Avatar universal

Do ovarian cysts show up on a CT scan?

I had a CT scan in May and the doctor didn't mention seeing anything, however I did have my OBGYN see a simple cyst on ultrasound back in March.  If the cyst was still there, would the CT scan pick up on it this past May?  I'm very worried.
17 Responses
Avatar universal
I had a CT scan done yesterday as he was checking for bowel problems he did see that my 5 cm ovarian cyst was still there but the best tool for seeing your cyst is a transvaginal ultrasound.  Cyst are a normal part of a womans cycle which come and go all the time.  Yours probably has disappeared by now.  Just ask them to do another TV ultra sound if your worried.
Avatar universal
A CT shows cysts that are 1cm and larger.  You could call your doctor and ask to get a copy of the CT for your records just to be sure.  But, yes...the CT would have shown if your cyst from March had grown or had worrisome signs.
Avatar universal
well, i guess my concern is that they two tests were performed (and ordered) by two different docs.  the march ultrasound was a routine follow up.  that's where the simple cyst was found.  

the CT scan in may was done in the ER to check for any gastro issues.

my concern is that over the last couple of weeks i've been having some twingy type discomfort down in my lower right pelvic area and i was worrying that it maybe was the cyst that hadn't resolved from march.

however, if the doc in may via CT scan didn't see mention anything, then i would presume that the cyst had resolved?  i do know that the cyst that i had was over 1 cm, therefore presumable the ER doc would have noticed it on the CT scan (even though he was looking for gastro type issues), correct.  

sounds almost like what you just had done?

please let me know your thoughts and thanks!  it's so nice to hear from others who have gone through similar situations.

i've been dealing with various medical problems for 2 years now and having a tough time determining what is wrong.  frustrating!
Avatar universal
The CT for gastro issues may not have gone down low enough to show your ovary.  Typically, there is an abdominal CT and a pelvic CT.  They can scan both areas at the same time, but you may not have had it scan your pelvis if they were looking for issues in you abdomen.

I think if you are having symptoms now, then you should see your doctor and hopefully get another ultrasound to check on the cyst.   Even if you didn't have a growing cyst back in May, you could now.  If your doctor had seen a worrisome cyst on the CT scan from May, he would have told  you.  But, a small simple cyst would not usually draw concern so he may not have mentioned it to you.  It is possible that it was there and has now grown.   It is worth checking out if you are feeling something is wrong.   I think it is always a good idea to get copies of your scan reports.    I hope you find some answers soon.
Avatar universal
I'm with hopeshell, I wish I had asked for the copies from the drs.  I feel kind of saucy asking them to photo copy them for me but now that I know other people do I am going to start asking for them.  I did go in for gastro issues and they did see my cyst on my ovary but they said to me that they didn't know if it was just a air pocket from previous bowel surgery back in 2002.  I said it was probably the 5 cm cyst they were seeing and they agreed.  I took it from there that the ct scan doesn't show cysts up that well.  I asked the gastro what was the best way to view the cyst he said transvaginal ultra sound.  Because my CA125 is at 80 they are going to remove the cyst but that is through my gyno.  I do get that twingy feeling down on my left side where the cyst is almost like when you first feel movement when your pregnant.  That's why I refer to the darn thing like it's alien, lol.  I get a tremendous amount of gurgling up my left side to my rib cage almost like there is a stitch in my side from running.  Weird!!  Apparantly cysts are a normal part of the menstral cycle which I didn't realize they sometimes don't break and become stubborn.  A small cyst like your talking about may come back in a few cycles and then disappear again.  They think mine is hemorrhagic which means its a bleeding cyst which apparantly causes alot of discomfort more like a lot of stomach upset.  I can't tell what age you are but I think the older you are the more worried they become.  I'm feeling pretty old right now, lol.  Hope this has helped you in some way.  I wouldn't worry too much about a simple cyst that is why they call it simple.  I think when they become complex with solid matter that it becomes more of a guessing game.  You know your body better than they do so if you don't feel comfortable then I would get the transvaginal done again.  The ct scan is quite disturbing drinking all that whatever it is and having it pumped through the viens, God only knows what that was.
Avatar universal
lol...about the CT drink...so true!
Avatar universal
thanks to both of you ladies for your quick responses.

i have been having gastro/gyno issues for just over two years now with no relief and no understanding as to what is going on, so naturally i worry about ovarian cancer.

over the last two years, i have had multiple ultrasounds, 2 CT scans and an MRI (that was a while back).

all that is ever picked up are minor issues.

my biggest concern is over ovarian cancer and i am very prone to ovarian cysts.

if, in fact, my simple cyst from march is still around and growing, should that raise any cause for concern insofar as it turning into a complex cysts... or do simple cysts stay simple.  

also, ovarian cancer is growth that doesn't stop growing and can't disappear, right?

i'm just worried that i've been dealing with ovarian cancer for two years and none of these doctors are picking up on it.

sad that i feel better coming here than i do going into my doctor.

any info shared is very helpful.

thanks again...  :)
Avatar universal
I can understand your concern.  You should definitely follow-up with your doctor because you know best if something is amiss in your body.  But, if you had ovarian cancer for the two years now, you would have other serious, obvious symptoms by this time.  Ovarian cancer usually grows and spreads quickly.  Two years into the disease you would likely have other organs that were affected and causing you many major issues.  

