15 Ovarian Cyst Symptoms (with Online Symptoms Checker)

Updated in March 2024

Ovarian cyst symptoms may include intense abdominal pain (particularly during ovulation), nausea, vomiting, changes to your period, difficulty getting pregnant or back pain. These can emerge if the cyst is growing, or if it has twisted or ruptured. 

An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can form within the ovary or on its surface. It causes pain, a delayed period, and difficulty getting pregnant. 

If you notice any symptoms, you should be assessed by a gynecologist, who will likely order testing to identify whether a cyst is present. Once identified, appropriate treatment can be initiated. 

Imagem ilustrativa número 2

Main symptoms

The most common symptom of an ovarian cyst are:

  1. Pain during ovulation
  2. Constant abdominal pain
  3. Intense cramping before or during a period
  4. Bloating 
  5. A delayed or irregular period 
  6. A heavy flow during your period 
  7. Back pain
  8. Pain or discomfort during sex 
  9. Increased breast sensitivity 
  10. Breakthrough bleeding
  11. Difficulty getting pregnant 
  12. Weight gain 
  13. Feeling your stomach is full 
  14. Painful bowel movements 
  15. Increased urinary frequency 

Symptoms may vary due to the type of cyst, therefore it is important to see a gynecologist for assessment and testing to diagnose to determine the severity. 

Online symptoms checker

To assess your risk for having an ovarian cyst, report your symptoms below: 

  1. 1. Constant abdominal or pelvic pain
  2. 2. Frequent feeling of swollen belly
  3. 3. Irregular menstruation
  4. 4. Constant pain in the back or flanks
  5. 5. Discomfort or pain during intimate contact

This symptoms quiz is just a tool for guidance, and does not replace an assessment or diagnosis from a gynecologist. 

Confirming a diagnosis 

An ovarian cyst diagnosis is initially confirmed by a gynecologist through an assessment of symptoms and palpation of the abdomen. The doctor will likely order an imaging test, like a transvaginal ultrasound, a CT scan or an MRI, which allow to visualize a cyst and look at its size and characteristics. 

The doctor may also order other testing, like a CBC blood test to assess for anemia (due to increased bleeding), a urine test (to rule out a UTI or kidney stones) and a vaginal swab (to rule out pelvic inflammatory disease). These conditions may present with symptoms similar to an ovarian cyst.

In some cases, a doctor can also order a pregnancy test (a beta-HCG test) to exclude the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy, which presents with similar symptoms, as well as the CA-125 blood test, to help identify the type of ovarian cyst. 

Treatment options

Treatment for an ovarian cyst is not always necessary. Treatment is usually guided by the size and characteristics of the cyst, as well as the woman’s symptoms and age. 

When the cyst does not show any malignant characteristics and does not cause any symptoms, treatment is not needed. The patient just needs periodic monitoring to ensure the cyst is decreasing in size. 

On the other hand, if symptoms are present, the doctor may prescribe birth control pills with estrogen and progesterone to regulate hormonal levels. Surgical removal of the cyst may even be recommended. In very serious cases, if torsion of the ovarian cyst occurs or if malignancy is suspected, the entire ovary may need to be removed.