What are Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian Cysts are Common and Usually Harmless, But Can Be Painful

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Ovarian cysts occur more often than you may realize, often dissolving without the need for medical intervention and without symptoms. When symptoms do occur you may feel a dull ache or a sense of fullness or pressure in your abdomen; ovarian cysts are just one condition that may cause pain during sexual intercourse.

What Are Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian cysts are sacs or pockets filled with fluid in the ovary. You have two ovaries, one on each side of your uterus. Eggs develop in the ovaries and are released each month during your menstrual cycle during your child-bearing years. 

Ovarian cysts are common and most women will experience them in their lifetime. Many are painless and harmless and will disappear on their own. 

However, if a cyst does rupture, they can cause serious issues and can become extremely painful. 

Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts can become large and cause discomfort, including the following symptoms:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pressure on your bladder

If the pain becomes severe or you develop a fever or begin to vomit, seek out a doctor right away. It may signal a medical emergency that will require immediate intervention. 

Diagnosing and Treating a Cyst

Your doctor will likely advice you to undergo some tests, including a pelvic exam. To identify what kind of cyst you have, your doctor may ask you to take a pregnancy test or a pelvic ultrasound. 

Depending on the type of cyst you have, there are several different approaches to treatment:

  • Waiting and Watching: Most cysts will go away on their own, so if you experience minimal symptoms and the cyst appears to be small, waiting to see if it clears up on its own is a common treatment measure. 
  • Birth control pills: If you experience pain from cysts often, your doctor may prescribe birth control pills. The reduce the amount of cysts formed each month. 
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery to remove the cysts may be necessary. 

If you experience pelvic pain, talk to your doctor about ovarian cysts. They are typically harmless, but it's better to seek out medical attention just in case. 

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