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What Is the Connection Between Ovarian Cysts and Back Pain?

The female reproductive system, including the ovaries.
A healthy ovary and one from a woman with PCOS.
Ovarian cysts can cause a woman's normal menstrual cycle to become irregular.
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  • Written By: Sarah Sullins
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 26 July 2014
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Ovarian cysts and back pain are often connected because a growth on the ovary can sometimes cause discomfort in the lower back. This pain may be caused by the size, position, or growth of the cyst. It may also be determined by the number of cysts that a woman has on her ovaries.

Every month, cyst-like structures form on a woman’s ovaries called follicles. They are responsible for producing estrogen and progesterone, and they also release an egg when a woman ovulates. If these follicles keep growing, they are considered to be cysts.

Most women have cysts on their ovaries and never know it. This is because most of them are small, do not cause any trouble, and go away on their own. Some women, though, have bigger cysts that develop and which cause painful and sometimes scary symptoms. She may have a late period, a heavy one, or none at all. Those who have ovarian cysts and back pain may also experience pain in the abdomen or pelvic region, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, breast tenderness, and bloating.

Many times, back pain and other symptoms are thought to be related to different issues, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, an ectopic pregnancy, diverticulitis, or appendicitis. Some women who experience a missed period, backache, and breast tenderness may think that they are pregnant. Cancer of the ovaries can also produce the same kinds of symptoms, and will generally be ruled out with tests done by a medical professional.

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Cysts that continue to grow will often push against other organs in the body. This can result in back pain, as well as causing a woman to have problems using the restroom. She may have to urinate all of the time or may not be able to urinate well at all. Pressure may be felt on the bowels, making it hard for a woman to have a bowel movement.

Another connection between ovarian cysts and back pain occurs when a cyst ruptures. This can cause internal bleeding, which results in sharp pain near the ovaries. This pain is sometimes felt in the back, depending on where the ruptured cyst was located.

Some types of ovarian cysts produce more pain than others and are more dangerous. All cysts that cause symptoms will most likely need to be evaluated and treated by a medical professional. Early detection of harmful growths through regular checkups can often help treatment go more smoothly.

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Discuss this Article

fify
Post 3

@turquoise-- It's not possible to make any generalizations on this topic because everyone is different. Plus, cysts come in different sizes and the size does affect how symptomatic it is. In some people, ovarian cysts cause no symptoms; in others, it causes dull pain; and in others, it causes severe pain.

It can also be confusing because sometimes the pain comes and goes and it can also radiate to the entire pelvic area or the thighs and legs.

fBoyle
Post 2

@turquoise-- I have a complex ovarian cyst and it causes both abdominal and back pain. The pain is definitely not dull, so I don't think pain only occurs when the cyst ruptures. It can cause pain in general.

Have you seen a gynecologist and have you had an ultrasound? You can't know if your back pain is due to an ovarian cyst without an ultrasound of your ovaries.

turquoise
Post 1

I have severe back pain, where my ovaries are located. I heard that cysts only cause a dull pain and severe pain might be due to a ruptured ovarian cyst. Is this true?

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