Ovarian cysts: what to look out for

Written by: Mr Akobundu Nnochiri
Published: | Updated: 29/11/2023
Edited by: Kate Forristal

Ovarian cysts are a common condition that don't usually cause any symptoms, consisting of a fluid-filled sac developing on a woman's uterus. In many cases, they disappear within a few months without the need for treatment. We spoke with specialist Mr Akobundu Nnnochiri to find out more.

Ovarian cyst symptoms

Symptoms usually only occur if the ovarian cyst ruptures, is very big, or is cutting off the flow of blood to the ovaries. Symptoms of ovarian cysts to look out for are:


  • Frequent urination
  • Trouble emptying bowels
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Bloated stomach
  • Irregular or heavy periods
  • Feeling full after eating little food
  • Trouble getting pregnant.


If any of these symptoms persist, it is recommended you get in touch with a GP or specialist. Immediate medical attention should be sought if sudden and severe pelvic pain is experienced, as this may be indicative of other, more serious health problems. If it is suspected you have an ovarian cyst, an ultrasound will probably be necessary to confirm diagnosis.


What are the different types of ovarian cyst?

There are two main types of ovarian cyst. These are:


  • Functional ovarian cysts which develop during the menstrual cycle. These are the most common type, and are generally harmless.
  • Pathological ovarian cysts are caused by abnormal cell growth and are much less common.


In some cases, ovarian cysts form because of another hidden condition such as endometriosis. Most ovarian cysts are non-cancerous, but in a few cases they have been known to be malignant especially in women who have gone through menopause.


Is treatment necessary?

Ovarian cyst treatment depends on a number of factors, including: size and appearance, the presence of other symptoms, and whether the patient has been through menopause. The majority of the time the ovarian cyst will disappear after a few months, but a follow-up ultrasound is usually carried out in order to affirm this.


In cases where the patient is more at risk of ovarian cancer, for example in post-menopausal women, frequent ultrasounds and blood tests are normally carried out in order to monitor the cyst. If the ovarian cyst is large, or possibly cancerous, surgery may be advised to have it removed. If this is the case, speak with your GP or specialist regarding how fertility may be affected. 


If you are suffering with ovarian cysts, you can schedule an appointment with Mr Akobundu Nnochiri on his Top Doctors profile.

Read more: Is my menstrual cycle normal?

By Mr Akobundu Nnochiri
Obstetrics & gynaecology

Mr Akobundu Nnochiri is an esteemed consultant gynaecologist based in London and Brentwood. With more than 25 years of experience, he is an expert in all aspects of obstetrics and gynaecology, including the treatment and management of urinary incontinence, large uterine fibroids, pelvic floor prolapse and endometriosis using advanced laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. Included in his surgical practice are also colposcopy and hysteroscopy procedures.

Mr Nnochiri originally qualified in Nigeria in 1995 before relocating to the UK. He completed his postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynaecology in Scotland, the West Midlands and London, where he went on to specialise in urogynaecology and laparoscopic surgery at Homerton University Hospital. Mr Nnochiri has practised at leading hospitals since, and in 2005, he became a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

In addition to his clinical work, Mr Nnochiri continues to publish in peer-reviewed journals and is, at present, the Gynaecology MAC representative at Spire Roding Hospital. Highly regarded for his gentle bedside manner, Mr Nnochiri works in partnership with his patients to ensure their comfort and confidence in their dedicated treatment plan.

​Alongside his NHS work at Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals, Mr Nnochiri currently sees patients at The London Independent Hospital, Spire Hartswood Hospital and Spire London East Hospital. 

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