What are Some Ovarian Cyst Symptoms?

A healthy ovary and one with ovarian cysts.
The female reproductive system, including the ovaries.
Ovarian cyst symptoms can be similar to those of appendicitis.
A fever can be a serious indication of a ruptured ovarian cyst.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: K. Pike
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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There are many things that may indicate you have an ovarian cyst, yet ovarian cyst symptoms are not always present. Some women have an occasional cyst without being aware of it, if these cysts are small they may recess without pain or problem. Ovarian cyst symptoms can sometimes be difficult to recognize because they may be similar to symptoms of other conditions involving the abdomen, like appendicitis. Other conditions affect the reproductive system and have symptoms similar to an ovarian cyst. These conditions include ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, cancer of the ovaries and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Ovarian cyst symptoms may be present to greater or lesser degree in people who have cysts. Women with ovarian cysts may also experience a different number of symptoms, depending on her body. As a whole, symptoms can include irregular menstrual cycle, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, extreme pain in the abdominal region, painful bowel movements, a feeling of fullness in the stomach or bladder, and pain during intercourse.

There are also some additional ovarian cyst symptoms that mean you need to seek emergency medical care. These can occur if an ovarian cyst suddenly ruptures, which can be life threatening. Symptoms of potential rupture include severe pain in the abdomen, which may be accompanied by vomiting or nausea and fever. A feeling of weakness or being lightheaded, and trouble breathing is also commonly experienced with ruptured cysts. Your skin may be cold or clammy and the pain in your abdomen may come in spasms or waves.


Most ovarian cyst symptoms that are not included in the list of emergency symptoms indicate that you should see your doctor soon. If you think have an ovarian cyst, call your doctor, who will probably schedule an appointment for you right away. Some cysts are not treated though you may need to have a couple of gynecological exams over a few months to be sure any cyst has recessed. Other cysts do need to be removed before they can rupture and create life-threatening emergencies.

Though many cysts are benign, a doctor may recommend removal or biopsy of especially large cysts to rule out ovarian cancer. It does bear repeating that most women unknowingly have cysts at one time or another. Having ovarian cyst symptoms doesn’t mean you should be overly concerned. It just means you should see your doctor promptly to make sure you get proper medical advice and care.


Discuss this Article

Post 9

I occasionally have irregular menstrual cycles. I'm having one right now that has lasted almost two months. I've been to have a pap test done twice and both times there was too much blood for the doctor to give me one.

Within the past two weeks, I have been experiencing severe sudden cramps that will go away within five or ten minutes, lightheadedness, and weakness throughout my entire body. I'm starting to think that I have a cyst that has ruptured but do not know what to do. Any advice is helpful.

Post 8

Over the past three months, a few days before I get my period, I have been having severe lower right pain in my abdomen along with vomiting, diarrhea, and hot and cold spells.

I went to the ER on Friday and they performed a CT scan and said I have a cyst on each of my ovaries and to follow up with an ultrasound at my regular doctor. So five days later I had a pelvic exam which came back negative. They said there were no signs of any cysts. What does this mean? Do I have cysts or not?. I'm confused.

Post 7

I went to the ER with terrible symptoms (thought it was kidney stones) and was diagnosed with a "small" ovarian cyst. The diagnostic papers said "no cause was determined for the pain". What?

My symptoms include: lower back pain, abdominal pain, bloating, mild nausea, worsening menstrual cramps and weight gain.

It's been about two months since diagnosis, and I need to follow up. My symptoms have not gone away at all. I'm a late-20s female with a healthy BMI and no family history of cancer, but I'm scared.

I've always had terrible cramps and strongly suspect endometriosis, but this is a new/different type of pain that came on suddenly.

Post 5

My doctor says that I shouldn't be feeling pain with a cyst and yet today my pain was an 8 through some parts of the day. I mean, it goes away, but man when it's here, it is here! I never know when to go to the ER. My cyst is 4cm on one and 3cm on the other.

Post 4

What would be the signs of a ruptured ovarian cyst? I know that one of the main ruptured ovarian cyst symptoms is pain, but are there others?

I have been told that I'm at a risk for hemorrhagic ovarian cysts, so I'm trying to find out about the symptoms so I can be on the alert.

Can you tell me some of the common hemorrhagic ovarian cyst symptoms, or direct me to a site that can?

Post 3

My mother was recently diagnosed with a complex ovarian cyst, but she didn't have any symptoms. I had read that most of the complex ovarian cyst symptoms were pain, a feeling of fullness or pressure (like you have to pee), and irregular menstrual periods.

The periods didn't apply to her since she had been through menopause, but she said that she never felt any symptoms like you'd expect, or never felt like something was wrong. Her waistline had gotten bigger, sure, but she thought she was just gaining weight.

So just remember, you might want to start getting regular gynological check-ups if you're at risk for ovarian cysts, even if you're post-menopausal. It's much better to keep a check on it and avoid being surprised.

Post 2

Very nicely done -- ovarian cysts can be such a serious condition, but many women don't realize just how much at risk they are.

I always find this a particularly sad condition because of the symptoms. For example, did you know that the symptoms of an ovarian cyst can look like pregnancy symptoms? It's true, the ovarian cyst symptoms and pregnancy symptoms can be the same.

That is, someone with an ovarian cyst can have nausea, vomiting, and breast tenderness, just like many women experience in the early months of pregnancy.

I think that there are few things more crushing than to see a woman come in to get tested for pregnancy and find out that she's got an ovarian cyst. It's like thinking you're going to get a Christmas present but end up with a bucket of mud.

So just bear that in mind, if you have had other symptoms of ovarian cysts -- irregular period, abdominal pain, or a feeling of pressure in your abdomen -- along with pregnancy symptoms, then see your doctor. Though you may be pregnant, you could also have an ovarian cyst. Knowing the signs and symptoms can save you a lot of heartache.

Post 1

Women do have ovarian cysts on and off, and are not aware of it. However, if a cyst persists and does not shrink, it might be time to remove it.

Water retention in the abdomen is a sign that something is wrong with the ovary, not just a simple cyst. If you can not button your pants, do not automatically assume you are gaining weight. It might be something more serious. Have regular checkups.

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