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Ovarian Cyst


An ovarian cyst

is a sac that grows on an ovary. This sac usually contains fluid, but may sometimes have blood or tissue in it. Most ovarian cysts are harmless and go away without treatment in a few months. Some cysts can grow large, cause pain, or break open.

Signs and symptoms of an ovarian cyst:

You may not feel anything or know that you have a cyst, or you may have any of the following:

  • Severe pain in your lower abdomen and pelvic area that may be sharp and sudden or feel like a dull ache
  • Fullness and swelling in your lower abdomen
  • Infertility (not able to get pregnant)
  • Late or painful periods
  • Small amounts of bleeding between your periods
  • Lower abdominal or pelvic pain during sex
  • Nausea or vomiting

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You are too weak or dizzy to stand up.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe abdominal pain. The pain may be sharp and sudden.
  • You have a fever.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your periods are early, late, or more painful than usual.
  • You have bleeding from your vagina that is not your period.
  • You have abdominal pain all the time.
  • Your abdomen is swollen.
  • You have feelings of fullness, pressure, or discomfort in your abdomen.
  • You have trouble urinating or emptying your bladder completely.
  • You have pain during intercourse.
  • You are losing weight without trying.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


will depend on your age, test results, and the kind of cyst you have. Your healthcare provider may wait to see if your ovarian cyst will go away without treatment. You may be given hormone medicine, such as birth control pills. This medicine may help to control your periods, shrink a cyst, and prevent new cysts from forming. You may need surgery to have the cyst removed.

Apply heat to decrease pain and cramping:

Sit in a warm bath, or place a heating pad (turned on low) or a hot water bottle on your abdomen. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for as many days as directed.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Ovarian Cyst (Ambulatory Care)

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