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When Do Ovarian Cysts Require Medical Intervention?

May 01, 2023
When Do Ovarian Cysts Require Medical Intervention?
How can you tell if your ovarian cyst requires medical treatment or will resolve on its own? The truth is, it depends on different factors. Here’s a closer look at ovarian cysts and the signs it’s time to see a doctor.

If you have an ovarian cyst, you’re in good company. Almost all women get ovarian cysts at some point. The good news is that these fluid-filled sacs usually don’t cause problematic symptoms, and generally resolve on their own.

Sometimes, however, ovarian cysts can cause pelvic pain, bleeding, bloating, back and leg pain, and other troublesome symptoms. So how can you tell if your ovarian cysts require medical intervention?

If you’re worried about ovarian cysts, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at Southdale ObGyn in Edina or Burnsville, Minnesota. Our board-certified providers specialize in diagnosing and treating problematic ovarian cysts. 

Our practice is also committed to educating women about their reproductive systems and bodies. Keep reading to learn more about ovarian cysts, including the signs it’s time to seek medical intervention. 

Understanding ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts develop for different reasons. Most of the time, an ovarian cyst forms as part of your normal reproductive cycle when your ovary releases an egg during ovulation. This is called a functional cyst, and since it’s totally normal, it isn’t cause for worry or a reason to seek medical intervention.  

Occasionally, you can develop a cyst on your ovary during your menstrual cycle, when an egg isn’t being released. This type of cyst is called a follicular ovarian cyst. You can also develop ovarian cysts outside of your normal menstrual cycle. 

Even these abnormal ovarian cysts don’t usually cause problems that require immediate medical attention. Multiple small ovarian cysts can, however, be associated with serious health conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that impacts your overall health and can lead to infertility. 

It’s best to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive work-up to consider or rule out different underlying issues if you’re having any of these signs of problematic cysts:

  • Pelvic pressure or bloating
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Pain in your back, side, or thighs
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Bowel or urinary symptoms (e.g., frequent urination)

These problematic ovarian cysts can develop for many reasons, including infections, hormone imbalances, endometriosis, and infertility treatments. Your Southdale ObGyn physician can help uncover the underlying issues contributing to your cysts.

When to seek immediate medical care for ovarian cysts

It’s important to remember that in the majority of cases, ovarian cysts resolve without the need for medical help. And in most other cases, treating the underlying condition is the way to manage the ovarian cysts.  

However, there are symptoms that could be a sign that your ovarian cyst has ruptured. Many things can cause a cyst to rupture, including intense exercise and vigorous sex. A ruptured ovarian cyst doesn’t always cause severe symptoms or require emergency medical care, but if you experience worrisome symptoms, it’s always a good idea to call your Southdale ObGyn provider. 

If you have an ovarian cyst and you’re having intense or severe pain, heavy bleeding, or other problematic signs, you could need medical attention. Less commonly, a ruptured ovarian cyst may require emergency surgery. 

Call your provider at Southdale ObGyn or go to your nearest emergency provider if you have the following symptoms:

  • Pain with fever and vomiting
  • Pain with dizziness, weakness, or fainting
  • Pain with unexplained and heavy bleeding 
  • Pain with rapid breathing 

Again, most ovarian cysts are not a medical emergency and the normal course of treatment usually involves watchful waiting. If you have an underlying health condition linked to your ovarian cysts, your provider may recommend medications, like hormone-based contraception, to help manage your condition. 

If you’re worried about ovarian cysts or want more information about the treatments available to help, don’t wait to schedule an appointment online or over the phone at the Southdale ObGyn office nearest you.