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Birla Fertility & IVF
Birla Fertility & IVF

Hemorrhagic Ovarian Cyst: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

  • Published on August 11, 2022
Hemorrhagic Ovarian Cyst: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Ever wondered what happens when an ovarian cyst takes an unexpected turn? Hemorrhagic ovarian cysts arise when internal bleeding occurs within functional ovarian cysts, particularly in menstruating women who haven’t hit menopause yet. These cysts are often a byproduct of the ovulation process. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled or solid sacs on or inside the ovary, which typically resolve on their own, causing no trouble.

Let’s understand hemorrhagic cysts with an example –during a typical menstrual cycle, an egg bursts from a follicle. If the follicle doesn’t seal properly and starts bleeding, it transforms into a hemorrhagic cyst. Though usually harmless, these cysts can occasionally trigger discomfort or pain. Read more to know the common symptoms of it.

Hemorrhagic Ovarian Cyst Symptoms

Smaller hemorrhagic ovarian cyst symptoms:
They are usually asymptomatic. However, larger cysts can show several symptoms, including:

  • Sharp or dull pain in the pelvic region on the side of the cyst
  • Heaviness in your abdomen/a constant feeling of fullness
  • Bloating/swollen tummy
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Difficulty in emptying your bowel
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Lighter than normal/scanty periods
  • Difficulty getting pregnant

Severe hemorrhagic ovarian cyst symptoms

Below listed are a few severe hemorrhagic ovarian cyst symptoms, which require immediate medical attention:

  • Sudden, severe pelvic pain
  • Fever and vomiting along with pelvic pain
  • Feeling faint, weak, and dizziness
  • Irregular breathing
  • Heavy, irregular bleeding between periods

Hemorrhagic Ovarian Cyst Causes

Hemorrhagic ovarian cysts are also functional cysts. They could emerge mainly due to the following reasons:

  • Ovulation Process:

An ovarian follicle develops and releases an egg during ovulation. Normally, the follicle shuts off and transforms into the corpus luteum (a temporary endocrine gland in the ovary) once the egg is expelled.

  • Blood Vessel Rupture:

Blood may occasionally pool inside the cyst as a consequence of rupture or leak in the blood vessels encircling the corpus luteum.

  • Hemorrhagic Cyst Formation:

The accumulation of blood within the cyst leads to the formation of a hemorrhagic cyst. This cyst appears as a fluid-filled sac with blood inside.

  • Menstruating Women:

Because hemorrhagic cysts are linked to the regular ovulation process, they are more common in women who are still menstruation and have not yet entered menopause.

  •  Follicular cyst:

During the menstrual cycle, eggs typically burst from follicles and move down the fallopian tube. But if a follicle fails to release the egg, it can grow into a cyst.

  • Corpus luteum cyst:

After releasing an egg, follicle sacs usually dissolve. If they don’t dissolve, extra fluid can build up, forming a corpus luteum cyst.

Risk Factors of Hemorrhagic Ovarian Cyst

A few risk factors that have the potential to develop hemorrhagic ovarian cysts:

  • Pregnancy:  Sometimes, a follicle sticks on the ovary during pregnancy and can grow into a cyst.
  • Endometriosis:  Tissues from endometriosis can attach to the ovary and form cysts.
  • History of Ovarian Cysts: Previous ovarian cysts increase the risk of developing more cysts in the future.
  • Pelvic Infections or Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases (PID): Untreated or severe pelvic infections can spread to the ovaries, leading to cyst formation.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: Taking fertility drugs or certain medications that disrupt hormone levels can increase the likelihood of ovarian cysts.

Hemorrhagic Ovarian Cyst Diagnosis

Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical exam to check for tenderness in the lower abdomen. In addition, the doctor will recommend a few diagnostic tests to detect the severity of the cysts:

  • Pelvic Exam:

A routine pelvic exam may detect an ovarian cyst. Further tests will depend on the cyst’s size and type to determine appropriate treatment.

  • Transvaginal Ultrasound:

This helps to identify cysts and their characteristics (solid, fluid-filled, or mixed).

  • CA 125 Blood Test:

If cysts are partially solid, this test assesses CA 125 levels in the blood to determine if they could be cancerous. Elevated CA 125 levels may indicate ovarian cancer risk but can also occur in noncancerous conditions affecting the reproductive organs.

Hemorrhagic Ovarian Cyst Treatment

Typically, when hemorrhagic ovarian cysts are less than 5cm in diameter and are asymptomatic, they don’t require any treatment and the doctor suggests mild medication or waiting to check whether they dissolve on their own. However, when the cysts are more than 5cm in diameter and show significant symptoms, then surgical intervention is required. Some of the cyst removal surgeries include:

  • Laparoscopy:

A minimally invasive procedure where a laparoscope is inserted through a small incision around your abdominal area to remove the cysts.

  • Laparotomy:

For larger ovarian cysts removal, a laparotomy is done by making a larger incision in the abdomen region. If ovarian cancer is suspected, you may be referred to a gynaecological oncologist for further evaluation and treatment discussions.

When is an Ovarian Cyst a Reason for Concern?

Mostly ovarian cysts are harmless, painless and disappear on their own. However, if you have a cyst that keeps growing bigger and symptomatic, consult a doctor immediately to get it monitored.

You can start by tracking your symptoms regularly and reporting them to your doctor periodically. A few signs that may indicate immediate medical attention:

  • Sudden changes in your menstrual cycle
  • Severely painful period
  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason
  • Poor health and sickness in general


Hemorrhagic ovarian cysts are common and often experienced by women in the reproductive age group. These cysts are mostly smaller, asymptomatic, harmless and dissolve on their own. In rare cases, when hemorrhagic ovarian cysts impact fertility, become larger and are painful, they require surgery. If you are diagnosed with ovarian cysts and not able to achieve conception, consult our fertility specialist today. To book an appointment, you can call us on the mentioned number or fill in the given appointment form with the required details and our medical coordinator will call you back shortly.


1. How serious is a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst?

These cysts are typically harmless and lead to complications only in rare cases.

2. Should I worry about a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst?

You need to worry about a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst only if the cyst continues to grow bigger and causes complications.

3. How long does a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst last?

Hemorrhagic ovarian cysts often go away by themselves within a few weeks or a couple of menstrual cycles.

4. What is the natural treatment for a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst?

Often, hemorrhagic ovarian cysts go away naturally without any treatment.

5.  Is there any difference between a left ovarian hemorrhagic cyst and a right ovarian hemorrhagic cyst?

No. Ovarian hemorrhagic cysts can occur in either or both the left ovary and the right ovary. The methods of diagnosis and treatment are the same irrespective of the side of the affected ovary.

Written by:
Dr. Anjali Chauhan

Dr. Anjali Chauhan

Dr. Anjali Chauhan is a fertility specialist with over 6 years of experience and has performed more than 100+ IVF cycles. She specializes in laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, and minimally invasive surgeries for complex infertility cases.
Preet Vihar, Delhi

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