Kate Beckinsale revealed on Sunday that she's been hospitalised with a ruptured ovarian cyst—and her photos show just how painful this can be.
In her Instagram post, Kate, 45, shared two photos of herself lying in a hospital bed. In one, she looks upset and has clearly been crying. In the other, she's curled up on her side in the same hospital bed.
"Turns out a ruptured ovarian cyst really hurts and morphine makes me cry," she wrote in the caption. "So thankful to everyone who looked after me #wobbly."
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What's a ruptured ovarian cyst?
Anatomy lesson: The female reproductive system has two ovaries—one on each side—which produce eggs. Those ovaries can develop cysts—a.k.a. fluid-filled sacs—which form during ovulation (when your ovary releases an egg every month), according to the Office on Women's Health (OWH). These cysts are known as functional cysts and are different from ovarian tumours or hormone-related cysts due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), per the OWH.
Most of the time, the cysts are totally harmless and you may not even realise that you have one. But they can grow too large and cause pretty intense symptoms like pressure, bloating, swelling, and pain.
In those cases, the cyst may rupture or cause an ovarian torsion (when the cyst grows too heavy and forces the the fallopian tube to twist), which can then cause sudden, severe pain and internal bleeding, along with fever and vomiting, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Basically, it really sucks.
How to treat a ruptured ovarian cyst
Pain management is the first step in treatment, hence Kate's mention of morphine (yes, it can be that painful). In some situations, though, surgery is needed, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
The two options include a cystectomy, or the removal of the cyst from the ovary, per the ACOG. But severe cases require an oophorectomy, which is when an entire ovary is removed.
Sadly, because cysts are so common, it's hard to prevent them entirely—which is why it's a good idea to get regular pelvic exams so your doctor can diagnose any changes in your ovaries ASAP.
If you tend to get ovarian cysts a lot, talk to your doc about hormonal birth control to stop ovulating and lower your odds of new cysts, per the OWH.
As for Kate, it's not entirely clear what treatment she received—but we hope she starts feeling better soon.