How is an ovarian cyst diagnosed?

Your health care provider will first rule out pregnancy as the cause of your symptoms. He or she then may use the following tests to diagnose an ovarian cyst:

  • A pelvic exam: During this exam, the doctor uses an instrument to widen the vagina, which allows the doctor to examine the vagina, cervix and uterus. The doctor also feels the reproductive organs for any lumps or changes.
  • Blood tests: These tests are used to measure the levels of certain hormones in the blood.
  • Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to create images of the body's internal organs. It can be used to detect cysts on the ovaries.
  • Laparoscopy: This is a procedure, performed in an operating room, in which the doctor inserts a small device through an incision (cut) in the abdomen. He or she views the reproductive organs and pelvic cavity using the device. If a cyst is diagnosed at this time, it can be removed.

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