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Symptoms of a Busted Ovarian Cyst: What You Need to Know

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 2/22/2010

A ruptured ovarian cyst can be very serious. Knowing the symptoms of a busted ovarian cyst is essential and those who know will know when to seek medical care.

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    An ovarian cyst is a small sac filled with fluid that develops in the ovaries. Most of these cysts are harmless, but some can cause pain, can bleed, or some can rupture, or bust. These cysts can affect women of all ages and most are benign and will go away on their own. If a woman experiences the symptoms of a busted ovarian cyst, she should consult their physician.

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    Busted Ovarian Cyst Symptoms

    symptoms of a busted ovarian cyst The symptoms of a busted ovarian cyst will vary from patient to patient, but if a woman is experiencing these symptoms she should contact their doctor for an exam. Women may feel pressure or have a feeling of fullness in their lower abdominal area. It can be a dull ache or it can be unbearable pain and the pain will come and go. Women may have menstrual irregularities, such as severe pain during their period, heavy flow, or late periods. Women may have difficulty having a complete bowel movement or passing urine. They may also experience pain during bowel movements or urination. Breast tenderness and excess weight gain can also occur.

    Pain is the most prominent symptom. It can also be felt during strenuous exercise, sexual intercourse, and physical activities. The pain may radiate to the inner thighs and the lower back.

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    Causes and Risk Factors

    Several things can cause ovarian cysts to form. These include Tamoxifen therapy, irregular menstrual cycles, hormonal imbalance, upper body fat distribution increase, hypothyroidism, infertility, and starting the menstrual cycle at 11 years of age or younger. Women who have a history of ovarian cysts also have an increased risk of developing them in the future.

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    Diagnosing a Busted Ovarian Cyst

    There are several diagnostic tests that can be performed to look for a ruptured ovarian cyst. The most commonly used test is an endovaginal ultrasound. This test is performed after a physical exam and patient history. This ultrasound will look at the pelvic organs and will be able to diagnose a cyst based on how it looks. CT scans and MRI imaging can also be done to assess and clarify what the ultrasound discovered. Other diagnostic tests include laparoscopic surgery, a blood test called serum CA-125 assay, a blood test to test a patient's hormone levels, pregnancy testing, and culdocentesis.

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    Ruptured Ovarian Cyst Treatment

    Treatment depends on several factors such as severity of the patient's condition, whether the ruptured cyst caused any complications, and how much damage the rupture caused. The patient's condition will first be stabilized. Then they will be started on antibiotics, typically intravenously. If the patient is in pain, they will be administered pain medications, often intravenously as well. The doctor will then run tests to fully assess the patient and the extent of the rupture. Many patients will also have surgery, either to explore or to treat the ruptured cyst.

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    Resources

    eMedicineHealth. (2010). Ovarian Cysts. Retrieved on February 15, 2010 from eMedicineHealth: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/ovarian_cysts/article_em.htm

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    Image Credits

    Ovarian Cyst Image: Jmh649 – Wikimedia Commons