- Model Hailey Bieber posted on Instagram that she is dealing with ovarian cysts.
- Ovarian cysts are very common, and while most do not cause symptoms, they can be very painful.
- The vast majority of ovarian cysts will disappear within a few months but some may need to be surgically removed.
Hailey Bieber recently revealed that she suffers from recurring ovarian cysts — masses that can grow in or on an ovary — that cause pain and gastrointestinal issues.
The model shared a photo of herself, highlighting the bloating she experiences due to the cyst, alongside the caption “not a baby.”
“I have a cyst on my ovary the size of an apple. I don’t have endometriosis or PCOS [polycystic ovary syndrome] but I have gotten an ovarian cyst a few times and it’s never fun,” Bieber posted on Instagram.
“It’s painful and achey and makes me feel nauseous and bloated and crampy and emotional,” Bieber wrote.
Ovarian cysts are very common, and while most do not cause symptoms, they can be very painful. Though the vast majority of ovarian cysts will disappear within a few months, some may need to be surgically removed.
“Typically, ovarian cysts are harmless and go away on their own over time. However, a ruptured cyst or one that twists may prompt serious and sudden pain and if this occurs, patients should contact their physician immediately for medical attention,” says Dr. Joshua Cohen, a gynecologic oncologist and the medical director of the gynecologic cancer program at City of Hope Orange County.
They can also be a side effect of endometriosis or gastric cancer, when cells from other parts of the body implant and grow in an ovary.
“The cyst type will dictate how the cyst will behave — e.g. how fast it grows, how big it gets — and in certain circumstances may impact the type of symptoms the patient experiences,” says Dr. Scott Chudnoff, an OB/GYN and the Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Maimonides Health in Brooklyn, NY.
With endometriosis, for example, ovarian cysts that form from the uterine lining — known as endometriomas — can grow and bleed like the lining of the uterus.
Ovarian cysts are typically diagnosed via an ultrasound and can be any size — from less than 1 centimeter to over 15 centimeters, says Chudnoff.
Some cysts grow slowly and some grow quickly. They can occur in women of all ages, though older women have a higher risk of cancerous cysts.
It is rare for pre-menopausal women to develop cancerous ovarian cysts, says Cohen.
Most ovarian cysts don’t cause symptoms, but some women who develop cysts experience pelvic pressure and pelvic pain.
“The pain can be constant or may come and go and can be dull or sharp,” Chudnoff said.
Ovarian cysts can also cause gastrointestinal issues like nausea, bloating, constipation, and abdominal distention.
Larger cysts can create a feeling of heaviness or fullness, according to Cohen. Some women may experience urinary issues, unexplained weight gain, or pain during sex.
If the cyst produces hormones, like estrogen or testosterone, it can cause issues with menstruation.
Most ovarian cysts will go away without treatment in one to three months, according to Cohen.
“You could have a cyst each month as part of your cycle and not know it,” Cohen said.
Heat therapy and over-the-counter pain relievers, like ibuprofen, can help relieve ovarian cyst symptoms.
In severe cases, a cyst can rupture or cause the ovary to twist, which is known as ovarian torsion.
Ovarian torsion can block blood flow to the ovary and requires immediate surgery.
“The only concern that may mandate surgery would be if there is something that would make you suspicious for cancer such as very large size and increasing size or one of the other characteristics mentioned above, if there is evidence of torsion, if there is evidence of active bleeding from the cyst, or if there is severe pain,” Chudnoff said.
When surgery is necessary to remove the cyst, the ovary can typically be preserved.
If you experience any symptoms of ovarian cysts, talk to a gynecologist. If you experience sudden, sharp pelvic pain, it’s crucial to seek medical care immediately.
“It is important to advocate for yourself if you are experiencing symptoms,” Cohen said.
Hailey Bieber revealed that she suffers from recurring ovarian cysts that cause pain and gastrointestinal issues like bloating and nausea. Ovarian cysts are very common, and while most do not cause symptoms and resolve on their own within a few months, they can be very painful, and in certain cases, require surgery.