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Ovarian Cyst Symptoms

Symptoms of cyst ovaries can be a harmless result of menstruation or signal the need for medical attention.

Symptoms Cyst Ovaries

Symptoms of cyst ovaries can be a harmless result of menstruation or signal the need for medical attention. Find out more about symptoms of cyst ovaries. At some point during their lives, usually during childbearing years, many women develop ovarian cysts. While the majority of ovarian cysts are harmless, causing little or no symptoms, some cysts cause serious symptoms that require medical attention. Ovarian cysts are generally found during routine pelvic exams, but it's important for every woman to be able to recognize the symptoms of ovarian cysts.

Ovarian Cyst Causes

Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can develop in any part of the body. Ovarian cysts develop within or on the surface of the ovaries. Most ovarian cysts develop during the course of a womans normal menstrual cycle and are called functional cysts. These are outgrowths of the normal cyst-like structures, or follicles, which grow in the ovaries every month. Follicles produce the female hormone estrogen and growth hormone progesterone and hold eggs until they are ready to be released for fertilization. Once the eggs are released, the follicles dissolve and disappear.

Benign Ovarian Cysts

There are two types of functional ovarian cysts. The first, known as a follicular cyst, forms when the follicles do not release the eggs and instead continue to grow. Follicular cysts are benign and usually painless. They often disappear without symptoms or treatment in the next two to three menstrual cycles.

The second type of functional ovarian cyst is called a corpus luteum cyst. Here, the follicles do release the eggs, but they fail to dissolve and instead fill up with fluid. These cysts are also generally harmless and disappear on their own within a few months, but they can grow to up to four inches and can cause symptoms such as bleeding and pain. Fertility drugs such as Clomid and Serophene increase the risks of corpus luteum cysts.

Other, less common, types of ovarian cysts include dermoid cysts, endometriomas and cystadenomas. These cysts vary in severity and size, but can cause painful twisting of the ovaries.

Common Ovarian Cyst Symptoms

Most common ovarian cysts cause little or no symptoms. However, some cysts will produce varying degrees of the following symptoms:

  • Irregular, painful menstruation and abnormal bleeding
  • Pressure, fullness, heaviness or pain in the abdomen
  • A dull ache in the pelvis that can radiate to the lower back and thighs. This pain can be constant or intermittentPressure on the bladder or rectum, causing problems passing urine completely
  • Pelvic pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea, vomiting, and / or breast tenderness similar to symptoms experienced during pregnancy.

If you experience the following symptoms, seek immediate medical consultation:Sudden, severe or spasmodic pelvic and/or abdominal pain

  • Pain accompanied by fever and / or vomiting
  • Weakness, faintness, lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Rapid breathing, coldness and clammy skin


Because symptoms of ovarian cysts are similar to those accompanying many other potentially serious conditions, it is important to schedule routine pelvic examinations and be aware of changes in the body. Symptoms of ovarian cysts may mimic those of endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cancer, appendicitis and diverticulitis.

Fortunately, most cysts are harmless, and require no treatment other than monitoring the cyst to make sure it doesn't grow larger or cause complications. For problematic cysts, however, surgery may be required. In many cases, a relatively minor surgical procedure known as a cystectomy is performed, which removes the cyst while leaving the ovary intact. If the cyst is cancerous, however, the doctor may recommend a hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus and the ovaries. Though most cysts are functional, doctors recommend that all women schedule regular pelvic exams to monitor the appearance and growth of ovarian cysts.

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