What Causes a Bleeding Ovarian Cyst?

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  • Written By: Misty Wiser
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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The causes of a bleeding ovarian cyst are dependent on the type of cyst that develops on the ovary of a woman of childbearing years. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacks that can form in many areas of the body. Some ovarian cysts swell in size and can rupture, causing vaginal bleeding. Pelvic pain and bleeding between periods are abnormal signs indicative of an ovarian cyst, and requires an appointment with a physician.

Symptoms of an abnormal ovarian cyst include pain on one or both sides of the abdomen. When an ovarian cyst forms, most women will have sharp pains and feel cramping within the pelvic region. Difficulty or pain when urinating and during sexual intercourse is also a sign of an ovarian cyst. The menstrual cycle may become irregular or the woman may experience spotty bleeding between periods. A bleeding ovarian cyst will cause a heavier blood flow than a normal menstrual cycle.

Normal ovarian cysts are formed each month as part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The egg develops inside a follicle, which protects the egg while the uterus prepares itself for receiving the egg. After the egg is expelled from the follicle, the follicle will normally dissolve. In some cases, the egg is not released and the follicle remains, forming a cyst on the ovary. These cysts are not usually painful and are called functional ovarian cysts.


Sometimes follicular cysts can grow to a large size causing the cyst to rupture and bleed. A bleeding cyst is diagnosed with an ultrasound or a computer tomography (CT) scan. Some ovarian cysts do not require any treatment other than over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, or even just a warm compress on the abdomen. Occasionally, a large ovarian cyst may need to be removed. In order to shorten the healing time, the surgeon will remove the cyst by performing a minimally invasive procedure called laparoscopic surgery.

A bleeding ovarian cyst can be caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It is a disease that involves many small cysts on the ovaries. The burst ovarian cyst can cause pain on one side of the abdomen as well as vaginal bleeding. PCOS is also associated with other metabolic issues like diabetes.

Women with a bleeding ovarian cyst may become anemic due to the rapid loss of blood from a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst. Removal of the ruptured ovarian cyst may be enough to restore the blood hemoglobin levels to within a normal range. Some physicians will prescribe oral contraceptives because these pills prevent ovulation and may inhibit the development of ovarian cysts.


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Post 9

Ive been having some severe pain in my lower left abs. I've had one tube and ovary removed in 2015. I've told my doctors about the pain and heavy brownish bleeding in between cycles. But my doctors and staff think I'm lying and I over heard someone saying I'm crazy. They're not going through and feeling my pain. Now I'm in pain as I write. It feels so good to find others who are having the same issues and feel what I'm facing and understand this illness.

Post 7

I am a 30 year old female. I recently had surgery to remove a cyst on my Left ovary back in April of 2015. I have been suffering from abnormal periods for nearly half of my life. Long story short, the surgery went great. Now it's August of 2015 and the pain has come back on my side and lower back pains I also been having vaginal bleeding off and on since May like every other day. Sometimes I bleed heavy for 30 minutes and it completely goes away like nothing ever happened. I am very concerned.

I have been told that cysts can come back. I didn't think this soon, though. I also wonder why I am having this crazy break through bleeding for 30 minutes. Then the bleeding just stops! Please, if anyone can shed some light on this situation please comment. Thank you!

Post 5

I had some heavy bleeding on March 13th for a couple of hours. I had a hysterectomy in 2005, and had everything taking out except my ovaries. I went to the doctor the following week. He did a pelvic exam, and I heard nothing, then this last week the ultrasound saw a small cyst on my right ovary. The doctor didn't seem to be worried, but I'm having constant pain and pressure on my bladder? I've had endometriosis, but it doesn't show up on a sonogram.

Post 4

I have a big cyst on my left ovary and a small cyst on my right ovary. I have had them since 2006. I know I have had them since then because I get an ultrasound every two years and when I have gone to a doctor to have the cysts removed. No doctor ever wants to help me remove them and they never believe me when I say I have had them since 2006. They just say that it must be a new one, but it is not.

I have abnormal periods, with two or three days of extremely heavy bleeding then ab almost non existent brown period for a week or longer after that. I get nauseated and

cramp really horribly when my period is extremely light.

I can't find a doctor to help me rid these things from my body. Help me. I have also had auto immune symptoms ever since my pregnancy and preeclampsia. I get vasculitus in my neck arteries and the back of my head. I also have chronic fatigue and tachycardia. I get bouts of random arthritis "symptoms" that come about every six months and then vanish. I am not doing well. I also had a test about two years ago that showed my estrogen was high but I never was given any help for it. I need help so bad.

Post 3

This is one of the reasons that women need to pay attention to what is going on with their bodies and to speak up if there is something different happening and they are worried about it. It sounds like ovarian cyst symptoms could be mistaken for a heavy period or something similar and I've had occasions where I've gone to the doctor and told them that I've been in pain and that my period is too heavy and they've essentially told me that it's just a woman's lot in life and that I shouldn't be so over dramatic.

It turned out that I have endometriosis, rather than cysts, but it took a long time to find a doctor who would

take that seriously. And if a woman is bleeding from an internal injury, they really need help right away.

So make sure you have someone there who won't take no for an answer, even if you have to be that someone yourself.

Post 2

@browncoat - A friend of mine had somewhat similar symptoms, but when they took a look they realized that the cyst was actually quite large and they ended up taking her in to surgery anyway.

She was terrified, mostly because she was worried that it would affect her chances of having a baby one day, but it was a long time ago and she's had two by now, so it must not have damaged anything too badly.

Post 1

I had a little cyst burst once and it was more annoying than anything. It definitely hurt a lot, in the region just around the bottom ridge of my pelvis, but the pain wasn't unbearable. I bled a bit and there was a bit of pus as well, but it didn't seem to be a big deal.

It was obviously not a very large cyst though, as the doctor told me that he's had to rush women to the hospital because they were bleeding so heavily. So if you think you've had an ovarian cyst burst, don't hesitate to get treatment.

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