Causes and Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts

What Are Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that grow in a woman’s ovaries. Generally, most cysts are harmless, but some can cause problems such as rupture, pain or bleeding. A woman can get ovarian cysts at any age, but in women of childbearing years, they are most common because cysts tend to be caused by the menstrual cycle and the instabilities it causes in your body.

What causes an ovarian cyst?

Follicle cysts and corpus luteum cysts the most common non-cancerous ovarian cysts.

Follicle cysts

During a normal menstrual cycle, your ovaries release an egg which develops in a tiny follicle or sac. Follicle cysts happen when this sac doesn’t break open and release the egg. Instead, it continues growing and forms a cyst.

Corpus luteum cysts

Corpus luteum cysts form if the follicle sac doesn’t shrink after it releases the egg, but instead re-seals itself. Fluid then builds up inside the sac and forms a cyst which sometimes bleeds or twists the ovary causing aching.

Other non-cancerous types are:

  • endometriomas, caused by endometriosis
  • dermoid, from cells present from birth
  • cystadenomas, which are filled with a watery fluid

What Are the Ovarian Cysts Symptoms?

Usually, ovarian cysts do not create symptoms and are found during a routine physical exam. They also can be seen as an incidental finding on an ultrasound performed for other reasons. These are variable and may include:

Signs and symptoms

Most cysts don’t show any symptoms. If symptoms are visible, they are always useful for diagnosing an ovarian cyst. Symptoms of an ovarian cyst may include:

  • Unbalanced and painful menstruation: It can be heavier or lighter than earlier.
  • Pain in the pelvis: This may be a persistent pain or an irregular dull ache that spreads to the lower back and thighs. It might appear just before menstruation starts or ends.
  • Dyspareunia: This is pelvic pain that arises during sexual intercourse. A number of women might experience pain and discomfort in the abdomen after sex.
  • Bowel issues: These include pain when passing a stool, pressure on the bowels or a regular need to pass a stool.
  • Abdominal problems: There can be bloating, swelling, or heaviness in the abdomen.
  • Urinary issues: Women may have problems draining the bladder completely or she may or feeling the need to urinate recurrently.
  • Abdominal Heaviness. If you have a bigger ovarian cyst, it can make your abdomen or pelvic area feel filled or heavy. This feeling of fullness won’t go away even after emptying your bladder.
  • Vaginal conditions. These symptoms include pain throughout your period, pain during sex, and unusual bleeding.
  • Some symptoms may look like those of pregnancy, for instance, breast tenderness and nausea.

Other Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts are:

  • rapid breathing
  • weakness, faintness, or dizziness
  • Pelvic pain following exercise or vigorous activity
  • Infertility
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Abdominal distension
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it’s advisable to bring it up with your doctor to get an ovarian cyst treatment as early as possible.

Dee Jones