What Causes Ovarian Cyst Pain?

Ovarian Cyst Pain

Ovarian cyst pain can occur for various reasons, depending on the type, size, and location of the cyst, as well as individual factors. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can develop on or within the ovaries. While many ovarian cysts are harmless and resolve on their own without causing symptoms, others can lead to discomfort or pain. Some common causes of ovarian cyst pain include:

  • Functional cysts: Functional cysts are the most common type of ovarian cyst and typically develop as part of the menstrual cycle. These cysts form when follicles (fluid-filled sacs containing developing eggs) fail to rupture and release an egg during ovulation. Functional cysts may cause pain if they become enlarged, rupture, or twist (ovarian torsion).
  • Ovarian torsion: Ovarian torsion occurs when an ovarian cyst twists or causes the ovary to twist, cutting off its blood supply. This sudden reduction in blood flow can lead to severe abdominal or pelvic pain, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Ovarian torsion is a medical emergency that requires prompt evaluation and treatment to prevent damage to the ovary.
  • Endometriomas: Endometriomas, also known as chocolate cysts, are cysts filled with old blood and tissue that result from endometriosis, a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. Endometriomas can cause pelvic pain, especially during menstruation or sexual intercourse.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a hormonal disorder characterized by the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries, irregular menstrual cycles, and high levels of androgens (male hormones). Women with PCOS may experience pelvic pain, especially around the time of ovulation or during menstruation.
  • Dermoid cysts: Dermoid cysts are benign ovarian tumors that contain a mixture of tissues, including hair, skin, and teeth. Although dermoid cysts are usually asymptomatic, they can cause pain if they rupture or become twisted.
  • Cystadenomas: Cystadenomas are ovarian tumors that develop from the cells covering the outer surface of the ovary. These cysts can grow quite large and cause abdominal or pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort.
  • Ruptured cysts: Ovarian cysts may rupture spontaneously, causing sudden, sharp pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis. Ruptured cysts can lead to bleeding, inflammation, and irritation of surrounding tissues, resulting in pain and discomfort.
  • Other factors: In some cases, factors such as infection, inflammation, or complications from medical procedures (such as ovarian stimulation for fertility treatments) can cause ovarian cyst pain.

It’s important for individuals experiencing persistent or severe pelvic pain to seek medical evaluation from a healthcare professional, who can perform a physical examination, order diagnostic tests (such as ultrasound imaging), and recommend appropriate treatment based on the underlying cause of the pain.

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