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Ovarian Cysts: What They Mean for Your Fertility

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Ovarian Cysts: What They Mean for Your Fertility

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The female reproductive system is made up of many parts, each of which is necessary in order for us to give birth. That’s why it’s so important to check in with your OBGYN annually to make sure that nothing is amiss. Remember that health problems are much easier to catch and fix earlier on rather than once they’ve grown and affected other parts of the body.

Aside from giving birth, however, there is another good reason to check on your reproductive health – to keep the rest of your body healthy. Although you may not be planning on having children any time soon, your reproductive system is still there, and it can get sick. Since no part of your body lives independently, it’s easy to see how even tiny organs like ovaries can affect other parts of the body. For example, ovarian cysts can cause pain, rupture, or even indicate an underlying health condition. So yes, regular gynecological check-ups are always a good idea, even if you’re not attempting to have children at this exact moment.

Today we’ll go over the basics regarding ovarian cysts, a very common condition that affects females’ ovaries.

What Are Ovarian Cysts?

Generally speaking, females have two ovaries – one located on either side of the uterus. Occasionally, however, a small pocket of fluid can grow inside or on the surface of an ovary. These sacks of fluid are called ovarian cysts. Ovarian cysts are an extremely common condition that affects millions of women in the US each year. Having said that, only about 8% of premenopausal women develop a cyst that needs treatment. That is because most ovarian cysts do not cause any symptoms and typically fade on their own over time.


Ovarian Cyst Symptoms

As mentioned earlier, most ovarian cysts are minor enough that they don’t cause any discernible symptoms at all. Occasionally a cyst may result in uncomfortable symptoms, especially if the cyst is very large or has ruptured.

These symptoms may be:

  • Pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen.
  • An irregular period.
  • Bloating in the abdomen.
  • Pain or discomfort during bowel movements.
  • Pelvic pain.

Very sharp, sudden pain can be an indication that an ovarian cyst has ruptured. Although unlikely, this does happen occasionally and you should always consult a medical professional if you suspect that your cyst has burst. Left unmonitored, a ruptured cyst can become infected. Another possible condition that may result from a cyst is ovarian torsion (i.e., a twisted ovary), which does require surgical treatment. 


What Causes Ovarian Cysts?

Most ovarian cysts develop as a side product of your menstrual cycle. These cysts are fairly common and typically resolve themselves with little to no symptoms. Occasionally, however, ovarian cysts can appear due to other reasons.

There are, however, a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing ovarian cysts.

These risk factors are:

  • A hormonal imbalance or problem.
  • Pregnancy
  • Pelvic infections
  • Endometriosis


Types Of Ovarian Cysts

There are a few different types of ovarian cysts that can occur. The main thing to know is that these cysts fall into two categories – functional cysts and other cysts. Functional cysts occur as a result of your menstrual cycle and typically fade on their own. Here are a few of the most common types of cysts:

  • Follicular cyst – This falls into the category of “functional cysts” and occurs when a follicle continues to grow instead of releasing your monthly egg.
  • Corpus luteum cyst – This cyst is also a “functional cyst” and occurs when your corpus luteum accumulates fluid inside of it.
  • Dermoid cysts – These cysts are formed from embryonic cells and can contain hair, skin, or other tissue. 
  • Cystadenomas – Emerges on the surface of an ovary and may be filled with mucous.
  • Endometriomas – These cysts are related to a condition called endometriosis. Endometriomas are a byproduct of this condition. Specifically, endometriomas occur when uterine endometrial cells form a growth on the outside of your ovaries.

Ovarian Cyst And Fertility

Fortunately, most ovarian cysts do not affect your fertility. The only cysts that are frequently accompanied by fertility problems are endometriomas. There are other related conditions, however, like PCOS, that may result in further fertility problems. Always consult your gynecologist or OBGYN if you notice or feel anything concerning. An OBGYN can examine you for cysts, discern what kind of cyst it is, and tell you whether or not it can affect fertility. 

Ovarian Cyst Treatment

An ovarian cyst will often occur temporarily and resolve itself within a few months, resulting in little to no symptoms or side effects. Occasionally, however, a cyst may need intervention if it’s causing excessive discomfort.


There are a variety of ways in which your OBGYN can diagnose an ovarian cyst and figure out what type it is. Common diagnostic procedures include a pelvic ultrasound, laparoscopy, pregnancy test, or a blood test.

