Over the weekend, actress Kate Beckinsale shared photos of herself from a hospital bed with tear-stained cheeks.
“Turns out a ruptured ovarian cyst really hurts and morphine makes me cry,” Beckinsale captioned the photos from her Instagram account. “So thankful to everyone who looked after me #wobbly.”
According to Women’s Health, ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs in the ovary that commonly form during the ovulation process each month during the release of an egg.
Even though ovarian cysts are usually harmless, a sudden rupture of a large cyst can be painful with symptoms that include: severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea or vomiting, and faintness. These ruptures require immediate medical attention due to the possibility of heavy bleeding or fluids released from the rupture.
Beckinsale’s unfortunate hospital visit can be a reminder for women to watch out for their ovarian health and the importance of annual check-ups.
Symptoms that an ovarian cyst could become a potential problem are “pressure, bloating, swelling or pain in the lower abdomen on the side of the cyst” and pain that may come and go, Women’s Health further informed.
The size of the cyst is also of great importance explained Dr. Jennifer Ashton, OB-GYN, on Good Morning America with food. “It could be as small as a walnut, it could grow to the size of a grape, or a grapefruit. You talk about a cyst lemon-sized or greater, that can cause serious risk of pain, rupture, and that can lead people to the E.R.”
It all sounds frightening, especially if you’re in the middle of family planning or on alert about previous ovarian pain you may have had. However, you’re most likely in the clear.
Dr. Ashton further explained that a vast majority of cysts resolve on their own, with women being told to come back to their physician in four to six weeks to check on its progression.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that 5 to 10 percent of ovarian cysts require surgery to remove the cyst and that 13 to 21 percent of these cysts are cancerous.
It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your reproductive health. Ovarian cysts are not preventable, but an annual gynecologist visit is essential. Listen to your body and pay close attention to your ovulation and menstrual cycles, which can be tracked on apps or even in your daily planner.