Lilly Singh diagnosed with ovarian cysts; here’s what you need to know about the condition

Comedian and YouTuber Lilly Singh took to Instagram to share with her followers that she has been diagnosed with cysts in both of her ovaries.

Sharing a video from the hospital — in which she is seen lying on the bed, wearing a mask — the 33-year-old wrote, “Spent the last day in the ER because my ovaries have the AUDACITY to be wilding out. Both of them have cysts. And I’m just out here like REALLY B?! [Sic]”

“Let me understand this. You’re going to make me suffer once a month and then IN ADDITION, stab me in between periods?! WOW. THE ENTITLEMENT… the NERVE. IM WEAKKKK… [sic]” she continued.

She ended the caption on a serious note, writing: “It hurts and I’m tired lol but I truly expect nothing less than my organs doing the most. After all I am their mother [sic]”

Cysts in the ovaries affect many women around the world. Dr Sunita Varma, director, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Fortis hospital Shalimar Bag explains that ovaries are a pair of small almond-shaped organs situated on either side of the uterus. “They are responsible for release of an egg (ovum) each month during a woman’s reproductive life in addition to producing hormones. Sometimes, fluid-filled pockets develop in the ovaries, which are called ‘cysts’.”

According to the doctor, ovarian cysts can be due to multiple causes, and some of the commonly-seen types of cysts are:

1. Functional cysts: These develop during the course of egg release in a menstrual cycle. They are small, harmless, usually cause no symptoms and disappear on their own.

2. Endometriomas: These develop when cells from the uterine lining (called endometrium) are present in the ovarian tissue. During periods, these cells bleed within the ovary, leading to formation of blood-filled cysts. Blood collected over time in the ovaries becomes dark brown, hence these cysts are also called ‘chocolate cysts’.

These are rarely cancerous, but they are the most common cause of severe pelvic pain and infertility, often requiring long-term analgesic or hormonal treatment and even surgery.

3. Dermoid cysts (teratomas): They arise from the germ cells of the ovary and contain various tissues like skin, hair, teeth, or bone. They are rarely cancerous and are commonly seen in young women. Treatment is surgical removal.

4. Cystadenomas: They arise from the surface (epithelial) cells of the ovary and contain clear or mucinous fluid. They can grow to large dimensions and can be cancerous in older women. They have to be surgically removed.

Rupture of a cyst can cause internal bleeding and severe pain, warranting immediate surgical intervention. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

But, what could cause the pain that Singh mentions in the post?

Dr Varma explains that while most ovarian cysts cause no symptoms and require only observation, some common causes of pain due to ovarian cysts are:

* Endometriomas, which can cause severe cyclical debilitating pain that starts several days before a period and usually settles down once menstrual bleeding starts. The pain can be severe enough to warrant visits to the emergency room for pain relief.

* Large cysts of the ovaries, usually cystadenomas or dermoid cysts, can twist (a condition referred to as torsion) and cause severe acute abdominal pain as the ovarian blood supply gets partially or completely cut off. Torsion usually requires immediate surgical treatment.

* Rupture of a cyst can cause internal bleeding and severe pain, warranting immediate surgical intervention.

* Infection in a cyst can be extremely painful, requiring antibiotics and sometimes surgery.

Signs and symptoms

– Pelvic pain, usually on the side of the cyst
– Heaviness in the lower abdomen
– Sensation of bloating
– Torsion/rupture/infection can cause severe acute abdominal pain associated with nausea, vomiting or fever.


“There is no way of preventing formation of ovarian cysts. Regular checkups with your gynecologist, however, can ensure any developing cysts are tackled before they cause complications and severe symptoms,” the doctor concludes.

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