Telltale Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts
Bloating and Painful Bowel Movements
As an ovarian cyst grows, women may experience episodes of bloating and may feel pain or discomfort when passing bowel movements. These symptoms are a direct result of the cysts pressing against the bowels. While discomfort can occur at any time, it tends to be more prevalent prior to or during menstruation.
Painful Sexual Intercourse
Women with growing ovarian cysts may also feel pain during sexual intercourse due to pressure on the internal pelvic organs. The pain is referred to as dyspareunia and can range from mild to severe pain or pressure. The pelvic pain may also travel to the lower back or the thighs.
When ovarian cysts press against the bladder, excessive urination is common. Frequent urination can also indicate problems with the bladder or kidneys, so it is important for women with unusual urinary symptoms to seek medical attention, especially if symptoms are accompanied by pelvic or back pain.
Symptoms That Require Immediate Medical Attention
While it is always a good idea for women to consult a physician if they suspect ovarian cysts, certain symptoms cannot wait until the next scheduled annual exam and must be assessed immediately. Symptoms such as severe pelvic pain, vomiting, fever and accelerated breathing can indicate a ruptured cyst or twisted fallopian tube. These conditions can cause severe complications and require prompt medical treatment.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled tissue sacs that develop on the ovaries. They are typically benign in nature. In many cases, ovarian cysts resolve on their own without treatment, and oftentimes, do not cause symptoms. However, in certain cases, cysts can grow large enough to cause a variety of telltale symptoms.
Certain types of ovarian cysts can also cause a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome. Women with PCOS develop multiple small cysts inside their ovaries which can lead to overgrowth of the ovaries and infertility if left untreated. While it is important for women to schedule annual pap smears and pelvic exams to ensure optimal reproductive health, understanding the symptoms of potential ovarian cysts can allow for timely detection and help to prevent complications.
While ovarian cysts are extremely common in women and often resolve without causing any serious problems, overgrown cysts and multiple cysts can lead to a host of complications if not assessed and treated. Back pain, nausea and cramps can often be mistaken for run-of-the-mill premenstrual syndrome, so it is always important for women to advise their physicians of any new or unusual symptoms. In many cases, women may be instructed to take a "watch and wait" approach before treatment is required.