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How are ovarian cysts diagnosed?

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In brief: Diagnosis of ovarian cysts

As you may not have any symptoms from your ovarian cyst, it may only be discovered if you are having an examination or ultrasound scan for some other reason.



If you visit your doctor with symptoms of an ovarian cyst, he or she will ask about your symptoms and conduct an internal examination. Your doctor may be able to feel a swelling on your ovary if you have an ovarian cyst.


If your cyst is large or your doctor thinks it needs further investigation, he or she will refer you to a gynaecologist - a doctor specialising in women’s reproductive health.


You will usually need to have further tests to diagnose an ovarian cyst. These may include the following.


An ultrasound - this uses sound waves to produce an image of the inside of the body or part of the body. A radiologist (a doctor who specialises in using imaging methods to diagnose medical conditions) or radiographer (a health professional trained to perform imaging procedures) may perform this test. He or she will look at your ovarian cyst by placing an ultrasound probe on your lower abdomen, or sometimes into your vagina (transvaginal ultrasound), which can give a clearer picture of your ovaries.


Blood tests - these may be carried out for a substance called CA-125, which can be increased in women who have ovarian cancer or benign ovarian cysts.

In brief: Diagnosis of ovarian cysts

As you may not have any symptoms from your ovarian cyst, it may only be discovered if you are having an examination or ultrasound scan for some other reason.



If you visit your doctor with symptoms of an ovarian cyst, he or she will ask about your symptoms and conduct an internal examination. Your doctor may be able to feel a swelling on your ovary if you have an ovarian cyst.


If your cyst is large or your doctor thinks it needs further investigation, he or she will refer you to a gynaecologist - a doctor specialising in women’s reproductive health.


You will usually need to have further tests to diagnose an ovarian cyst. These may include the following.


An ultrasound - this uses sound waves to produce an image of the inside of the body or part of the body. A radiologist (a doctor who specialises in using imaging methods to diagnose medical conditions) or radiographer (a health professional trained to perform imaging procedures) may perform this test. He or she will look at your ovarian cyst by placing an ultrasound probe on your lower abdomen, or sometimes into your vagina (transvaginal ultrasound), which can give a clearer picture of your ovaries.


Blood tests - these may be carried out for a substance called CA-125, which can be increased in women who have ovarian cancer or benign ovarian cysts.
Quality HealthCare Team
Quality HealthCare Team
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Dr. Dennis Higginbotham
Board Certified, Obstetrics & Gynecology
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