This past week, actress Kate Beckinsale posted two raw, powerful photos of herself in the hospital after a serious bout with a ruptured ovarian cyst.
One photo is a close-up of her face, and you can tell she is in serious pain; in another photo, she is lying in bed on her side, back to the camera, surrounded by medical equipment.
The actress pulled no punches as she described how incredibly painful the ordeal had been for her. “Turns out a ruptured ovarian cyst really hurts and morphine makes me cry,” she wrote. And when a commenter had the audacity to act as though she was posting the picture to show off in some way, her retort was perfect:
“But first let me take a selfie,” the commenter said.
“It’s actually not a selfie,” Beckinsale replied. “My mum took it. In fact I would not have posted it if we had not noticed someone in a car taking a photo of me leaving the hospital in a wheelchair.”
Clearly, Beckinsale is in no mood for bullshit or second guessing about what happened to her, and from her photos and descriptions, you can tell that this experience was more than just an uncomfortable inconvenience.
In addition to that rude AF comment, there were a lot of women who chimed in saying that ruptured ovarian cysts really are a big freaking deal, and seriously painful. Clearly, many women have experienced them, and yet, I think most women don’t know what ruptured ovarian cysts are, what the symptoms are, and when to seek medical attention.
According to Nicole Galan, a registered nurse writing for Verywell Health, ovarian cysts themselves are common, and most tend to resolve on their own. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacks that form on the surface of the ovary, and usually women don’t even know they have them. (I personally have them, but didn’t know until I got an unrelated sonogram of my pelvis.)
“The vast majority of ovarian cysts are painless and will not lead to complications of any sort,” writes Galan. “There are times, however, where the location of a cyst may cause irritation or discomfort during a bowel movement or when having sex. This usually happens when the cyst has grown so large that it begins to press on nerves or other organs.”
Sex or bowel movements are some of the triggers for an ovarian rupture, according to Galen. The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) lists strenuous exercise as another possible cause.
So what would your symptoms be if you had an ovarian cyst that burst?
As WebMD describes it, you might experience:
– Sharp and sudden cramping below the belly button; the exact location of the cramping is partly determined by the location of the cyst
– Spotting or bleeding
– Prior to the rupture, you may experience pain/pressure in your lower stomach region, thighs, or lower back
How do you know if your symptoms require a visit to the doctor or emergency room?
As URMC explains it, mild or moderate symptoms that can be managed with over-the-counter pain killers aren’t necessarily an emergency situation. However, if you experience extreme pain or uncontrolled bleeding, you should go to a medical provider or facility immediately.
Some cases of ruptured ovarian cysts require hospitalization, and some severe cases may even require surgery. In rare cases, if the bleeding is not addressed quickly enough, severe blood loss can “cause less blood flow to your organs,” according to URMC, which can lead to death.
This is truly scary, and although it’s rare, it’s important for us to understand that symptoms such as severe pain and bleeding should be addressed RIGHT AWAY.
Other concerning but lesser known symptoms that require immediate medical attention include nausea, vomiting, dizziness along with vaginal bleeding, says Dr. Lauren Streicher, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in an interview with SELF Magazine.
Dr. Streicher adds that since many of the symptoms of ruptured ovarian cysts resemble the symptoms of appendicitis, it’s important to get things checked out right away.
YES. I know that, as women, we are often not listened to by medical professionals, and our complaints not taken seriously (this is a well-documented fact, unfortunately). But that is why it’s extra important for us to take our own pains and discomforts with utmost seriousness and be proactive about getting help.
I also know many of us busy moms simply don’t have time to deal with something like severe abdominal pain and bleeding and would rather just “muscle” through it. But here is your wakeup call to get yourself to the doctor even if you only suspect you have symptoms of a rupture ovarian cyst — because it’s better to be safe than sorry.