27 Ovarian Cyst Symptoms Every Woman Needs to Know

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What are the symptoms of ovarian cysts? Can they affect your weight? Can they mess with your menstrual periods? Do they cause pain during sex? How about after sex? If I experience pain after sex, does it still fall under ovarian cyst symptoms? And is it true that ovarian cysts can sometimes affect the rate at which a person’s hair grows?

Questions about ovarian cyst symptoms abound. And it’s not that people are clueless when it comes to the signs of ovarian cysts. It’s just that the information is all over the place.

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Yes, almost every leading online medical website has information on the symptoms. The only problem is that the lists of the symptoms are never exhaustive. And so you ask yourself: if WebMD, in an article reviewed by a doctor, lists only  8 symptoms of cysts on ovaries, what does it say about the other symptoms you have read about?

Instead of having to wonder. And instead of having to spend time digging through internet pages trying to find an exhaustive list or a place that can just answer one simple question: is what I am experiencing a symptom of ovarian cysts? And instead of trying to remember a place where you last saw a certain cyst on ovary symptom, read this list. It’s exhaustive.

The list has been compiled from the top online medical websites. We are talking about Mayo Clinic, WebMD, WomensHealth.Gov, Hopkins Medicine, Health Line, Medical News Today, MedicineNet, NIH.Gov, eMedicine Health and NHS.UK.

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Here is the exhaustive list of ovarian cyst symptoms (all 27):

1. Abdominal swelling ( a swollen tummy)

2. Difficulty emptying your bowels / painful bowel movements

3. Pelvic pain before or during menstrual cycle – may be persistent or intermittent- may range from a dull, heavy sensation to a sudden, severe and sharp pain; may start and stop; may occur after any strenuous activity

4. Painful intercourse /sex – dyspareunia – for some women

5. Pain and discomfort in the abdomen after sex

6. Pain in the lower back – dull ache

7. Breast tenderness

8. Nausea

9. Vomiting

10. Fever

11. Faintness or dizziness

12. Rapid breathing

13. Frequent need to urinate

14. Feeling very full after only eating a little

15. Difficulty getting pregnant

16. Irregular menstrual periods

17. Feeling of lower abdominal or pelvic pressure or fullness

18. Vaginal pain

19. Spotty bleeding from the vagina

20. Infertility

21. Painful menstruation

22. Unexplained weight gain

23. Loss of appetite

24. Absence of menstrual bleeding – emenorrhea

25. Heavy bleeding (menorrhagia)

26. Hallucinations (this one is extra rare. It happened in this case.)

27. Change in hair growth – on the face, body – caused by increased production of masculinizing hormone (hirsutism).


That is a long list.

How about we try to break the symptoms into groups.

5 groups makes sense. How about:

1. Discomfort caused by ovarian cysts

Ovarian cyst symptoms that manifest as discomfort usually occur because of two main reasons:

a) Large ovarian cysts that press against adjacent organs like the bladder

b) Hormonal changes that may result from the presence of cysts in the ovaries – ovaries are one of the most important hormonal production centers in the body especially when it comes to pregnancy related hormones. It is no wonder that some of the symptoms of ovarian cysts usually mimic pregnancy symptoms. There are even cases of ovarian-cyst-induced symptoms making women think that they are pregnant.



3.A feeling of fullness in the abdominal area

4.Breast tenderness

2. Pain caused by ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts usually cause pain when they become too large – something that causes them to squeeze tissues and organs out of their original space – or when complications of ovarian cysts develop.

MedicineNet lists four possible instances when ovarian cysts cause pain:

a)rapid growth and stretching

b)rupture of the cyst

c)twisting of the cyst around its blood supply (known as torsion), or

d)bleeding into the cyst

As for ovarian cyst pain symptoms, here they are:

1.Pelvic pain

2.Painful periods

3.Vaginal pain

4.Pain during intercourse/sex

5.Back pain – lower back

6.Pain after sex – in the abdominal area

7.Pain during bowel movements

3. Changes caused by ovarian cysts

Most of these changes are caused because of the hormonal imbalance that cysts in ovaries may cause. Some, like the need to urinate more often, result when a large cyst presses against an organ. While others, like infertility, more often than not, result either in the course of ovarian cyst treatment or when complications of ovarian cysts, like ovarian torsion, occur.

1.An increase in the need to urinate

2.Excessive bleeding during menstruation

3.Irregular periods

4.Unexplained weight gain

5.Increase in the rate of hair growth

6.Absence of menstrual bleeding

7.Light vaginal spotting

8.Difficulty getting pregnant


10.Swollen tummy – distended stomach

4. You-Need-To-See-A-Doctor-Immediately ovarian cyst symptoms

These are serious symptoms that tend to occur when ovarian cyst complications develop. They can occur with one or more of the above symptoms and when they do, you should definitely seek immediate medical attention. Failure to do so could have devastating consequences. Even death.

1.Severe or sharp pelvic pain



4.Rapid breathing

5. Super-rare symptoms of ovarian cysts


A woman experienced hallucinations when the cysts in her ovaries developed brain cells. This then triggered an immune system reaction that led to her immune system attacking her brain. You can read the story here.

2.Difficulty breathing

In a case reported in LiveScience, a 57 year old woman had a cyst that was so large that it had pushed against her diaphragm. This messed with her breathing. Here’s the story.

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