Signs and Symptoms of an Ovarian Cyst
During a woman’s reproductive years, the ovaries play a vital role in keeping the menstrual cycle on track and creating pregnancy. Each month, one of your ovaries produces an egg in a fluid filled sack (also called a follicle). The egg will soon break free from the follicle during ovulation. Meanwhile the ovary prepares for a potential pregnancy by turning the former follicle into a small cyst. This cyst is what secretes progesterone. If pregnancy does not happen (the egg is never fertilized), then the cyst simply dissolves and a menstrual flow (period) occurs.
Unfortunately, things don’t always happen the way they should. Occasionally the cyst doesn’t dissolve and instead stays on the ovary. In many cases, the cyst will eventually dissolve on its own in the next cycle or two and doesn’t produce symptoms. However, it is possible for the cyst to stubbornly remain and even grow. This can create a number of unwanted symptoms.
There are many types of ovarian cysts, and it is important for your physician to determine which type you have. An ultrasound can provide key indicators, but other times the exact type of cyst isn’t known until it is surgically removed. The above mentioned cyst formation is called a functional cyst, and this is the most common type of ovarian cyst.
If you have a persistent or growing ovarian cyst, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Pressure, bloating, swelling
- Pain on one side, which may be sharp, dull or come and go.
- Sudden, severe pain is cyst ruptures
- Nausea and pain if cyst causes ovarian torsion (twisting)
- Dull ache in thighs/back
- Problems emptying bladder
- Painful sex
- Unexplained weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have suspicions of an ovarian cyst, please call our skilled team of physicians at North Pointe OB/GYN Associates. We can carefully monitor the cyst or perform laparoscopic removal if necessary.