Ruptured ovarian cysts: When to worry and when to wait

Ruptured ovarian cysts: When to worry and when to wait

Women of menstrual age are familiar with the cramping that comes along with the dreaded time of the month. Although, when that pain is out of the ordinary, it may be a sign of a ruptured ovarian cyst.

“Ovarian cysts are common and can develop throughout a woman’s reproductive life span,” says Dr. Crystal Ruffin, an OB/GYN physician at Aurora Health Care. “You might have one right now and not even know it. That’s because the fluid filled sacs can develop on your ovaries and not always cause symptoms.”

Most ovarian cysts are benign and will resolve without surgical intervention.

When an ovarian cyst ruptures, she says you may experience acute onset of mild to moderate abdominal and pelvic pain.

Do you need medical attention for a ruptured ovarian cyst?

If you experience any of the following symptoms, she encourages you to go to the emergency department for treatment:

  • Severe pain that does not resolve with use of over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or weakness

An ultrasound typically will be used to confirm the rupture. However, ultrasound findings can also be inconclusive based on how soon you seek medical attention. Treatment includes pain relievers and, in rare cases, surgery to stop any internal bleeding.

What causes an ovarian cyst rupture?

“The rupture can happen spontaneously or be caused by vigorous activity, including sexual intercourse,” says Dr. Ruffin.

Other factors that increase your likelihood of a rupture include hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or ovulation, and certain medical conditions, such as endometriosis.

If you have any questions or concerns about ovarian cysts, don’t hesitate to talk to your gynecologist.

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Science in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in healthcare public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.