Can Ovarian Cysts Cause A Missed Period?

Can Ovarian Cysts Cause You To Miss Your Period?

Yes ovarian cysts can cause missed periods as well as other symptoms that are so similar to pregnancy you may wonder if you are pregnant. Many women with cysts report:

1. Missed or late periods.
2. Spotting between menstrual cycles.
3. Dizziness.
4. Tiredness.
5. Nausea or vomiting.
6. Bloating and menstrual type cramps.
See also, what are the symptoms of ovarian cysts?

Which Type Of Cyst Causes Missed Periods?

Functional cysts are the most common type of growths on the ovaries. There are two types of functional cysts: follicular and corpus luteum. A change in menstrual cycles is NOT common with follicular cysts which usually remain small and disappear within a few weeks. It is more common with corpus luteum cysts - these usually only occur on one ovary and are associated with one-sided pain. Other types of cysts can also caused irregular periods. Women for example with cysts caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are particularly vulnerable to irregular periods (medical term oligomenorrhea) and fertility problems. While cysts caused by endometriosis (called chocolate cysts because they are filled with blood) can cause painful, heavy periods - however they tend not be associated with missed periods (see, can endometriosis cause missed periods?).

Personal Stories

I was diagnosed with two large cysts after months of skipping periods. One is the size of a baseball and is surrounding my left ovary. The doctor said that if a cyst is particularly large or in a certain area of the ovary, the ovary can't release an egg and so it messes up ovulation. I've been having pregnancy symptoms (although 3 pregnancy tests show negative) like bloating, nausea, dizziness and backache. I'm having surgery to remove it next week. Mind you, I enjoyed not having periods!
Helen, Wisconsin.

I was about 2 weeks late for my last period and also experiencing early pregnancy symptoms like headaches, nausea, throwing up and tiredness. I've taken 3 pregnancy tests, and all have been negative. I have a cyst on my right ovary and my doctor said this is what is causing all the problems. I don't know how big the cyst is yet, I have to get it checked out and probably surgically removed.
Sasha, Brighton.

I've had a reoccurring right sided ovarian cyst for the past 6 years. My doctor explained that every month we ovulate from an alternative ovary - one month an egg is released from the left ovary, the following month from the right and so on. Every time I ovulate from the right ovary my periods are usually messed up - either they are very heavy or they don’t come at all.
Karen, Fairfax.

Related Questions
Planning to have a baby? Can ovarian cysts cause infertility?
Cause of severe pain and burst cysts: What causes ovarian cysts to rupture?
Other possible medical reasons: What can cause a change in my menstrual cycle?

When A Missed Period Is Ovarian Cancer

Sara still hadn't a period 10 months after giving birth to her last child. It started to worry her and when a pelvic examination didn't reveal any clue she pressed her doctor for an ultrasound. A few weeks later she received devastating news. At the age of 27 she was given a cervical cancer diagnosis. During the ultrasound they found a large lump the size of a grapefruit on her left ovary. She was taken into surgery the following day, and was told that it was probably only an ovary cyst. They had to remove the ovary and fallopian tube and she thought that was the end of the problem (see the female body for location of major organs). A few weeks later she returned for her follow up appointment and was told that the cyst was in fact cancerous. Although some symptoms of ovarian cancer are widely recognized, like bloating and pelvic pain, most women are unaware that missed periods are another symptom. Sara and her partner were devastated and she was right to be concerned. It is a very serious disease and only 46 percent of women will be alive 5 after diagnosis. If it is caught in the early stages the survival rate is high (89 percent), but unfortunately 3 out of 4 women are only diagnosed once it has spread. Sara's case was unusual in that cervical cancer tends to strike postmenopausal women and one tell-tale sign in older women is suddenly finding themselves bleeding when periods have stopped. Sara underwent chemotherapy and has since gone on to have another child, despite the loss of an ovary and fallopian tube. She returns regularly to the cancer center for tests to check for signs of a recurrence. Nearly 70 percent of women have a recurrence, so it is a constant worry. The risk of a recurrence depends largely on the stage of the original diagnosis - see ovarian cancer recurrence. Fortunately, so far, Sara has received the all-clear.

Key Signs Of Ovarian Cancer

Sara said she doesn't recall any symptoms other than missed periods. She was feeling tired but put that down to having a baby and she thought her bloated tummy was because she hadn't lost her baby weight. Here is a list of the most reported symptoms:

• Missed period (in younger women) and bleeding in older women.
• Pelvic pain.
• A persistent bloated tummy.
• The need to urinate more frequently or urgently.
• Feeling fully quickly even after a light meal.
• Excessive body or facial hair growth.
• Nausea, vomiting or indigestion.
Painful intercourse.
• Constant tiredness.

Related Articles
Recommended health screenings for women: Essential screenings for every woman.
Main causes of death in women: What are you likely to die of? Top 10 diseases that kill.
Reproductive system disorders: Causes of vagina pain, bleeding and brown spotting.

• Need more information? See, Guide to Ovarian Cysts.
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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