Unveiling the Truth: Can Ovarian Cysts Lead to Infertility?
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries. They are quite common, with many women experiencing at least one in their lifetime. While most ovarian cysts go unnoticed, some can cause symptoms such as bloating, pelvic pain, and irregular periods. Depending on the type of cyst, the symptoms may vary.
The most common type of cyst is a functional cyst. Not all ovarian cysts are harmful, and they generally resolve on their own without causing any issues with fertility. However, in rare cases, they may cause a direct or indirect issue.
Let’s discuss functional and non-functional cysts and how these ovarian cysts affect fertility.
Some non-functional cysts can be associated with reduced fertility, such as those resulting from polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriomas.
Endometriomas are cysts that form when endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, usually inside the ovaries. Endometriomas can cause infertility because they can block the fallopian tubes, distort the normal anatomy of the pelvic organs, and interfere with ovulation.
Endometriomas also cause inflammation and scarring, which can prevent the sperm and egg from meeting. Additionally, they can cause hormonal imbalances that interfere with fertility. Treatment typically involves surgery to remove the endometriomas and any associated scar tissue.
cysts, and depending on the types and severity of the condition, it may affect fertility.
Ovarian cysts from polycystic ovary syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterised by high levels of androgens (male hormones) and an imbalance of reproductive hormones.
Symptoms of PCOS include irregular or absent periods, ovarian cysts, acne, and hirsutism (excessive facial and body hair). PCOS can lead to infertility due to irregular ovulation, a lack of ovulation, or other hormonal imbalances.
In some cases, infertility treatments such as fertility drugs, intrauterine insemination, and in-vitro fertilization, may be necessary.
Dermoid cysts are non-cancerous growths (benign cysts) that can develop on the ovaries. They are made up of a mixture of tissue types, including skin, hair, and teeth. These cysts are usually harmless and don’t cause any symptoms, but they can affect fertility.
They can cause pelvic pain and affect a normal menstrual cycle. If the cyst is large, it can interfere with the release of eggs from the ovaries, resulting in infertility. Treatment for dermoid cysts usually involves surgically removing them.
Hemorrhagic cysts are ovarian cysts that are filled with blood. They are usually harmless and will often go away on their own. However, if they become large or painful, they can cause pain and may interfere with ovulation and hence fertility. They can be difficult to distinguish from endometriomas on ultrasound but whilst endometriomas usually persist/increase in size, most haemorrhagic cysts will usually regress over a period of a few weeks.
Do you suffer from PCOS? It can lead to infertility due to irregular ovulation, lack of ovulation, or other hormonal imbalances.
Most ovarian cysts form as a result of your menstrual cycle and these are referred to as functional cysts; let’s review how they may affect infertility.
Usually during your menstrual cycle-the ovary will form a fluid-filled sac(or follicle) that releases an egg during the mid-cycle.
Follicle cysts are a type of ovarian cyst that occurs when a follicle (a fluid-filled sac) on the ovary doesn’t rupture or release an egg and instead continues to grow. These cysts can range in size from a few millimetres to a few centimetres.
In most cases, the cyst may cause no symptoms or complications and will usually disappear in a few weeks. However, in some cases, especially when large in size, follicle cysts can cause pelvic pain.
Corpus luteum cysts
A corpus luteum cyst is a type of ovarian cyst that forms after ovulation. It typically occurs in women of reproductive age and is the result of hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle.
Cystadenomas are benign cysts containing clear, water-like fluid or mucus fluid. They often look just like functional cysts – the difference is that functional cysts usually go away over a few months while cystadenomas keep getting bigger over time. Cystadenomas are usually benign but can tort(twist) around themselves-causing severe pain and can also sometimes interfere with fertility, especially if they are large in size.
How to prevent or reduce the risk of cysts that may affect fertility
Although it may not be possible to prevent cysts, the following may help reduce the risk or manage the condition so as not to affect your fertility. These include:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help keep your hormones in balance.
- Take birth control pills. Taking oral contraceptives can help reduce the risk of cysts.Speak to your doctor before you do that as they may be able to recommend the contraception most suitable to you.
- Monitor your cycle. Keeping track of your menstrual cycle can help you identify any changes that may indicate the presence of a cyst.
- See your doctor. If you experience any ovarian cyst symptoms that could indicate the presence of a cyst, it is important to see your doctor for a check-up.
Lotus Medics can help you
If you require advice, information, a diagnosis, or ovarian cyst treatment, please contact us at Lotus Medics for more information.
If you would like to book an appointment for a diagnosis at our Orange, Parkes, or Bathurst practises, please contact us via telephone at 1300 3LOTUS (1300 356887) or email us at email@example.com to set up your appointment.
To book an appointment online, please complete your contact details via our online form.
Frequently Asked Questions
For more information on “can a cyst on the ovary cause infertility”, please read our frequently asked questions:
Can ovarian cysts damage your ovaries?
Yes, in some cases, ovarian cysts can damage the ovaries. This may happen if the cyst is large or if it causes twisting of the ovary, called ovarian torsion.Sometimes they can become infected or can bleed internally. In rare cases, ovarian cysts can become cancerous. This is why it is important to see a doctor if you experience any symptoms related to ovarian cysts.
What can happen when a cyst is left untreated, and how does it affect fertility?
If a cyst is left untreated, it can cause complications such as infection, ovarian torsion, or rupture. These complications can cause severe pain, internal bleeding, and even infertility.
PLEASE NOTE: This information is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment. It is aimed at presenting a perspective only and is not a substitute for a prescription. Anyone experiencing a medical condition should consult their doctor.