Ovarian cyst


  • Most common are functional or follicular cysts
  • Less common include PCOS, cystadenomas, and dermoid cysts
  • Cysts are generally >1cm in size
  • Cysts are at risk of torsion when >4cm
  • Cysts <2cm are virtually risk free from torsion
Relative incidences of different types of ovarian cysts.[1]

Clinical Features

  • Most tend to be asymptomatic
  • Can cause:
    • Dull pelvic pain or fullness; they can be significantly painful if ruptured
    • Dyspareunia
    • Pressure on the bladder
  • If there is bleeding into the cyst and it ruptures, it can be life threatening, with signs of peritonitis, shock

Differential Diagnosis

Acute Pelvic Pain

Differential diagnosis of acute pelvic pain






RLQ Pain

LLQ Pain


Ultrasound demonstrates a simple ovarian cyst greater than 3 cm in size consistent with a follicular cyst.
Transvaginal ultrasound showing ovarian cyst[3]
Ruptured hemorrhagic cyst. (a) CT with bilateral low-density cystic lesions (white arrows). There is extensive hyperdense free pelvic fluid representing hemorrhagic ascites (black arrow). (b) Trans-abdominal ultrasound shows free fluid containing low level echoes in the pelvis (black arrow). There is an adnexal cyst in the pelvis representing the right hemorrhagic ovarian cyst (white arrow).



  • Typically diagnosed on ultrasound, with same side of pain and absence of other concerning etiologies (e.g. negative UA, not pregnant)
  • Check hemoglobin level to assess for blood loss


  • NSAIDs
  • Oral contraceptives
    • No benefit has been found though gynecology may suggest them[4]
  • Ensure that patient does not have significant anemia/free fluid in pelvis
    • Consider repeat hemoglobin of observation period if concern for ruptured cyst with significant bleeding


  • Home, unlessed ruptured with concern for significant blood loss
  • Follow up with OBGyn

See Also

External Links


  1. Abduljabbar, Hassan S.; Bukhari, Yasir A.; Hachim, Estabrq G. Al; Ashour, Ghazal S.; Amer, Afnan A.; Shaikhoon, Mohammed M.; Khojah, Mohammed I. (July 2015). "Review of 244 cases of ovarian cysts". Saudi Medical Journal. 36 (7): 834–838. doi:10.15537/smj.2015.7.11690. PMC 4503903. PMID 26108588.
  2. Norris DL, Young JD. UTI. EM Clin N Am. 2008; 26:413-30.
  3. http://www.thepocusatlas.com/obgyn/
  4. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011. Sep 7;(9):CD006134.