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Ovarian Cyst And Fertility Ovarian cysts are sacs that form inside or on the surface of an ovary and are filled with fluid. They are quite common and cause little to no discomfort in most cases. In addition, most ovarian cysts don’t need any treatment. However, at times, the ovarian cyst may rupture, which needs immediate treatment. The most common question asked with regards to ovarian cysts is – does ovarian cysts cause infertility? The answer is yes, it does! However, it mostly depends on the type of the ovarian cyst.

1] Types Of Ovarian Cysts That May Affect Fertility

Not all ovarian cysts affect fertility. For instance, some cysts are naturally-formed during the ovulation cycle. In addition, most women get a cyst at some point in their lives. But, having said that, some ovarian cysts can potentially affect a woman’s ability to conceive, which include the following:

1.1] Endometriomas

Also known as endometrial cysts, endometriomas are a type of ovarian cysts formed due to the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue. The endometrium or the endometrial tissue is the mucous membrane that lines the inner layer of the uterine wall. In endometriosis, the tissues begin to grow in abrupt places like outside the uterus or the fallopian tubes.

It is important to note that Endometriomas affects 6 to 10 percent of woman, but not all of them have infertility problems.

Endometriomas can begin as a tiny lesion on the ovaries. If the size of the cyst is small, then there is no cause for alarm. However, if the cyst expands in size or grows as large as 10 centimetres or causes painful menstrual cycles, it could affect fertility.

For instance, if the endometrioma cyst ruptures, its contents can enter the pelvic cavity, causing the ovaries to stick to the fallopian tubes, resulting in pain and blockage.

Endometriomas disturb the normal tubo-ovarian relationship. They can affect or harm the ovaries, leading to infertility in women. Here, sometimes, a surgical procedure called oophorectomy may be recommended to remove both ovaries to prevent further harm to the individual’s health.

Some studies suggest that women with even mild cases of endometriosis have a 2 to 4 percent chance of getting pregnant each month, as opposed to 15 to 20 percent chances for women without endometriosis.

1.2] Cysts Resulting from PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

By far one of the most common causes of infertility in women, PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that leads to the production of excess male hormones (androgens) and may cause tiny cysts on the ovaries. In PCOS, since the eggs never develop to maturity, none of them is released from the ovary, so there is no ovulation cycle. Immature follicles consisting of immature eggs cause the ovary to become ‘polycystic’ – filled with tiny cysts.

Conceiving with polycystic ovarian syndrome becomes difficult as there are hormonal imbalances and restrictions to the maturation of follicles. Here, it is crucial to note that it is not the ovarian cysts that affect fertility; it is the fact that women with PCOS do not ovulate – a phenomenon essential for conceiving.

2] Types Of Ovarian Cysts That Do Not Affect Fertility

  • Functional Cysts: They are the most common type of ovarian cysts. Functional cysts, such as follicular or corpus luteum cysts, form during the menstrual cycle and do not contribute to infertility. On the contrary, functional cysts indicate that all the necessary functions for fertility are ongoing.
  • Cystadenomas:They are a kind of benign tumours. They are ovarian growths that arise from the ovary’s surface tissue. Cystadenomas do not contribute to infertility, but they do require treatment.
  • Hemorrhagic Cysts: They are a type of functional cyst that results due to bleeding in the cyst.
  • Dermoid Cysts: They are kind of harmless tumours. Dermoid cysts are abnormal growths on the ovary that contain various types of tissues – neural tissue, hair, bone – instead of fluids. But, they do not affect fertility.
  • Para ovarian Cysts: They are fluid-filled cysts found in the adnexa, located adjacent to the fallopian tubes and ovary, and do not lead to infertility.

Now that we have a comprehensive overview of the two groups of ovarian cysts – ones that cause infertility and one that doesn’t – let’s look at some of the other complications of cysts besides infertility.

Other Ovarian Cyst complications that you must know about are:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Sudden severe abdominal pain
  • Weakness, dizziness, and fainting
  • Pain with fever and vomiting
  • Normal cysts turning cancerous

After a detailed overview of ovarian cysts and their complications, let us look at the diagnosis of ovarian cysts.

3] Diagnosis Of Ovarian Cysts

If you have an ovarian cyst, you might experience some or all of the below symptoms.

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pressure on the bowels
  • Sensation of intense straining during defecating
  • Constant or intermittent pressure on the bladder, resulting in increased urination
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Breast tenderness
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain during menstruation

In case you experience severe abdominal or pelvic pain along with fever and vomiting, head to the emergency room immediately. The symptoms indicate ectopic pregnancy, ovarian torsion, or a ruptured cyst.

  • The first step in diagnosing an ovarian cyst is the physical examination of the pelvis to check for any swelling caused by a cyst.
  • A hormonal test helps determine if the issue at hand is hormonal.
  • You might also have to undergo a series of bloodwork and ultrasound. The objective of the ultrasound is to gauge the cyst’s size, shape, mass, and location.
  • In some cases, when ultrasound does not suffice, a laparoscopy test becomes necessary.
  • Lastly, blood tests determine if the ovarian cyst is cancerous.

4] How To Conceive If You Have Ovarian Cysts?

Getting pregnant with ovarian cysts is very much possible. The chances of pregnancy with cysts increase when the woman takes care of her health, eats healthily and engages in physical activities. In addition, treatments to remove ovarian cysts that are causing fertility issues are also available.

However, if everything fails and the existing cyst has caused uterine scarring, the next option available is IVF or In Vitro Fertilization.

So, there you have it, an all-encompassing overview of ovarian cysts that cause infertility and how to deal with it. For more queries, get in touch with us.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are cysts of the ovary?

Fluid-filled cysts on the ovary’s surface are known as ovarian cysts.

Which type of cysts are the common by-products of ovulation?

The two types of functional cysts – follicle cysts and corpus luteum cysts – are the typical by-products of ovulation. Follicle cysts develop when the sac fails to open and release the eggs. Whereas, in corpus letuem, the sac stays intact and does not dissolve even after the eggs are released.

If I have ovarian cysts, should I freeze my eggs?

Women with endometriosis can consider freezing their eggs. Freezing their eggs gives women the freedom to get pregnant later while undergoing treatment during their peak reproductive years (the 20s and early 30s).

What are the other side effects of ovarian cysts?

In addition to infertility, other side effects of ovarian cysts include pelvic pain, irregular menstrual cycle, bloating, pelvic pressure, and frequent urination.

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Neha Goel

Neha Goel, a Psychology alumna and MBA graduate from CASS Business School, London, brings together her expertise as a Reiki Practitioner and Practice Manager. She integrates psychology and business strategies to foster holistic well-being and personal development.