Ovarian cysts symptoms: Are ovarian cysts always cancerous?


Ovarian cysts are very common and occur naturally. They usually go away in a few months without any treatment, but they can be cancerous and require treatment immediately. Express.co.uk chatted to Ashfaq Khan, consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist at Harley Street Gynaecology www.harleystreetgynaecology.com to find out everything you need to know about ovarian cysts.

Ovarian cysts are relatively common, with up to 10 percent of women expected to experience this condition.

Often, the woman has no knowledge that the cysts are there as they cause no discomfort.

However, it’s important to know the signs of ovarian cysts because they can be cancerous.

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Ovarian cysts symptoms

An ovarian cyst usually only causes symptoms if it splits (ruptures), is very large or blocks the blood supply to the ovaries.

In these cases, you may have:

  • pelvic pain – this can range from a dull, heavy sensation to a sudden, severe and sharp pain
  • pain during sex
  • difficulty emptying your bowels
  • a frequent need to urinate
  • heavy periods, irregular periods or lighter periods than normal
  • bloating and a swollen tummy
  • feeling very full after only eating a little
  • difficulty getting pregnant – although fertility is usually unaffected by ovarian cysts

See a GP if you have symptoms of an ovarian cyst.

If you have sudden, severe pelvic pain you should immediately contact either:

  • a GP or local out-of-hours service
  • NHS 111
  • your nearest A&E

Other cysts such as cystadenomas and teratomas can also form on ovaries, but it’s important to remember that only around 10 percent of women will ever need surgery to remove a cyst.

Of the cysts that are removed, only up to one in five will prove to be cancerous.

Mr Khan said: “Pain in the groin or pain during sexual intercourse are the commonest symptoms from a larger cyst.

“If you experience these symptoms, it is vital that you make an appointment to see your GP or gynaecologist as soon as possible.”


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