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The causes of a bleeding ovarian cyst are dependent on the type of cyst that develops on the ovary of a woman of childbearing years. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacks that can form in many areas of the body. Some ovarian cysts swell in size and can rupture, causing vaginal bleeding. Pelvic pain and bleeding between periods are abnormal signs indicative of an ovarian cyst, and requires an appointment with a physician.
Symptoms of an abnormal ovarian cyst include pain on one or both sides of the abdomen. When an ovarian cyst forms, most women will have sharp pains and feel cramping within the pelvic region. Difficulty or pain when urinating and during sexual intercourse is also a sign of an ovarian cyst. The menstrual cycle may become irregular or the woman may experience spotty bleeding between periods. A bleeding ovarian cyst will cause a heavier blood flow than a normal menstrual cycle.
Normal ovarian cysts are formed each month as part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The egg develops inside a follicle, which protects the egg while the uterus prepares itself for receiving the egg. After the egg is expelled from the follicle, the follicle will normally dissolve. In some cases, the egg is not released and the follicle remains, forming a cyst on the ovary. These cysts are not usually painful and are called functional ovarian cysts.
Sometimes follicular cysts can grow to a large size causing the cyst to rupture and bleed. A bleeding cyst is diagnosed with an ultrasound or a computer tomography (CT) scan. Some ovarian cysts do not require any treatment other than over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, or even just a warm compress on the abdomen. Occasionally, a large ovarian cyst may need to be removed. In order to shorten the healing time, the surgeon will remove the cyst by performing a minimally invasive procedure called laparoscopic surgery.
A bleeding ovarian cyst can be caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It is a disease that involves many small cysts on the ovaries. The burst ovarian cyst can cause pain on one side of the abdomen as well as vaginal bleeding. PCOS is also associated with other metabolic issues like diabetes.
Women with a bleeding ovarian cyst may become anemic due to the rapid loss of blood from a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst. Removal of the ruptured ovarian cyst may be enough to restore the blood hemoglobin levels to within a normal range. Some physicians will prescribe oral contraceptives because these pills prevent ovulation and may inhibit the development of ovarian cysts.