Summary: Cysts on ovaries are common in women, and some women may worry whether they can still get pregnant with such a condition. The answer is that it depends on several factors, including the type and size of the cyst, as well as any symptoms or complications associated with it.
1. Types of ovarian cysts
Firstly, it is important to understand that not all ovarian cysts are the same. There are different types of cysts that can develop on the ovaries, some of which can affect fertility more than others.
Follicular cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs that form during ovulation, often resolve on their own and do not have a significant impact on fertility. Corpus luteum cysts, which can form when the follicle where the egg was released does not shrink properly, also tend to go away without treatment and do not typically cause fertility issues.
However, endometriomas and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can both interfere with a woman’s ability to conceive. Endometriomas are cysts that form when endometrial tissue grows on the ovaries, and can cause scarring or adhesions that make it difficult for the egg to travel through the fallopian tube. PCOS, on the other hand, can cause multiple cysts to grow on the ovaries and disrupt hormone levels, leading to irregular periods and difficulty ovulating.
2. Size of the cyst
The size of the ovarian cyst can also be a determining factor in whether it affects fertility. Small cysts, less than 5 centimeters in diameter, are generally not considered a cause for concern and do not typically lead to infertility. However, larger cysts may indicate an underlying condition that can impact fertility, such as endometriosis or PCOS.
If a cyst is particularly large (over 7 centimeters) it may need to be surgically removed, and this procedure can cause scarring or damage to the ovary that could affect fertility. If the cyst has caused twisting of the ovary – a condition called ovarian torsion – it is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.
It is important to note that while the presence of a cyst may make it more difficult to conceive, it does not necessarily mean that pregnancy is impossible. Many women with ovarian cysts are still able to get pregnant with the help of fertility treatments or surgery to remove the cyst.
3. Symptoms and complications
If an ovarian cyst is causing symptoms such as pelvic pain or irregular bleeding, it is important to seek medical attention. In some cases, these symptoms may indicate a more serious condition such as ovarian cancer. However, even if the cyst is non-cancerous, it may still need to be treated in order to prevent complications that could impact fertility.
If a cyst ruptures or causes a significant amount of bleeding, it can lead to scarring and adhesions on the ovaries that could make it difficult for the egg to travel through the fallopian tube. Additionally, some cysts may be associated with hormonal imbalances that can affect ovulation and make it harder to conceive.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the cyst and any associated scar tissue. This procedure, however, may carry risks such as infection, bleeding, or damage to other organs that could further impact fertility.
While ovarian cysts can sometimes interfere with fertility, the severity of the impact depends on several factors including the type and size of the cyst and whether it is causing symptoms or complications. If you are experiencing symptoms such as pain or irregular periods, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to determine whether further evaluation or treatment is necessary.
Fortunately, many women with ovarian cysts are still able to conceive with the help of fertility treatments or surgical intervention if necessary. By working closely with your healthcare team, you can optimize your chances of achieving a healthy pregnancy despite the presence of an ovarian cyst.