Throughout a woman’s childbearing years, the ovaries produce the female hormone estrogen, and release eggs for a potential pregnancy.

It’s not unusual for an ovary to develop a fluid-filled sac, called a cyst, on its surface. Most ovarian cysts are harmless. However, occasionally an ovarian cyst can become uncomfortably large. It may twist, rupture and bleed, causing pain that may range from sharp and sudden to a gradual, persistent ache.

Ovarian Cyst Symptoms

The most common symptoms of an ovarian cyst include the following:

  • Pain in your pelvis, abdomen or back
  • Abdominal pain during the middle of your menstrual cycle
  • A delayed or painful period
  • Vaginal bleeding between your menstrual periods
  • Pain during intercourse

Because some ovarian cyst symptoms are similar to those of other gynecological conditions, it's important to get an accurate diagnosis. 

Mercy specialists will consider your specific symptoms and perform an examination to look for cysts. Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound exam to more closely evaluate the cyst.

Additionally, blood tests can help your doctor understand if hormone levels are contributing to your cysts. Cysts on the ovaries may be a symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can lead to hormonal imbalances.

Ovarian Cyst Treatments

Most ovarian cysts go away on their own, but if not, you may need additional care. Your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes or hormone therapy to reduce the chances of new cysts developing.

In rare cases, ovarian cysts may be a sign of ovarian cancer. This is more likely among women who have gone through menopause. If your cysts are cancerous, or if they are painful or cause other significant symptoms, you may need surgery. Mercy surgeons are highly trained in this type of surgery and perform many procedures using minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques, which may mean smaller incisions and a faster recovery.

No matter what type of treatment you may need, your Mercy team is here to provide the best possible care and support to get you back to good health.

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