Hemorrhagic Ovarian Cysts: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

hemorrhagic cyst ultrasound picture The third most common type of functional ovarian cyst is the hemorrhagic ovarian cyst.  Also known as the blood cyst, hematocele and hematocyst, this type of cyst occurs when a blood vessel in the wall of the cyst breaks, causing the cyst to fill with blood.

Causes of Hemorrhagic Cysts

Hemorrhagic ovarian cysts start in the same way as other functional ovarian cysts.  During ovulation, the follicle, which contains the egg while it is maturing, is supposed to burst and then dissolve.  In some cases, the follicle does not dissolve or does not burst, and instead becomes filled with fluid.  This creates a functional ovarian cyst.

In the case of a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst, a blood vessel in the wall of the cyst breaks, causing the cyst to become filled with blood.  This will show up on the ultrasound as clots within the cyst. 

Symptoms of Hemorrhagic Cysts

Hemorrhagic ovarian cysts have the potential to be the most dangerous of functional ovarian cysts.  Fortunately, most tend to dissolve on their own.  In rare cases, they rupture, spilling blood into the ovary and causing severe pain.

The most common symptom of this type of cyst is a steady or sharp pain in the lower abdomen, generally located on one side.  If you experience a sudden intense pain, contact your doctor immediately.  It is possible that the cyst has ruptured, and it may require treatment to stop the bleeding.

Treatment of Hemorrhagic Ovarian Cysts

Most hemorrhagic ovarian cysts will clear up on their own.  Therefore, the only treatment generally prescribed is pain relief.  You can take acetaminophen if pregnant or ibuprofen if you are not.  You can also use heating pads and hot water bottles to increase circulation to the area and encourage the cyst to dissolve faster.