Two women reading a guide


The sooner ovarian cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. Find out how to recognise the symptoms.

Knowing the symptoms of ovarian cancer could save your life. Our video tells you about the symptoms and common misconceptions.

What are the symptoms?

  • Persistent bloating – not bloating that comes and goes
  • Feeling full quickly and/or loss of appetite
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain (that's your tummy and below)
  • Urinary symptoms (needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual)

Occasionally there can be other symptoms:

  • Changes in bowel habit (eg diarrhoea or constipation)
  • Extreme fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Any bleeding after the menopause should always be investigated by a GP

Symptoms will be:

  • Frequent – they usually happen more than 12 times a month
  • Persistent – they don't go away
  • New – they're not normal for you  

Worried about your symptoms?

If you regularly experience any one or more of these symptoms, which aren't normal for you, it's important that you book an appointment with your GP. It's unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it's important to get checked out. Take a look at our top tips for speaking to your GP.

Ovarian cysts in pre-menopausal women can produce symptoms similar to those for ovarian cancer but they aren't known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

Other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have symptoms similar to ovarian cancer but if your symptoms don't clear up, go back to your GP or seek a second opinion, even if you've had tests. 

Download our symptoms leaflet [PDF] to find out more (available in other languages).


Last reviewed: July 2017
Next review: July 2022

All of our publications undergo an expert peer review and are reviewed by women with ovarian cancer to ensure that we provide accurate and high-quality information. To find out more take a look at our information standards.