did get really nauseous (not vomiting) and went to ER. At first they thought I had appendicitis. They then discovered that one of the cysts had started leaking. I wouldn't let them remove an ovary because I wanted to get pregnant. But I know if you have cysts and want a baby it is fairly dangerous. My friend had them and had 4 miscarriages. Anyway, I had to put off having a baby while I took the birth control pill for a year to suppress my ovaries. It worked. The cysts disappeared and I've had no problem having kids. I've been cured.
Vanessa, San Jose.

Other Useful Resources and Questions
Ovarian cysts during pregnancy: signs, treatment and monitoring.
Can ovarian cysts cause infertility? Fertility issues and conception.
Do ovarian cysts usually need to be surgically removed? Treatment and surgery options.
Natural treatment for ovarian cysts: Diet, supplements and lifestyle tips.
The female body and the human body: Useful diagrams and explanations.
Reproductive system disorders: What can go wrong with the female organs.

• Need more information? See: Ovarian Cysts Guide.
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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