They pop. They burst. They rupture. Both ovarian cysts and balloons do. And the reasons why they do, is almost the same.
Why do ovarian cysts rupture?
Too much cystic fluid
Put too much air inside a balloon and it will burst. Ovarian cysts rupture too when there is too much fluid accumulation, inside the sac, to such an extent that the sac cannot withstand the resulting pressure. The sac then simply tears, hence the rupture.
Physical trauma on the ovarian cyst
Apply pressure on a balloon and it will pop. Ovarian cysts burst too due to physical trauma. They may rupture as a result of strenuous sexual activity or for any other reason that may cause excessive pressure. Exercise is also a known cause.
Hormonal imbalance on the ovarian cyst
But unlike balloons, the growth of cysts, to a large extent, is controlled by hormones. This means that there are times when an ovarian cyst may simply burst because of not-so-logical hormonal imbalance issues. This means that it’s not a must for a cyst to be large or for it to be subjected to an overwhelming amount of pressure for it to burst. An ovarian cyst sometimes just ruptures.
Ovarian cyst rupture and pregnancy
Question is, can ovarian cysts form during pregnancy? And if that is the case, can they rupture during pregnancy?
Functional ovarian cysts during pregnancy?
Since the onset of pregnancy usually brings ovulation to a stop, functional ovarian cysts cannot form during pregnancy. This is so mainly because these cysts usually form either when the follicle fails to release the egg and thus fills up with fluid or when after releasing the egg, it seals up and starts filling up with fluid – their formation is tightly bound to the ovulation process.
However, this does not mean that a woman cannot have functional ovarian cysts when pregnant. Why? Because it is possible for ovarian cysts to form before pregnancy. If you have them before you get pregnant, they don’t just disappear at the onset of pregnancy.
Non-functional ovarian cysts during pregnancy?
As for nonfunctional cysts, their formation and development does not depend on the normal functioning of the menstrual cycle. They can therefore not only exist during pregnancy, but can also form during pregnancy. Why? Because they can form whether you are ovulating or not.
Which then brings us to the question: can ovarian cysts rupture during pregnancy?
The answer is yes, cysts can burst during pregnancy. They don’t always rupture, but still, they can. In fact, given the fact that a lot of pressure usually increases the chances of a cyst burst, it is safe to say the additional “crowding”, around the abdominal region, that pregnancy comes with can increase the risks of an ovarian cyst rupture.
According to Radiopaedia, this sometimes leads to confusion. The pain, and the bleeding, that a cyst burst causes usually mimics the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. And when the rupture occurs when one is pregnant, it is not unusual for one to mistake an ovarian cyst rupture for an ectopic pregnancy.
Ovarian cyst rupture symptoms
Medscape, in an article written by Nathan Webb M.D., lists 7 symptoms of an ovarian cyst rupture. They are:
1. extreme abdominal pain
2. nausea and vomiting
3. shoulder tenderness
5. vaginal bleeding
6. syncope, and
7. circulatory collapse
Ovarian cyst rupture and pain
Pain is a common ovarian cyst symptom. But what you experience when cyst bursts, is usually a magnitude more than normal. The pain tends to be sharp and sudden. In some women, this pain can be continuous. In others, it can be intermittent.
It is usually pelvic and abdominal pain. It is however not surprising to experience the pain in the lower back region. And sometimes not surprising to feel some pain radiating towards the thing area.
Given the extremity of the pain that a woman can experience, and given the possibility of serious complications that a cyst rupture can cause, it is usually advisable that if you have cysts in your ovaries and you suddenly experience out-of-the-blue extreme pain, that you should immediately seek medical attention. Keeping in mind that there are reported cases where ovarian cyst ruptures have led to death, this is advice that you should never take lightly.
So, why does an ovarian cyst rupture cause so much pain?
Radiopaedia has an answer. It lists 3 reasons:
a) the first is the stretching of the capsule of the ovary
b) the second is the torquing of the ovarian pedicle
c) then there is the peritoneal irritation that an ovarian cyst induced leak can cause
Treatment of ovarian cyst rupture
An ovarian cyst rupture is a serious condition. It can lead to internal infections. Extreme abdominal pain. Pelvic pain. Septic shock. And even death.
The wait-and-see method of managing ovarian cyst rupture
But these symptoms and complications are not the norm. In most cases, after an ovarian cyst rupture, all a doctor does is to monitor your progress.
Yes, you may have a vaginal discharge and it may seem serious and all, especially considering the ovarian cyst rupture pain. But there is always the likelihood that you will recover without the need for medical intervention. In such cases, all that is required is for you to wait and see what happens, hence the wait-and-see method of managing a cyst burst.
Pain medication method of managing a cyst rupture
If you experience a lot of pain during the wait-and-see period, your doctor may have to prescribe pain medication, just to make life more bearable. You can also choose to manage pain by using natural methods. One of the most common ways of doing this is by placing a heat pad on your abdomen — it works because it helps increase circulation around your abdomen, easing the pain.
Surgical intervention in case of ovarian cyst rupture complications
However, if signs point towards serious complications developing; if they point towards the onset of a serious infection or peritoneal bleeding or haemorrhagic shock, then immediate surgical intervention may be necessary.
Ovarian cyst rupture symptoms vary. This is because different cysts have different effects on the body when they burst. Different people also experience ovarian cyst rupture differently. And while management techniques and ovarian cyst rupture treatment methods may also vary, one thing is constant: you must see a doctor as soon as you notice any of the symptoms of ovarian cyst rupture.