For women that have lived through a ruptured ovarian cyst this may come as no surprise. But for the newly diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian syndrome (PCOS), the development of cysts on your ovaries is part of the territory that comes with having this medical condition, a fact that puts you at particular risk for an ovarian cyst rupture (1).
While many women will encounter this acutely traumatic episode at least once in their lifetime, PCOS women develop cysts at an alarming rate due to hormonal imbalances that are caused by this disorder, putting them at risk for experiencing this brutal and potentially hazardous occurrence multiple times during the course of their lives.
With insulin resistance causing high levels of this compound to circulate in the bloodstream, they end up inducing the ovaries to produce excessive amounts of testosterone, which then impairs the ability of follicles to develop properly.
This leads to the malformed follicle to become a cyst, which is an event that happens multiple times across a PCOS patient’s ovaries through the years (2). These cysts contain fluid left over from the failed follicle creation cycle, and with the fluid building up over time in some cases, an ovarian cyst burst will inevitably occur (3).
If you have PCOS, you might be wondering what are the symptoms of a ruptured ovarian cyst, and whether it is even a cause for concern (short answer: it is). The following list should give you an idea of what are ruptured ovarian cyst symptoms, so if your health and well-being should suddenly take a turn for the worse, seek medical attention immediately.
Let’s dive right in…
Ruptured Ovarian Cyst Symptom #1 – Sudden severe abdominal, back and/or pelvic pain
Of all the possible signs and symptoms of a ruptured ovarian cyst, extreme pain is by far the most salient. The stabbing, searing pain will be centralized in the mid-abdomen, but this pain can and will be transmitted to adjacent body structures such as your pelvis and your lower back (4).
Depending on how the cyst bursts, the kind of pain may vary, from a consistent throbbing, to stabbing, searing pain that may make it difficult to even stand up. In some women, the pain may start off mild, with the level of intensity gradually ramping up as time goes on.
The pain is associated with the actual ripping of the membrane wall, so once it has come apart completely, the hellish experience should subside and dissipate rather quickly. This fact can be dangerous if you are aware of it though, as all the ruptured cyst symptoms mimic that of appendicitis, a swelling of the tail end of the long intestine that no longer serves a purpose, except to swell up with extremely toxic fluid at random and explode.
Attempting to wait out a cyst rupture at home could end in death, as what you might think is an ovarian cyst rupturing could be septic shock from a burst appendix (5). There is no harm in being cautious: get to a hospital if you are experiencing intense abdominal pain and get it assessed by trained medical professionals.
Ruptured Ovarian Cyst Symptom #2 – Increased pain during sex and bowel movements, and an increased urge to urinate
Is intercourse, going to the bathroom, or the discharge at that time of the month suddenly painful when it used to be pleasurable, or no big deal? When an ovarian cyst is about to burst, its swollen composure will put pressure on your bowels, urinary tract and vagina.
This will irritate the nerves in the cyst, as well as those in the previously mentioned body structures, making these activities much more difficult. This condition also stimulates the bladder, causing the woman suffering from an impending ovarian cyst rupture to go to the bathroom at a rate that will resemble her urinating habits late in the term of a past pregnancy (6).
Ruptured Ovarian Cyst Symptom #3 – Nausea and vomiting
According to the National Institute of Health, nausea and vomiting also figure prominently in women who are experiencing an ovarian cyst burst (7). Because the pain so extreme in its nature and occurs in the abdominal cavity that is adjacent to the digestive organs, visceral unease and a desire to vomit naturally results from this.
Additionally, the fluid/blood that leaches out of the breaking cyst can irritate the peritoneal cavity, adding to the problem. In many cases, this leads to vomiting, compounding the patient’s misery. Again, because nausea and vomiting can occur with a variety of serious medical conditions (like the previously mentioned appendicitis), getting to your doctor or a hospital ASAP is strongly urged.
Sometimes, a ruptured ovarian cyst can be even more serious than normal. The composure and sheer size of it can trigger massive internal bleeding, introducing another avenue in which these symptoms could potentially signal a life threatening situation (8).
If a breaking cyst fails in dramatic fashion, the bleed out will eventually manifest itself in the telltale signs of blood loss, the most salient of which are dizziness and/or sudden weakness. If you suddenly find yourself seeing stars, feeling faint, and having a hard time standing, don’t wait around any longer – get to a hospital as soon as possible, as this complication can lead to death in some cases.
Ruptured Ovarian Cyst Symptom #5 – Fever
With the release of pent-up fluid and blood into an external system that isn’t ready to deal with it comes the risk of infection. When this fluid comes into contact with the insides of your abdominal cavity, your body will treat this agent as a foreign invader, and will move into action to defeat and neutralize the threat.
One of the bag of tricks that your body has to kill the pathogens that it is fighting is to raise your internal body temperature to a level where the pathogens can’t operate optimally or survive. We know this as a fever, and if you suffer an ovarian cyst rupture, you will likely have an elevated temperature for the time that it takes your body to remove the malevolent fluid from your body (9).
As always, this symptom could be emblematic of something more sinister. For this reason it is best to see a doctor if you experience any one of the above signs (particularly extreme pain and dizziness/weakness).