Causes of Ovarian Pain

Written by cindi pearce
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Some women know each month when they are ovulating because they feel pain either on the lower right or left side of their abdomen, where the ovaries are located. Depending on which side the ovulation is occurring that month, that's where the pain is. The pain is noticeable and gets your attention, but it's not enough to send you off to the doctor's office. However, in addition to the "normal," for some, monthly ovulation pain, there are other reasons that you may experience ovarian pain.

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Corpus Luteum Cyst

If a corpus luteum cyst develops, this can result in sudden and sharp pain, particularly if the blood-filled cyst ruptures. This kind of cyst is the result of production of large quantities of progesterone and oestrogen in preparation for conception. When the egg releases from the ovary and becomes a ruptured follicle, that is called a corpus luteum. Sometimes the egg seals off and fluid then accumulates inside the follicle, which results in a cyst. The cyst can become 4 inches in diameter and may bleed. It can also make the ovary twist, which cuts off blood supply and results in abdominal or pelvic pain, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Ovarian Torsion and Bladder Pressure

Whenever a large ovarian cyst is present, abdominal discomfort may occur. The cyst can press on your bladder and make you feel as though you have to urinate because the pressure of the cyst has reduced bladder capacity. If you develop a dermoid cyst, it contains items such as teeth, hair and skin within its tissue because these cysts form cells that produce human eggs. If they become large, they can twist your ovary, which is called ovarian torsion, and cause pain.

Learn What Mittelschmerz Is

If you have a follicular cyst and it ruptures, it can cause very sharp and severe pain on the side where the cyst is. If ovulation does not occur, or when a mature follicle collapses on itself, a follicular cyst can form. This pain is called mittelschmerz, which occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle, during ovulation. The cyst generally forms at the time of ovulation and can get as big as 2.3 inches in diameter.

Additional Things That Can Go Wrong

A hemorrhagic cyst results when bleeding happens within a cyst. This will cause abdominal pain on one side of the body. When endometrial tissue, which is the mucous membrane that creates the inner layer of the uterine wall, grows in the ovaries, this can cause chronic pain during menstruation. This is called endometriomas or endometroid cyst.

Other Considerations

Some women develop functional ovarian cysts, which are sacs that form on the surface of a woman's ovaries when she is ovulating. The sac holds the maturing egg. The sac is supposed to go away after the egg is released; however, if the egg is not released or the sac closes up after the egg exits, the sac can swell with fluid. These functional ovarian cysts can get big and rupture, bleed, twist and cause great pain.

When the Ovaries Are Gone

Even after your ovaries are removed, you can experience what is called ovarian remnant syndrome, which is painful. This happens when some of the ovary is left behind. It can become a cyst and swell and pull on adhesions. The ovarian remnants can also result in pain if the remains are still producing oestrogen. This can stimulate endometrial growth resulting in endometriosis.

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