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12 Ruptured Ovarian Cyst Symptoms and Treatment Options

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What happens when an ovarian cyst bursts?

Ovarian cysts often don’t cause any trouble at all, but they can if they rupture or don’t stop growing. Most cysts are small and don’t cause symptoms, according to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health. But if they grow large enough, they can cause pain in your lower abdomen on the side of the cyst, along with bloating or a sense of pressure.

Dermoid cysts and cystadenomas in particular can become pretty large, the Mayo Clinic says, which, in addition to causing the above symptoms, can cause the ovary to shift from its usual position, increasing the chances it will twist on itself in a painful issue known as an ovarian torsion6. This can lead to nausea and vomiting, along with pain.

And if your ovarian cyst actually bursts, as it releases fluid into your body the pain can definitely make you take notice. Although you might be unaware as this happens, sometimes it can cause pain because it irritates the lining of your abdomen, Stephanie V. Blank, M.D.7, director of women’s health at Mount Sinai Downtown Chelsea and professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF.

What causes ovarian cysts and ruptures?

As we mentioned, most ovarian cysts (as in, those functional ones) develop as a result of your menstrual cycle, the Mayo Clinic says. Other types of cysts are much less common. And since certain ovarian cysts, like cystadenomas and endometriomas, are more likely to become large, that can also make them more likely to rupture.

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Ovarian cysts can rupture randomly, or they can break open due to intense physical activity like sex. “We often see someone come to the ER at night with terrible pain that came on all of a sudden during intercourse from a ruptured ovarian cyst,” Dr. Dweck says.

What does it feel like to have an ovarian cyst burst?

When an ovarian cyst ruptures, the fluid inside of it ends up in your pelvic cavity, where it’s usually reabsorbed over time, explains Jason James, M.D.8, medical director at Miami’s FemCare Ob-Gyn. If you’re lucky, as we mentioned, you might not even feel a cyst as it bursts. For some people, though, ovarian cyst pain can be very sudden, scary, and excruciating.

Per the Mayo Clinic, signs of a ruptured ovarian cyst include:

  • Dull or sharp pain on one side of your lower abdomen
  • A feeling of fullness or heaviness in your abdomen
  • Needing to urinate more often
  • Bloating
  • Pain that comes with a fever
  • Pain accompanied by vomiting
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Referred shoulder pain
  • Lightheadedness or weakness
  • Breathing at a rapid rate
  • Chilly, clammy skin
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding

Many of these ruptured ovarian cyst symptoms aren’t anything to really worry about, Dr. Dweck says, like pain that isn’t too severe and a sensation of heaviness or bloating. Remember: Some women will feel a little bit of discomfort on one side of their pelvis when they ovulate, which is called mittelschmerz pain, per the Mayo Clinic9. If this happens to you, you may notice it around day 14 of your cycle each month.

When should you go to the E.R. if you have ovarian cyst symptoms?

There are definitely times when a ruptured ovarian cyst is a sign you should see a doctor ASAP. That includes having a fever, vomiting, feeling weak, breathing too quickly, having clammy skin, and unexpected vaginal bleeding, per the Mayo Clinic.

And you can take an even broader approach. Dr. Ghodsi’s rule of thumb: If you experience a sudden abdominal pain that isn’t relieved by over-the-counter medicine, call your doctor or go to the emergency room. It could be a ruptured ovarian cyst or something entirely different, such as appendicitis, an inflammation of the appendix that can cause intense pain on the lower right side of your abdomen10. A kidney stone, which occurs when minerals and salts crystalize to form hard deposits inside your kidneys, is also a possibility. When your body is ready to pass these stones through urination, you may feel severe pain on either side of your lower abdomen, in your back, below your ribs, or even near your groin11.

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Source: Self

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