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What are Hemorrhagic Cysts?

By Crystal K. Wilford
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Hemorrhagic cysts occur when the small blood vessels in the wall of an existing cyst rupture and fill the cyst with blood. The majority of these types of cysts, also called blood cysts, form in female ovaries, usually during the menstruation cycle. Ovarian cysts usually form when fluid builds up around an egg, when an egg is improperly formed, or when the egg is not released.

A typical cyst is a membranous sac filled with liquid or tissue. Many cysts are harmless, and are sometimes noticeable as firm or spongy lumps under the skin. Most hemorrhagic cysts form and recede naturally during the course of a few menstrual cycles without any physical signs, though patients with ovarian cysts often experience pain near the location of the cyst. When the cyst fills with blood, it causes the ovary wall to stretch rapidly, resulting in minor pains on either the right or left of the abdomen.

If a cyst is discovered, monitoring it can help prevent possible infection, blood loss, cancer, or tumors — especially if there is a family history of such conditions. Ice packs, hot water bottles, and painkillers can temporarily relieve the pain of hemorrhagic cysts until they heal. For more severe pain and swelling, doctors can often prescribe additional medications. The swelling often recedes naturally during the course of the menstrual cycle. Should a cyst rupture, it often heals virtually unnoticed.

When cysts rupture, the blood filling them is released into the abdomen. This causes a burning sensation in the abdominal area. Additional bodily fluids released from ruptured cysts can cause mild to serious infections. If, after the menstrual cycle, abdominal pain remains or increases to the point where it becomes difficult to perform daily tasks, it may be necessary to consult a doctor.

Normal hemorrhagic cysts do not require surgery, but doctors might need to perform surgery to remove or repair ruptured hemorrhagic cysts. The most common surgical procedure is called keyhole surgery. This procedure involves a few small incisions in the abdomen and stomach, which permit the doctor to use a small camera and surgical instruments to find and remove the cyst. Keyhole surgery reduces the blood loss and minimizes pain from incisions.

Exceedingly large cysts, while rare, usually require more invasive methods. Surgery is also required if the blood flow from the ruptured cyst persists, rather than clotting and permitting the ruptured tissue to heal. Recovery time for more complex surgeries is usually longer than it is for less invasive surgery.

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Discussion Comments
By anon996177 — On Jul 20, 2016

I enjoy when men and women who have never had one say "mild pain". My ruptured cyst was horrible. Not mild in the least. I have had three cyst that I personal have seen on ultra sounds. The first was a ruptured one, the second was one that was the size of an apple and had solid masses in it and had to be removed and the third I am fighting right now. All three happened while using an IUD. I am 34 years old.

By anon996149 — On Jul 16, 2016

I had a follicular ovarian cyst that ruptured and it was very painful and even difficult to walk. It required emergency surgery to have it and my uterus removed. Five years later another follicular cyst formed on the remaining ovary which had been partially removed in the original surgery. The second cyst also required surgery for removal. I was 34.

By anon927512 — On Jan 24, 2014

I had one that hurt super bad and one night I thought I might die if I moved the wrong direction. I went to the doctor after that and it was already popped and beginning to feel all better. She warned me that they should have been monitoring it because if it got twisted up it could have been very serious. But really it seemed like my body was telling me which way to not move. After that, I tried to move my hips more, to get better circulation, which seems to help everything. I don't think it has any effect on fertility, at least for me it didn't. They are super common, unfortunately.

By anon356638 — On Nov 27, 2013

I have recently been diagnosed with a complex hemorrhagic ovarian cyst in right adnexa. It has internal separations and it causes me severe pain before menstruation and afterwards. Its size is 4.8cm.

I just wanted to know if it will require surgery, and if surgery is performed, is there any threat of my ovary being damaged, because I am 20 years old and unmarried.

By anon338784 — On Jun 17, 2013

I have recently been diagnosed with complex hemorrhagic ovarian cyst in right adnexa. It has internal separations and it causes me severe pain before menstruation and afterwards. Its size is 4.8cm.

I just wanted to know if it will require surgery, and if surgery is performed, is there any threat of my ovary being damaged, because I am 20 years old and unmarried.

By anon333677 — On May 07, 2013

Can the ovarian cyst cause infertility in women?

By ZipLine — On May 05, 2013

I always hear about ovarian hemorrhagic cysts, I guess these are the most common. Where else are hemorrhagic cysts often found?

By fify — On May 04, 2013

@MikeMason-- This might not answer your question but I just want to say that an ovarian hemorrhagic cyst doesn't always rupture. Sometimes it shrinks and disappears.

If you're not in pain, then the doctors will probably watch it to see if it grows or shrinks. You might never have to deal with a rupture. Sometimes, the cyst can remain the same size without rupturing for years as well. So it completely depends on what your cysts are up to.

By stoneMason — On May 03, 2013

I recently found out that I have several ovarian cysts. They were found when I went to my gynecologist due to an aching pain where my ovaries are located.

She says that the cysts are harmless and will probably rupture and dissolve on their own. I haven't been given any kind of treatment.

My doctor is clearly not worried at all, but I'm worried that it will cause pain or infection when it does rupture. Has anyone experienced a ruptured ovarian cyst? Did it cause complications?

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