Ovarian cysts are fluid or tissue-filled sacs within or on the surface of an ovary. Ovarian cysts are benign, follicular cysts that is usually recurrent with your cycle and need no further management,” says Dr Taraneh Shirazian, a gynaecologist at NYU Langone Health.
However some women experience cysts that don’t go away on their own, and may become cancerous, thereby requiring surgery.
Most symptoms of ovarian cyst overlap with those of other gynaecological issues like uterine fibroids and even PMS.
If you notice one or more of these six ovarian cyst symptoms, you should consult your doctor.
1. Bloated belly
Belly swelling is an imprecise symptom, but it can be related to ovarian cysts depending on their size. According to Dr Eloise Chapman-Davis, a gynaecological oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian:
“Most women experience cysts under 10cm. But some cysts can grow to be very big, like the size of a watermelon.”
“Many women will write that off as weight gain, but abdominal pain and bloating could be the result of a mass growing in the stomach.”
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Unexplained weight gain concentrated only in your stomach may be a sign of ovarian cyst.
2. Persistent pelvic pain
Another common symptom of ovarian cyst is pain in the lower right or left side of the lower pelvis, right where the ovaries are located. Dr Shirazian says “If you have a larger growth somewhere where there isn’t supposed to be one, you’re going to feel it.
“You might feel it when you exercise, you might feel it when you’re sexually active, but it will be a pain in that specific place that is constant and stays even after your menstrual cycle goes away.”
You may be suffering from ovarian torsion if the pain becomes unbearable. (This occurs when a cyst becomes larger and more mobile and twists in on itself, cutting off its blood supply, leading to excruciating pain).
3. Pain during sex
Ovarian cyst may cause painful sexual intercourse, especially if you feel the pain on one side versus the other. According to Dr Chapman-Davis, “some cysts can fall behind the uterus when they become big, and in that case are sitting right by your cervix”.
Endometriomas (ovarian cysts related to endometriosis) can also cause painful penetrative sex because they’re located closer to the cervix.
READ ALSO: 6 Signs of Ovarian Cancer
4. Constantly feeling full
Ovarian cysts can cause a feeling a heaviness in the abdomen. “A cyst is a mass, and it’s occupying space, which can give you that feeling of pressure,” says Dr Shirazian.
If you don’t have any issues with incontinences or bowel movements, but you’ve been feeling this way for two to three weeks, consult your doctor.
- Back or leg pain
Ovarian cysts can compress the nerves that run along back of your pelvis leading to back or leg pain says Dr Chapman-Davis. Since there isn’t no space in your pelvis, when a cyst gets too large, depending on where it is in the pelvis. If your doctor can’t diagnose the cause of your sciatica, it might be time to explore ovarian cysts.
6. Frequent urge to pee but maybe can’t go
The feeling of frequent urge to urinate all the time is another major symptom of ovarian cysts, according to Dr Chapman-Davis.
You may feel the urgent need to urinate frequently if the cyst is pushing against your bladder. Some women feel that they need to go more frequently, but it’s difficult for them to go due to an obstruction by the cyst.
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