Luckily, those little cysts show signs once they start to go rogue, here’s what to look out for, so you can call your doctor ASAP and get things taken care of.
The most common ovarian cyst symptom is pain in the lower right or left side of the pelvis, right where the ovaries are, says Shirazian-and it doesn’t go away. “You might feel it when you exercise, you might feel it when you’re sexually active, but it will be a pain in that specific place that is constant and stays even after your menstrual cycle goes away.”
If the pain becomes severe or even unbearable, it’s a sign that you might have an ovarian torsion, says Shirazian. When that happens, it cuts off the ovary’s blood supply, which causes really bad pain, says Shirazian-the type that will send you straight to the emergency room (hopefully).
Swelling is obviously a vague symptom, but it can be related to ovarian cysts depending on their size. “Most women experience cysts under 10 centimeters. But some cysts can grow to be very big, like the size of a watermelon,” says Eloise Chapman-Davis, M.D., a gynecological oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian.
“Many women will write that off as weight gain, but abdominal pain and bloating could be the result of a mass growing in the stomach. So if the weight is only in your stomach, or you can’t figure out any reason you’d be gaining weight in the first place, that’s a red flag.
Like with uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts can cause a feeling a heaviness in the abdomen. “A cyst is a mass, and it’s occupying space, which can give you that feeling of pressure,” says Shirazian.
Sure, you can get a somewhat similar feeling with constipation, but unless you have cysts in both ovaries, this sensation will only strike one side of your pelvis. If your bathroom habits are fine, but you’ve been feeling this way for two to three weeks, it’s worth finding out if an ovarian cyst might be to blame, Chapman-Davis says.
Here’s the thing: Sex should never hurt, so if it does, it means something is up. If you’re having penetrative sex and you feel pain on one side versus the other, there’s a chance it could be related to an ovarian cyst.