Ovarian Cyst: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Ovarian cysts are usually fluid-filled like sacs which may develop on the surface of your ovaries. There are several different types of ovarian cysts, and some may lead to cancer if left untreated for a long time. Kindly, beware that an ovarian cyst is not cancer, but it can cause pain or lead to other health problems if it ruptures or becomes infected.

They can be caused by an excess of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, or they can simply form on their own and have no known cause. These fluid-filled sacs can cause pain and bloating on one side of your lower abdomen, which can make it difficult to carry out your daily routine and enjoy your time with family members or friends.

This post will go through the symptoms, diagnosis, causes, and treatment of ovarian cysts.

Let’s dive in.

What Are the Symptoms of an Ovarian Cyst?

Ovarian cysts do not always cause symptoms; however, any unusual abdominal pain that lasts for more than a few days should be checked by a doctor to determine if it is due to an ovarian cyst.

  • Severe pain in the abdomen which may worsen with menstrual periods. 
  • Pressure or heaviness in the lower abdomen.
  • Sharp pain during intercourse or urination.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Bloating.
  • Constipation.

Note: If you have symptoms of ovarian cysts, contact your doctor so you can be tested to determine the exact type of cyst you have and find out if treatment is necessary. 

Diagnosis for Ovarian Cyst.

  1. Doctors will typically perform pelvic exams to check for tenderness and may perform a transvaginal ultrasound to look inside the pelvis. 
  2. If during the pelvic exam they suspect an ovarian cyst, they may order blood tests as well as pelvic X-rays and sometimes MRI imaging. 
  3. If a woman has regular pain before her period she may have endometriosis.

Endometriosis is when uterine lining cells grow outside the uterus or on other reproductive organs. When these cells come out of place they can bleed and cause pain just like tissue lining would during menstruation. To help diagnose this condition; 

  • Doctors may recommend laparoscopy, which involves inserting a small telescope through small incisions below the navel to view organs in the pelvic cavity.
  • A biopsy is then done to confirm the diagnosis.

What Causes an Ovarian Cyst?

1. Hormones

Most ovarian cysts are caused by a reaction to hormones or excess estrogen. Inflammation in the ovary can cause fluid accumulation in the cyst that forms a sac around the ovary, usually referred to as endometrioma

2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) 


Ovarian cysts can also be caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or other common hormonal disorders. When you have PCOS you may find it difficult to become pregnant. 

3. Tumors

ovarian cyst
Tumors can cause cancer

In some cases, cysts are caused by cancerous tumors, which are usually not treatable. Polyps on the outside of your uterus may develop into uterine cancer if left untreated and can lead to major health problems such as infertility or increased risk of death during pregnancy and childbirth

How Is an Ovarian Cyst Treated?

For doctors to be able to treat an ovarian cyst, they need to determine a few things such as;

  • The cyst’s size.
  • Shape.
  • Contents (whether it contains liquid or solid material).
  • Location. 

To determine an ovarian cyst, the doctors will have to:

  • They may perform a pelvic exam to feel for the mass. 
  • They may also do blood tests to check hormone levels in order to identify any underlying conditions that could cause the ovary to produce excess fluid.
  • A physician may recommend some lifestyle changes such as diet changes or stress management to help reduce the risk of developing more cysts. However, there are no medications currently approved by the FDA to treat ovarian cysts.


The first course of action will be observation, which means that doctors want patients to continue with their normal activities while monitoring how large and active the ovarian cyst becomes over time.


Surgery can be performed if the woman experiences severe pain and discomfort that can’t be managed with medication or if there’s concern about cancerous cells developing within the cyst. Another surgical option involves removing just the fluid from a benign ovarian cyst so it does not grow larger. 

Most often, however, when surgery is required it’s because surgeons need to remove all of the cystic tissue from both ovaries and surrounding areas in order to avoid future symptoms from recurring.

There are also non-surgical treatments available including endometrial ablation, using a long needle to destroy uterine lining cells that have been unproductive due to hormonal imbalance; and embolization, where coils made from materials like polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) or acrylic cement are inserted into the fallopian tubes where they stop the flow of blood vessels supplying the ovaries. These two treatments prevent hormones from reaching the uterus, thus stopping menstruation and reducing chances for other abnormalities like fibroids or tumors.

Are there preventative measures for an Ovarian Cyst?

Ovarian cysts can be prevented in certain cases by following a few straightforward actions. 

  • Eating healthy, including fresh vegetables in your diet will help to decrease the chances of you developing a cyst. 
  • Increase your fiber intake by eating whole grains and fruits so that food passes through the digestive system more quickly. 

If you have already been diagnosed with an ovarian cyst it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions such as;

  • Make sure you take all medications as prescribed. 
  • It is also crucial to avoid alcohol consumption because this can cause further irritation of the cyst. 
  • Try not to use tampons while menstruating because they may irritate the ovaries and cause discomfort. Instead, use pads or menstrual cups. 
  • You should always talk to your doctor before going on any type of birth control pill because it could be the underlying cause of your cyst. 

What happens to women With Ovarian Cysts?

The long-term outlook for women with ovarian cysts varies depending on the type of cyst. Some types of ovarian cysts are benign, which means that they will go away without treatment. However, some types can develop into cancerous tumors so it’s important to find out the cause of your cysts to plan the best course of treatment.

A ruptured cyst may need emergency surgery if there is a chance of infection or hemorrhage. It is also important to avoid having unprotected sex during menstruation or pregnancy because of the risk of transmitting sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

If you have any symptoms like pelvic pain, irregular periods, spotting between periods, abdominal pain or pressure, backache, or constipation you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Women who are diagnosed with ovarian cysts usually experience relief from their symptoms once their cysts are removed.


The symptoms associated with ovarian cysts include abdominal pain and pressure, bloating or feeling full very fast after meals, and painful intercourse among others. It is important to mention that different women might experience different symptoms from one another which is why it’s best to speak with a health professional about what yours might mean. 

When examining the causes of ovarian cysts, the doctors must look at a woman’s family history. Women who have had other family members who had ovarian cysts such as their mother or sisters are more likely to develop them themselves than those without a family history. Just do not forget to go for those screenings.


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