Differences Between Symptoms of Pregnancy and Ovarian Cysts

Some symptoms may be similar between pregnancy signs and the presence of an ovarian cyst, but there are also significant differences. In this article, we will explore the differences between pregnancy symptoms and the presence of ovarian cysts.

Published on:Oct 6th 2023 |Updated on:Apr 10th 2024
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Pregnancy Symptoms

Late Period

One of the most prominent signs of pregnancy is a delay in the menstrual cycle. You might be pregnant if you are experiencing a pause and have a regular menstrual history.

Nausea and Vomiting

Many pregnant women suffer from nausea and vomiting in the early months of pregnancy. These symptoms can be particularly pronounced in the morning and at different times throughout the day.

Increased Sensitivity to Smells

Some women notice an increased sensitivity to smells during pregnancy. This can accompany feelings of nausea and vomiting.

Breast Swelling

Some women experience swelling and sensitivity in the breast area as one of the early signs of pregnancy.

Lower Abdominal Pain

Pain and bloating may occur in the abdominal region during the first few months of pregnancy.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts

Pelvic Pain

An ovarian cyst might cause pain in the lower abdomen. This pain can be sharp or achy and might increase during your period.

Menstrual Irregularities

An ovarian cyst can cause menstrual irregularities, such as changes in bleeding or an irregular period.


An ovarian cyst might cause bloating and swelling in the abdominal area.

Weight Gain

In some cases, having an ovarian cyst can lead to weight gain due to fluid retention.

Fertility Issues

Fertility problems and inability to conceive can be potential signs of having an ovarian cyst.

Main Differences

Key Differences Between Pregnancy and the Presence of an Ovarian Cyst are:

  • The delayed period is typical in pregnancy but uncommon with an ovarian cyst.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and heightened sensitivity to smells are distinctive signs of pregnancy and are uncommon in the case of an ovarian cyst.
  • Pelvic pain and menstrual irregularities are common symptoms of an ovarian cyst but are rare in pregnancy.

What is the treatment for ovarian cysts?

The treatment for an ovarian cyst depends on several factors: its size, type, the patient's symptoms, and whether it poses a health risk. There are multiple treatment options for ovarian cysts; the final decision depends on the doctor's assessment.

Primary Treatment Options for Ovarian Cysts Include

Monitoring and Follow-up

If the cyst is small and causes no significant symptoms, treatment might involve regular medical check-ups and imaging tests to ensure the cyst doesn't grow or symptoms don't intensify.


Medication can sometimes treat ovarian cysts, such as drugs that aim to regulate hormones and prevent cyst growth. This can be effective for simple, functional cysts.

Fluid Draining

Sometimes, the doctor can drain the fluid from the cyst using a thin needle introduced through the skin under the guidance of ultrasound or MRI.


If the cyst is considerably large, causes severe symptoms like acute pain or swelling, or is suspected of malignancy, surgery to remove the cyst might be required. This surgery is known as "cystectomy" and can be open or laparoscopically.

Hormonal Treatment

In some cases, hormonal treatment can reduce the cyst's growth or prevent recurrence. This treatment can be through birth control pills or other hormone therapies.

Other Ways to Treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Symptoms

Healthy Eating

Opting for healthy, low-calorie snacks can stave off hunger between meals. Snacking on almonds, for instance, can control appetite and prevent consuming fatty foods that lead to weight gain, providing a more prolonged feeling of fullness.

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise offers numerous benefits in treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It combats obesity by burning calories and building muscle mass, which, in turn, reduces insulin resistance. Physical workouts also help lower cholesterol levels and other hormones. It's essential to consume energy-boosting healthy foods before exercising.

Getting enough Sleep

If you suffer from PCOS, you might experience sleep disturbances, including excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea, and sometimes insomnia. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase the activity of hunger-causing hormones like cortisol, which may lead you to eat more throughout the day. Sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of gaining weight or obesity. Therefore, it's crucial to maintain a consistent sleep schedule and include healthy foods, like almonds, in your diet.

Can ovarian cysts cause infertility?

There isn't a straightforward answer to this question. Ovarian cysts don't necessarily prevent pregnancy. If the condition is mild, it might affect only one ovary, allowing the other to ovulate and potentially facilitate pregnancy. However, if the cysts are cancerous, they can permanently prevent pregnancy. In such cases, they pose a significant risk to the woman's life and require diagnosis and removal.

It's not always possible to entirely prevent an ovarian cyst. However, some measures can reduce the likelihood of its occurrence.


Taking care of your health

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce the chances of developing an ovarian cyst. This includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking.

Be smart about Medication.

Sometimes, hormonal medications, like birth control pills, might increase the risk of forming ovarian cysts. If you're on any of these medications, consult your doctor to discuss potential benefits, risks, and alternatives.

Family History Awareness

If your family has a history of ovarian issues, discussing this with your doctor is beneficial. You might need regular check-ups to monitor the health of your ovaries.

Gynecological Care

Regular visits to a gynecologist are vital to check women's health and detect potential ovarian issues early. Periodic examinations can identify minor cysts before they become more significant problems.

Considering the Right Timing for Pregnancy

If you plan to conceive, avoid delaying it for an extended period. Becoming pregnant at a younger age can reduce the likelihood of gynecological problems, including ovarian cysts.

It's crucial to adhere to your doctor's advice, undergo necessary tests, and determine the appropriate treatment. If you have an ovarian cyst or suspect one, don't hesitate to consult your doctor for proper assessment and care.


OmoomaOmooma | First Online Arabic Motherhood Training Platform

Omooma is the first Online platform offering classes in Arabic dedicated to mothers and mothers-to-be. In addition to content covering many relevant topics, women’s health, pregnancy, fertility, child’s health, and parenting. Omooma’s articles are written by medical writers, based on extensive research, and reviewed by a panel of experts who are part of the largest team of experts available in the region in all fields related to the journey of motherhood.

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