Search icon


14th Dec 2022

This is everything women need to know about ovarian cysts

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The information we all need to know.

Last week, Hailey Bieber was once again forced to shut down pregnancy rumours, but unlike the last few times she has done this, she revealed she now has an ovarian cyst.

“I have a cyst on my ovary the size of an apple,” she recently wrote on Instagram Stories. “I don’t have endometriosis or PCOS but I have gotten an ovarian cyst a few times and it’s never fun.

“It’s painful and achey and makes me feel nauseous and bloated and crampy and emotional,” she continued. “Anyways… I’m sure a lot of you can overly relate and understand. We got this.”

Many women across the country and globe can relate to Hailey’s situation, and when it comes to ovarian cysts, they’re a lot more common than you’d think.

Whether you have experienced this or not, it’s always helpful to understand what exactly they are and how to deal with ovarian cysts.

According to the NHS, an ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on the ovary. These are very common and thankfully for the most part don’t come along with any symptoms.

Ovarian cysts occur naturally and typically go away in a matter of months without the need for treatment, but in some cases they can be more complex.

There are two main types, functional ovarian cysts which develop as part of the menstrual cycle and are completely harmless, disappearing after a short amount of time. The other are pathological ovarian cysts which develop as a result of abnormal cell growth. They are less common and can come from an underlying condition like endometriosis.

While most of these cysts are non-cancerous and benign, cancerous forms of these cysts have been more common in people who have gone through menopause.

So what are the symptoms of ovarian cysts and how should they be treated?

They only cause symptoms if they rupture and in these cases, you may experience pelvic pain, pain during sex, difficulty with bowel movement, frequent need to urinate, heavy, irregular or lighter periods than normal for you, a bloated or swollen stomach, constantly feeling fill and difficulty getting pregnant.

It is important to note here that fertility usually is unaffected by ovarian cysts, but sometimes can make it harder to conceive and if you have sudden pelvic pain, you should seek medical attention.

When it comes to treatment for ovarian cysts, it will depend on three things: the size and appearance, the symptoms you are displaying, and whether you have experienced menopause.

If you need treatment, there is a slightly higher risk of ovarian cancer if you are postmenopausal. To treat these, regular ultrasound scans and blood tests are usually recommended over the course of a year as a way of monitoring the cyst.

If they are larger in size, surgery may be needed to remove them as they can be potentially cancerous.

The important thing to remember is that the majority of the time these cysts clear up themselves, but if you are in any way concerned, contact your GP.