Non-Invasive Treatment

Aside from simply waiting to see whether the cyst fades on its own, a doctor may also recommend a course of hormonal contraceptives. Although birth control will not shrink an existing cyst, it can help prevent cysts from recurring. 

Ovarian Cyst Surgery

In the case that a cyst grows to be very large or does not begin shrinking after a few months, your doctor may recommend surgery. Laparoscopies and laparotomies are two commonly performed surgeries used to treat cysts.


Common Questions

Here are some answers to common questions related to ovarian cysts.

What Does Ovarian Cyst Pain Feel Like?

Although most ovarian cysts are asymptomatic, occasionally, they do result in pain or discomfort. This pain can be either sharp or dull, and will typically be felt in the lower abdominal area. The discomfort may worsen during your period when you’re producing more hormones. If the cyst bursts, you may also experience very sudden sharp pain. 

Please Note: Always see a doctor if you experience sudden or severe pelvic/abdominal pain. Keep in mind that ovarian cysts are just one possible cause of pelvic pain. There are a variety of serious conditions that may emulate similar symptoms, so the best policy is always to consult a doctor if you notice anything off.

How To Shrink Ovarian Cysts Naturally?

Your doctor may advise you to simply keep an eye on the cyst and give it time to resolve itself. If you find yourself in this situation, please keep in mind that there is no way to shrink an ovarian cyst by using “home treatments.” Do not attempt to mix garlic and baking soda or make any other homemade medicines. These may harm your vaginal health and are not effective.

Having said that, you can alleviate some of the symptoms and manage the pain associated with a cyst. Over-the-counter medication, gentle massaging, light exercise, and heating pads are good ways to alleviate light discomfort. 

Remember to always consult with your doctor. However, they may recommend a specific course of treatments for the cyst.

Can Ovarian Cyst Cause Infertility?

As we mentioned earlier, most ovarian cysts do not cause infertility. In fact, functional cysts typically have no effect on your physical health whatsoever. Having said that, occasionally, some cysts can turn out to be endometriomas. These types of cysts do impact fertility, and you should always talk to an OBGYN specialist if you suffer from this type of cyst.


Cool Springs OBGYN

Here at Cool Springs Obstetrics & Gynecology, we’ve been providing women’s healthcare services for over 20 years. We offer not only a high quality of medical care, but a genuine shoulder for our patients to lean on. That means that we treat everyone that comes through our door like they are family and support them through thick and thin. We are proud to call ourselves a cornerstone of women’s health in the Tennessee area and hope that you’ll give us a try. Whether you live in Brentwood, Nashville, or Franklin, TN, we can be the OBGYN for you. 


Our practice offers a variety of gynecological services- including routine exams, preventative care, and treatment for an array of conditions. 

So if you feel any pelvic or abdominal pain, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our specialists will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend a course of treatment. Call or visit our website here to make an appointment today.

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How do ovarian cysts affect fertility?

Two types of cysts are common byproducts of ovulation:

  • Follicular cysts form when, instead of breaking open to release the egg, the follicle stays intact and the cyst continues to grow.
  • Corpus luteum cysts, or luteal cysts, sometimes form after ovulation. Normally, once the egg has broken free, the follicle shrinks into a mass of cells known as the corpus luteum, which produces hormones to prepare for the next cycle. Luteal cysts form when, instead of shrinking, the follicle reseals itself and fluid builds up inside.

Both of these cysts are typically harmless and disappear within 1–3 months without treatment. And for pregnant women, corpus luteum cysts are actually super important: they produce progesterone, a hormone that’s essential for the first 8–10 weeks of pregnancy.

Which ovarian cysts affect fertility, and how?

There are a few types of cysts associated with lower fertility. How do ovarian cysts affect fertility? In actuality, it’s not these cysts themselves that make it harder to get pregnant—they are simply symptoms of larger illnesses that may compromise fertility.

Endometriosis is one example of an illness that can cause ovarian cysts that affects fertility. Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue—the lining of the uterus—begins to grow in other places, like on the outside of the uterus or the fallopian tubes. One result of endometriosis is ovarian cysts known as “endometriomas,” formed when this tissue grows in the ovaries. Endometriomas can range in size from less than an inch to over 6 inches, and are often filled with dark blood.

