Functional Ovarian Cyst: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Female pelvic organs

A functional ovarian cyst is a sac that forms on the surface of a woman's ovary during ovulation. The sac holds a maturing egg. Usually the sac goes away after the egg is released. But if the egg is not released, or if the sac closes up after the egg is released, the sac can swell up with fluid and form a cyst.

Functional ovarian cysts are different than ovarian growths caused by other problems, such as cancer. Most functional ovarian cysts cause no symptoms and go away on their own. Some cause mild pain. Others can cause severe pain when they rupture or bleed.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Use heat, such as a hot water bottle, a heating pad set on low, or a warm bath, to relax tense muscles and relieve cramping.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Avoid constipation. Make sure you drink enough fluids and include fruits, vegetables, and fibre in your diet each day. Constipation does not cause ovarian cysts, but it may make your pelvic pain worse.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have sudden, severe pain in your belly or your pelvis.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new belly or pelvic pain, or your pain gets worse.
  • You have severe vaginal bleeding. This means that you are soaking through your usual pads every hour for 2 or more hours.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You have pain or bleeding during or after sex.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your pain keeps you from doing the things that you enjoy.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Current as of: February 25, 2016