In many women, ovarian cysts remain asymptomatic and require no treatment. However they can cause a host of symptoms including acute pain in the pelvis as well as irregular bleeding. If you feel intense pain in your pelvis, lower back or thighs, particularly during leg raises, it may indicate that you have an ovarian cyst that is either very large or has become twisted, according to the New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health.
Ovarian cysts may develop in women of childbearing years. Often these cysts occur in women with a family history of ovarian cysts. Other causes include hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. Acute pain during leg raises may mean that an ovarian cyst has grown to the point where it is putting pressure on the abdomen. Pain may also be experienced in the pelvis, lower back, thighs and during sex.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome refers to a common chronic hormonal disorder. In women with polycystic ovary syndrome, the eggs neither mature nor leave the ovaries and often turn into noncancerous cysts in women of childbearing age. If you feel pain during leg raises and experience other symptoms such as irregular menstrual periods, hair growth on your face, or darkened areas of skin on your neck and groin, it may indicate polycystic ovary syndrome.
Prevention & Treatment
According to WomensHealth.gov it is not possible to prevent ovarian cysts. Typically no treatment is recommended unless the cysts initiate symptoms such as pain during leg raises. Certain risk factors do exist for women, however, including obesity and lack of exercise. Exercise therefore tends to help women with ovarian cysts. If leg raises cause pain, speak to your gynecologist or health care practitioner about exercises you can substitute.
If the pain you feel during leg raises is accompanied by any symptoms such as fever, nausea or vomiting, sudden and intense pain in the abdomen, the feeling of faintness or dizziness and rapid breathing, this may indicate that the cyst has ruptured. Seek immediate medical attention in this case.
- The New Harvard Guide to Women's Health; Karen J. Carlson, et al.; 2004
- Real Age: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome; Debra Wood, RN.