Hailey Bieber recently opened up about having an ovarian cyst that she said is the “size of an apple”. The model, who also suffered a “mini-stroke” earlier this year, took to Instagram to share a mirror selfie that she captioned: “I have a cyst on my ovary the size of an apple.” In the now-unavailable post, the 26-year-old added that neither does she suffer from endometriosis (a condition where cells similar to the uterus lining, or endometrium, grow outside the uterus) or PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens, male sex hormones ), “but I have gotten an ovarian cyst a few times and it’s never fun.”
Also, putting speculations about pregnancy at rest, she said it is “not a baby”. In fact, “it is painful and ache-y and makes me feel nauseous and bloated and crampy and emotional”.
To understand more about an ovarian cyst, its signs and symptoms, and if it is fatal, we reached out to experts, including Dr Aparna Ghosh, a gynaecologist and obstetrician at Apollo Spectra Mumbai, who told indianexpress.com that an ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms on the ovary. “There are mainly two types of ovarian cysts: functional ovarian cysts, commonly seen during the menstrual cycle and are not dangerous, and appear for only a short duration; and pathological ovarian cysts, formed due to abnormal cell growth and are rare. Ovarian cysts can also occur due to endometriosis.”
Adding, Dr Madhuri Mehendale, Gynaecologist at Humm Care, said some cysts can be filled with solid material or blood and can need further evaluation and imaging, and surgical management after estimating the malignancy risk.
Signs and symptoms of an ovarian cyst
A woman who has a cyst on her ovary will exhibit symptoms such as pelvic pain, painful sexual intercourse, inability to empty the bowels, frequent urination, heavy periods, irregular periods or lighter periods than normal, bloating, abdominal swelling, and inability to conceive and embrace motherhood.
“The ovarian cyst can rupture, become large, and undergo torsion, which can stop the blood supply to the ovaries. This can lead to infertility and sharp pelvic pain that can be unbearable at times,” added Dr Ghosh.
According to Dr Mehendale, cysts of more than 4 or 5 cm usually give some dragging pain. However, if the cyst ruptures or undergoes any twists, the patient can present with extreme acute pain and vomiting, too.
Who is at the risk?
Women of childbearing age (18-45 yrs ) are most predisposed to ovarian cysts. However, the younger age group and postmenopausal women are not spared and can have certain malignant and benign cysts. Asked if a cyst can compromise a woman’s fertility or ability to conceive, Mehendale stated that depending on the type of cyst, fertility can be an issue. Usually, endometriosis-related cysts and cysts that need surgery can compromise fertility potential to some extent.
“Many times, these cysts are unavoidable. However, those who undergo fertility treatments for more than 12 cycles are at higher risk of developing cysts,” added Mehendale.
Hailey, who is married to Justin Bieber, was treated for a blood clot in her brain in March.
In April, she revealed a detailed account of the clot in a YouTube video titled ‘Telling My Story’. In it, she shared that she went through a “scary incident” on March 10 that felt like a stroke, and described it as a “weird sensation” that travelled from her shoulder to her fingertips. She added that the right side of her body was drooping and she couldn’t respond.
“Basically, they did some scans and were able to see that I suffered a small blood clot to my brain, called a TIA. It’s like having a mini-stroke. It feels like having a stroke, except my body was able to resolve it pretty quickly and then I didn’t have any more issues,” she said in the 12-minute video.