While doctors aren’t 100% sure how these ovarian cysts affect fertility, they do know that endometriosis is closely tied to infertility; some studies demonstrate that women with even mild cases of endometriosis have only a 2–4% chance of getting pregnant each month (compared to the 15–20% chance healthy women have). Dr. Iris Orbuch, OB/GYN and endometriosis specialist, estimates that “40% of unexplained infertility is due to endometriosis,” which both “decreases a woman’s ovarian reserve [and] decreases fertility by either an anatomical distortion or via inflammation.”

Learn more about endometriosis.

Secondly, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormone imbalance that causes many tiny ovarian cysts, affects fertility by a higher rate than almost any other condition (besides age). In PCOS, the eggs that begin to develop during the ovulation cycle never mature enough to prompt ovulation, so none of them are released from the ovary. The immature follicles, each containing an immature egg, then cause the ovary to become “polycystic,” filled with these tiny cysts.

The chronic lack of ovulation alters the levels of hormones that play an important role in the ovulation process, and PCOS is often associated with higher levels of male hormones known as “androgens.” It’s not the ovarian cysts themselves that affect fertility in cases of PCOS—it’s the fact that women with PCOS don’t ovulate, and ovulation is essential for getting pregnant naturally.

Can ovarian cysts have other side effects?

While it’s not typical for ovarian cysts to affect fertility, larger or multiple cysts can have other side effects or symptoms, such as bloating, needing to urinate more often, pelvic pressure or pain, or abnormal vaginal bleeding. If your cyst(s) doesn’t go away on its own after a few months, continues to grow, or causes you pain, your doctor might recommend surgery to remove it. With larger ovarian cysts, there is the concern for a rare condition of twisting of the ovary, called ovarian torsion, which—if not corrected promptly with surgery—can lead to loss of an ovary. Alternative treatments for benign cysts include hormonal birth control—such as the pill, vaginal ring, shot, or patch—which prevent ovulation and lower your chances of getting more cysts. Malignant (cancerous) cysts are very rare in young women.

Can treatment for ovarian cysts affect fertility?

That depends on the treatment. Hormonal birth control doesn’t have a long-term effect on fertility (learn more about birth control and fertility). Surgery almost invariably damages some healthy eggs, and complications can (rarely, but sometimes) mean doctors need to remove an entire ovary. Both situations result in a lower egg count, which is one factor in fertility.

Should women with ovarian cysts freeze their eggs?

While not all ovarian cysts affect fertility by way of reproductive illness, there are cases in which a woman may want to consider egg freezing to preserve fertility.

Women with endometriosis who aren’t yet ready to get pregnant are excellent candidates for egg freezing. During endometriosis, the abnormally growing endometrial tissue can cause inflammation, scarring, cysts, and organ damage, including damage to the ovary. And if the ovary is damaged, it can mean impaired egg production or ovulation—or none at all.

Additionally, while surgical treatment of endometriosis offers long-term pain relief, studies show that it may actually reduce ovarian reserve (and therefore fertility) by inadvertently removing healthy ovarian tissue or cutting off blood supply to the ovary. Freezing eggs before endometriosis progresses too far is the best way to preserve fertility options for later in life.

And surgical treatment of other ovarian cysts affects fertility by damaging healthy eggs. Women who have had ovarian cysts surgically removed will typically have a lower egg count. For that reason, women who are considering surgery for ovarian cysts should also consider freezing their eggs—prior to the surgery, if possible, or after the removal of the cyst, if the size or location of the cyst will make egg freezing too risky or complicated.

Learn more about how ovarian cysts affect fertility—and how egg freezing can help:

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Pregnancy after removal of an ovarian cyst, when is it possible?

There are many factors that prevent pregnancy. Various hormonal and endocrine disorders, stress, hereditary diseases, congenital pathologies of the genital organs and gynecological diseases can cause infertility.

An ovarian cyst is a fairly common disease, due to which a woman’s chances of becoming a mother are unlikely. In this material, we will tell you what this neoplasm is, what method to treat the disease and whether pregnancy is possible after removal of the ovarian cyst.

What is an ovarian cyst?

A cyst is a disease of the female reproductive system, in which a neoplasm is formed on the ovary, usually benign. The cyst develops from an overripe follicle with an egg and looks like a “pouch” with thin walls and liquid contents inside.

The main cause of ovarian cysts is a malfunction of the reproductive system. Normally, a mature follicle releases an egg in the middle of the cycle, which is called ovulation in gynecology. When the follicle continues to grow, it leads to the formation of a cyst. The egg does not come out, and the onset of pregnancy is impossible.

