What Type Of Pain Do Ovarian Cysts Cause?

What Sort Of Pain Do Ovarian Cysts Cause?

Ovarian cysts can cause:

1. A dull vague pelvic pain that lasts for months. It may be limited to the abdomen or it can spread to the legs and lower back. You may have a feeling of 'heaviness'.
2. Tenesmus, a termed used to describe straining during a bowel movement or urination.
3. Sharp stabbing pain (usually on one side of the abdomen) mid-menstrual cycle at the time of ovulation.
4. Intense pain if a large cyst is pushed around during a pelvic examination or sexual intercourse.
5. Severe pain, on the scale of childbirth, if a large cyst ruptures, twists or bleeds. See, what causes ovarian cysts to rupture? Pain may also be accompanied by vomiting, fever and symptoms of shock. This is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.
5. No pain at all. Many women are only diagnosed through routine health screenings. See, what are the signs of ovarian cysts?.

Personal Stories

I had an ultrasound recently and was diagnosed with a cyst on my left ovary. The doctor said it explained why I was getting pain inside my vagina - mostly little pulses or shoots of pain which he said could be ‘referred pain’. It also hurts inside my butt -but I'm being checked for endometriosis because it seems more likely an explanation for pain in the rectum.
Jessy, Brighton

I have polycystic ovary syndrome and my ovaries are covered in small cysts. They don't cause pain in my vagina but they do cause a sharp stabbing pain (like being stabbed with a knife) in my ovaries.
Sasha, Essex

I've had recurring cysts over the years and talked to my doctors about which symptoms are related to them. He agreed that my tender breasts, pain when I pass a bowel movement, lower back pain, pain during sex, stabbing pain in the rectum and horrible sharp pains were all possible symptoms. I find taking regular hot baths helps to sooth things.
Charlie, Fairfax

I had a huge cyst, nearly 12cm surgically removed from my left ovary. Amazingly I didn't feel any pain, except the odd sharp stabbing pain during my periods for the last two years.
Helen, Boston

I was diagnosed with a dermoid cyst three years ago, it was on the right ovary which had swollen to the size of a large apple. Yet, I didn't feel any symptoms. The only thing I noticed was that I needed to pee more because it was pressing down on my bladder. It was only discovered during a routine screening. I had the cyst removed surgically and my ovary was left intact. I became pregnant a few months later so it didn't affect my fertility.
Ann, Texas
See also, Do ovarian cysts usually need to be surgically removed?

A few years ago when I was pregnant, the doctor discovered a large cyst on my right ovary during a prenatal ultrasound scan. He said there was nothing they could do about it until after the birth, and that probably it would disappear once my hormones settled down again [see ovarian cysts in pregnancy]. The only reason to have it removed the doctor said, then was if it was causing me pain. I asked what sort of pain could I expect. He just said, 'you'll know when you feel it'. So I gave birth to my baby girl and didn't think about it too much more. I was experiencing a constant tummy pain and was cramping when I passed a bowel movement, but I put it down to recovering from pregnancy. Surgery was only necessary if I was in real pain he had said. I was soon to find out what that meant. About 8 months later my husband rushed to me emergency after I collapsed on the kitchen floor. I was vomiting, dizzy and suffering a pain that was twenty times greater anything I had experienced in childbirth. At first the doctors assumed it must be appendicitis. When I mentioned cysts, they investigated this immediately. It turned out that the cyst had grown substantially and burst. My ovary also had to be removed. Basically, because my doctor hadn't kept an eye on the cyst, or told me what warning symptoms to look out for, I lost my ovary.
Caroline, New York

Related Questions
Can ovarian cysts cause a missed period?
Can ovarian cysts cause infertility?
Contraceptive choice: does the coil increase the risk of ovarian cysts?
Locate the ovaries, diagrams: The female body and the human body.
Symptom checker: Reproductive system disorders.

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

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