Ovarian cysts are solid or fluid-filled sacs that form within your ovaries. Many women develop ovarian cysts at some point in their lives. These cysts typically form during ovulation, which is the time during your monthly cycle when one of your ovaries releases an egg.
Ovarian cysts sometimes cause pain and other symptoms, but sometimes they don’t cause any symptoms at all. Often cysts form and then go away on their own in a few weeks or in one to three months.
Although most ovarian cysts are benign — meaning they are not cancerous — in rare cases cysts are a sign of ovarian cancer. For this reason, it is always wise to tell your doctor about any symptoms that might suggest the presence of ovarian cysts.
The physicians at Greenville Women’s Care recommend calling our office for a checkup if you experience any of the following warning signs of ovarian cysts.
1. Pelvic pain.
You feel pelvic pain in your lower belly. Ovarian cysts are one of many possible causes of pelvic pain. The pain from ovarian cysts may feel sharp or dull. You may feel pain for extended periods of time, or it may come and go. Ovarian cyst-related pain tends to be worse during your menstrual period. The hormones produced during your period can cause ovarian cysts to form or enlarge, triggering pain. When a cyst ruptures, you may feel sudden, severe pain in your pelvic region.
2. Referred pain.
Pain from ovarian cysts can travel beyond the pelvic area to your low back or even your thighs. This is called referred pain.
Like many women, you may experience bloating during your period, but watch for unusual bloating that can result when an ovarian cyst grows larger.
4. Nausea and vomiting.
Nausea and vomiting may sometimes occur when an ovarian cyst causes one of your ovaries to become twisted.
5. Changes in urination or passing stools.
Occasionally ovarian cysts can affect the action of your bladder or bowels so that you have trouble emptying them. You may also find that you need to urinate more often.
If an ovarian cyst becomes infected, you may develop a fever.
7. Unexplained bleeding.
Ovarian cysts can sometimes cause bleeding when you do not expect it. Call our office without delay if you have unexplained bleeding — it can be a sign of a medical condition that requires attention.
8. Unexplained weight gain.
In rare cases, ovarian cysts can grow surprisingly large. Their size, along with the bloating that can occur, may make a difference in the numbers on your bathroom scale.
9. Pain during sex.
Ovarian cysts can occasionally result in pain or discomfort during sex. This is especially likely if you develop a type of ovarian cyst known as an endometrioma, which occurs most commonly in women with endometriosis, a condition in which uterine tissue grows outside the uterus.
10. Trouble getting pregnant.
In women with a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), many ovarian cysts form over time. Sometimes women with PCOS can have trouble getting pregnant.
Although many ovarian cysts go away on their own, some require surgical removal. The doctors at Greenville Women’s Care have extensive experience with the surgical methods used to remove ovarian cysts. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed here — or if you need other gynecological care — call us for an appointment. Our team of women’s health care providers can help you with all of your gynecological needs.