In modern gynecological practice, the following types of cysts are distinguished:

  • Follicular
  • Endometrioid
  • Cyst of the corpus luteum
  • Hemorrhagic
  • Serous
  • Mucinous
  • Dermoid
  • Paraovarian

The most common is the follicular (or functional ovarian cyst). As a rule, such neoplasms resolve on their own, if the formation is not functional, it needs to be operated on, the method of choice is laparoscopy of the ovarian cyst. After the operation, you can become pregnant 2-3 cycles after the operation.


Methods of treatment of ovarian cyst

For the treatment of ovarian cysts in gynecology, two methods are used:

  • Conservative;
  • Surgical.

The choice of one or another method is influenced by the nature and type of neoplasm, the patient’s history and the individual characteristics of the organism. Usually, when it comes to an ovarian cyst, in most cases it is the follicular (functional) cyst that is diagnosed. This type of neoplasm most often requires simple observation, since the cyst resolves on its own within 1-3 menstrual cycles. For the treatment of a follicular cyst, oral hormonal drugs can sometimes be prescribed, which help to reduce the size of the tumor and restore the normal functioning of the ovaries.

Surgical removal of an ovarian cyst is advisable in cases where:

  • the formation is non-functional and does not go away in 2-3 m.c.;
  • the size of the neoplasm exceeds 5 centimeters;
  • there is a risk of cyst rupture;
  • there is a risk of torsion of the cyst stem.

The main and predominant type of surgical treatment is laparoscopy of the ovarian cyst. This is a safe, minimally invasive and gentle type of surgery, thanks to which the chances of pregnancy after an ovarian cyst are as high as possible.

Pregnancy after laparoscopy of ovarian cyst

As mentioned above, laparoscopy of an ovarian cyst is one of the safest types of surgery in modern surgery. The main goal of the procedure is to eliminate the disease and at the same time not affect healthy tissues and organs. Thanks to this approach, the reproductive system is minimally affected, and the rehabilitation period is quick and easy.

Pregnancy after laparoscopy of an ovarian cyst is quite likely, and a woman has every chance to successfully conceive, bear and give birth to a child. You can start getting pregnant 2-3 cycles after the laparoscopy.

To get a consultation with a gynecologist and make an appointment at our women’s health center in Moscow, fill out a simple application form on our website or call 8 (800) 234-17-10. Our specialist will answer all your questions and make an appointment for you at a convenient time for you!

Causes of ovarian cysts – Clinic Zdorovye 365 Yekaterinburg

Every month, follicles can form in the ovaries – cyst-like formations. Thanks to the follicles, estrogen and progesterone are produced, and an egg is released during the period of ovulation. Sometimes the follicle does not stop growing. In this case, we are talking about the formation of a functional cyst, which means that the cyst was formed during the normal course of the menstrual cycle. There are 2 types of functional cysts:

Follicular cyst. Around the middle of the menstrual cycle, the pituitary gland releases luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates the release of an egg from the follicles. Usually, the egg leaves the follicle and begins to move through the fallopian tubes for fertilization.

A follicular cyst occurs if there is no LH surge. As a result, the follicle does not rupture or the egg is released. It continues to grow and turns into a cyst. Follicular cysts are usually harmless and often go away on their own within two to three menstrual cycles.

Corpus luteum cyst. After the LH surge and the release of the egg, the ruptured follicle begins to produce large amounts of estrogen and progesterone in order to prepare the egg for fertilization. This modified follicle is now called the corpus luteum. Sometimes, after the egg is released, the hole in the cyst wall through which the egg came out is closed, and fluid accumulates in the follicle, as a result of which the corpus luteum turns into a cyst.

Although these cysts usually go away on their own without medical intervention, after a few weeks they can be almost 10 centimeters in diameter. In this case, there is a risk of internal hemorrhage, in addition, the cyst can cause twisting of the ovaries, obstructing blood flow and causing pain in the pelvis or abdomen. If the follicle fills with blood, the cyst may rupture, leading to internal bleeding and sudden sharp pain. The drug clomiphene citrate (Clomid, Serophen), which is usually prescribed to women who have difficulty conceiving to stimulate ovulation, increases the risk of developing a corpus luteum cyst after ovulation.

You can get more detailed information about the causes of ovarian cysts from a gynecologist at the Health 365 clinic in Yekaterinburg.

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