That said, any cyst can grow and change.  So, new or peristent symptoms require new evaluations.  A simple cyst usually stays simple, but they can change over time.  For women with ovarian cancer, it is common to have benign, borderline and malignant areas in the same cyst.  But, almost all ovarian cancer presents with a large, complex adnexal mass (over 5cm).  Sometimes, if the tumor is very large and the ovary can't even be seen on the scan.  When ovarian cancer spreads, it causes enlarged lymph nodes and other masses that can be seen on scans, as well as large amounts of fluid in the abdomen (ascites).  Small amounts of free fluid in the pelvis is a normal finding and does not indicate ascites.  

When I was diagnosed, I needed to urinate constantly because the tumor was pressing on my bladder.  I could not finish a grocery store run without several trips to the restroom.  I also had pain.  My tumor was 6cm at the time of my dx.  My doctor felt it when he did a pelvic exam.  My us, CT and MRI all indicated that it was possibly malignant and I was only Stage 1.

You are right in that ovarian cancer does not stop growing or disappear.  The mass grows larger and symptoms get worse as time passes.  I am sure there is a reason for your symptoms. Just keep following up with your doctor.  Sometimes (even with a cancer dx), the only thing you can do is wait until an abnormality is detected.  This produces a lot of anxiety, but there is no way around it.  In the beginning, you wait for a diagnosis, then you wait for surgery, wait for pathology, etc.  I used to tell myself that I would feel better when the waiting was over and I knew a certain path.  But, truthfully, the waiting never ends and the course of disease is never certain.  All you can do is report your concerns and get adequate follow-up.   Hang in there! :)


Avatar universal
Thanks so much for all of your words, Shelly.  I sincerely appreciate it.  :)
Avatar universal
Hello herlifeswork! I am actually experiencing the same problems as you described and it has been going on for a little over 2 years for me now, I have had scans and nothing seems to show up. I was wondering since this post is a bit old if you were able to find out what was wrong?
Avatar universal
I have had a ultra sound done on my abdomen and then I had a HIDA scan done and they both were " NORMAL " so my dr sent me for a CT scan due to pain in my upper right quadrant and then tell me that I have a cyst is there anything that I need to be worried about?
Avatar universal
Cysts are common and most go away on their own. Did they tell you what type of cyst or its size?
Lol I am getting ready to have my second surgery on ovarian dermoid cysts. Each on separate ovaries. Unfortunately, they don’t always go away on their own for all of us :(
If it is indeed a dermoid (they cannot always tell for sure) then, yes, those don't go away on their own. I hope your surgery and recovery go well!
Avatar universal

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Avatar universal
Yes, a CT scan can definitely "see" an ovarian cyst. You didn't mention how old you are, but for reproductive-aged-women, cysts come and go, along with the ovulation process. So It would not be unusual for one CT scan to show a cyst, and the next one to not show it.
Avatar universal
Was the CT looking for the cyst? If it was a CT for something else, sometimes they just won’t look or document the incidentals. You could always go back and ask the radiologist to recheck the image and edit the report (if it included the pelvic field). Good luck
Avatar universal
During a pelvic ultrasound it was found that I have a cyst on both ovaries and now I’m being sent for a CT scan to rule out dermoid and endometrioma cysts which would have to be removed. Hopefully they are neither of those type and we just watch them. Anyone else have this happen?
I had a 9.5cm cyst on one ovary. My gynecologist rushed me into surgery. He should have removed just the cyst (cystectomy) but removed all my female organs even though the frozen section was benign. Sadly, many women lose an ovary, ovaries and/or their uterus unnecessarily. We need all our parts our whole lives to keep us healthy yet 90% of these surgeries are unnecessary.

Post back and let us know what you find out.
Hello, I am new to this and have been trying to post a question to the community today and the website is not letting me. Can anyone advise me as to what i am doing wrong? Thank you/
Avatar universal
CT may detect larger ovarian cysts, but in general US and MRI are better for evaluating gynecologic structures.
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