There are a lot of problems that can happen with a person's reproductive organs. Luckily, ovarian cysts are typically not a huge problem. When caught and treated early on, they rarely cause big problems for women, but if left alone, they can grow and lead to uneven periods and pain. If your gynecologist or general practitioner suspects that you have ovarian cysts, this is likely what your gynecologist will do to find out for sure.
The first thing they'll want to do is a physical examination. Unlike other issues that can arise with the reproductive system, this doesn't typically call for a PAP smear or a pelvic exam. Instead, your gynecologist will palpate your ovaries through the lower belly by pressing down on your pelvis. This may be slightly uncomfortable but shouldn't hurt. If you have a large ovarian cyst or another problem developing, they may be able to detect it. Whether or not they feel anything, they'll likely continue on to another diagnostic test to get a clear image of what's happening inside.
One of the diagnostic tests that your gynecologist will likely look to is an ultrasound. This uses ultrasound waves to create an image of the inside of your pelvis. The test is painless, though you may feel some pressure as the ultrasound technician presses down on various parts of your pelvis to get a clear image.
For an ultrasound test, you'll also be given directions in advance that dictate that you must drink a certain amount of water just before your test. This is to help inflate the belly and to provide a clearer image of the pelvis.
Unfortunately, in some cases, ultrasounds are unclear as to what they're revealing. In other cases, ultrasound tests may indicate the presence of something but don't have enough detail to tell what that something is. In this case, your doctor will send you for an MRI.
MRIs or magnetic resonance imaging tests are also painless. You'll lie in a tube while the machine uses high-powered magnets to take images of the inside of your pelvis. Unlike ultrasounds, there are usually no special requirements for MRIs, and the images are much clearer.
If an ovarian cyst is found, the first step is usually to prescribe birth control in an attempt to shrink the cysts. If that doesn't bring you relief, further procedures like surgical removal may be recommended.