How to Deal With Ovarian Cyst Pain

Woman suffering from severe abdominal pain

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  • Several factors have to be considered in determining the type of treatment for ovarian cyst pain, and whether these cysts need to be treated at all
  • There are medicines that may be suggested to treat ovarian cysts. However, only consider them as a last resort

Several factors have to be considered in determining the type of treatment for ovarian cyst pain, and whether these cysts need to be treated at all. These factors include:1

Patient’s age

Cyst appearance

Cyst size

If patient is pre- or postmenopausal

Presence of ovarian cyst symptoms, such as pain located in the abdomen, pelvis and sometimes on the lower back2

What Is Watchful Waiting?

Watchful waiting or observation may be recommended if the patient is premenopausal and has a small functional cyst measuring 2 to 5 centimeters (three-quarters inch to 2 inches).This means that the patient won’t receive immediate treatment. However, the patient will need to undergo ultrasounds to check if the ovarian cyst  resolves on its own. These scans are often done a few weeks or months after the cyst is first spotted.3,4

Postmenopausal patients may also be monitored with ultrasounds and blood tests to check for their CA125 levels. Ideally, post-menopausal women must undergo a follow-up ultrasound four months after the cyst disappears. The specific approach for treating the ovarian cyst depends highly on the cyst’s size and if there is progress over time.

A woman with small cysts in one ovary has a small risk of developing cancer, but in most cases, these cysts go away within three months. If the ultrasound shows that the cyst has resolved, further tests and treatment aren’t usually necessary. If the cyst remains, however, surgery may be recommended.

Ovarian cysts may be surgically removed if they are large or persistent, usually cause symptoms or if there are concerns that the cysts can be cancerous or potentially cancerous.5

Conventional Medicines for Ovarian Cyst Pain Relief

There are medicines that may be suggested to treat ovarian cysts. However, only consider them as a last resort, as there are side effects linked to these drugs:6,7

Oral contraceptives or birth control pills: These are recommended to inhibit ovulation and ovarian hormone production to help reduce the risk for developing functional ovarian cysts. The uterine lining grows and sheds in direct response to the pills' hormonal content. Oral contraceptives may also be suggested to lower the risk of cysts developing in future menstrual cycles and decrease the possibility of ovarian cancer. However, there are complications linked to these medicines.

Most birth control pills contain derivatives of estrogen and progestin hormones that often mimic effects of the said hormones in the body. These derivatives fool the reproductive system and may eventually:

Prevent ovaries from releasing egg cells

Thicken cell mucus to assist in blocking sperm cell from fertilizing the egg

Prompt thinning of the uterus lining that can make it difficult for an egg to implant if it becomes fertilized

Other complications of taking oral contraceptives include:


Weight gain and mood changes

Yeast overgrowth and infection

Increased risk of being diagnosed with glaucoma8

Prevention of muscle gain from resistance exercise training

Higher risk of depression9

Increased plaque artery buildup in the body, consequently raising the risk for heart disease

Reduced mineral bone density (MBD)

Higher risk for blood clots and stroke

Long-term sexual dysfunction, including reduced desire and arousal

Increased risk for cervical, breast and possibly liver cancer

Myocardial infarction

Pain relievers: Over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen may be recommended to help reduce pelvic pain, while prescription narcotic or opioid painkillers can be proposed for relieving cyst-caused pain. Unfortunately, these drugs have no effect on speeding up healing of the cysts, and can cause side effects such as:

Side Effects of OTC NSAIDs Side Effects of Prescription Narcotic or Opioid Painkillers
  • Stomach upset, nausea and vomiting
  • Kidney problems
  • Hypertension
  • Higher risk of hearing loss (linked to long-term regular use of NSAIDs)10
  • Higher risk for miscarriage11
  • Gastrointestinal disorders like upper and lower GI bleeding and perforation12,13
  • Higher risk for atrial fibrillation14
  • Death15
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Increased risk of misuse and overuse that can cause these medicines to become a gateway drug to heroin
  • Opioid overdose and death


Ovarian Cyst: an Introduction

What Is Ovarian Cyst?

Ruptured Ovarian Cyst

Ovarian Cyst During Pregnancy

Ovarian Cyst Symptoms

Ovarian Cyst Pain

Ovarian Cyst Causes

Ovarian Cyst Types

Ovarian Cyst Treatment

Ovarian Cyst Removal

Ovarian Cyst Prevention

Ovarian Cyst Diet

Ovarian Cyst FAQ

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