Kate Beckinsale had what you might call a doozy of a weekend. She wound up in the ER with a ruptured ovarian cyst, she revealed on Instagram.
Beckinsale posted a teary-eyed photo of herself with an oxygen cannula in her nose, as well as a snap of herself in a hospital bed. “Turns out a ruptured ovarian cyst really hurts and morphine makes me cry,” she captioned the post. “So thankful to everyone who looked after me.” Ovarian cysts are actually really common, but painful ordeals like Beckinsale’s are not.
The majority of ovarian cysts—little fluid-filled sacs that form on the ovary—cause little to no pain and will disappear on their own in a matter of months, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s not unusual for cysts to come and go without the person ever knowing they had one. But if a cyst does cause symptoms, they usually include pain, swelling, pressure, and bloating in the lower abdomen on the side of the cyst, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The two most common types, follicular cysts and corpus luteum cysts, occur when something goes a little awry during a regular menstrual cycle, the Mayo Clinic explains. Normally, an egg is released from a little sac on your ovary called a follicle. Once the egg is released, the empty follicle shrinks to form what’s called a corpus luteum, which is supposed to make hormones to get ready for the next egg.
Follicular cysts form when the follicle doesn’t let go of the egg and begins to swell up. These often resolve one to three months without causing symptoms, per the HHS. Corpus luteum cysts happen when that empty follicular sac fails to shrink, instead resealing itself and allowing fluid to collect inside. Most go away in a few weeks.
More rarely, people can develop cysts called dermoids (which contain tissue like skin, hair and teeth), cystadenomas (filled with fluid) and endometriomas (caused by endometriosis). While it’s possible to have an ovarian cyst that’s linked to ovarian cancer, the majority of them are not, the HHS says.