Ovarian Cyst Symptoms

Ovarian cysts refer to a collection of fluid within the ovary. They can occur in women of any age and can cause a variety of symptoms. In this article we shall take a look at these symptoms.

Symptoms of ovarian cysts

In most cases, patients who suffer from ovarian cysts do not have any symptoms. They are picked up as an incidental finding on tests like an ultrasound or even during a routine visit to a doctor. As assist grows larger, symptoms can start to present themselves.

The most common symptom that patients experience is pain in the lower abdomen. The pain can be due to a number of causes such as

  • Twisting of the ovarian cyst (torsion)
  • Rupture of the ovarian cyst (causes severe pain)

The pain can be gradual in onset but can occur suddenly in cases where there is a rupture of the ovarian cyst. The pain is typically unilateral and is sharp in character. In cases of torsion of an ovarian cyst, the blood supply to the ovary may be cut off resulting in severe pain.  If a cyst ruptures, the contents of it can enter the abdominal cavity and can cause peritonitis and extremely severe abdominal pain.

There are other symptoms that patients can experience as well. These can include an increased frequency of urination (because the cyst is compressing the bladder), a sensation of abdominal fullness and bloating, indigestion and even painful intercourse.

As a result of the enlarging cyst, the pressure within the abdomen can be increased leading to patients having a constant feeling of wanting to open their bowels. Some patients may find it difficult open their bowels and some of them may experience pain prior to opening the bowels.

Patients may have associated clinical features that are closely related to the type of ovarian cyst. For example, in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome, the associated clinical features can include excessive facial hair (hirsutism), obesity, oligomenorrhoea and infertility. The periods may become heavy or even lighter. Patients also complain of generalised tiredness and fatigue.


Ovarian cysts are usually asymptomatic but complications such as torsion and rupture can cause severe pain with a variety of associated symptoms.

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