Ovarian Cysts: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

on Aug 09, 2012

by Prabha Sahgal, MD

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Ovarian Cysts: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Ovarian cysts are just sacs filled with fluid located on your ovary, that can naturally occur as a result of your ovulation cycle. In most cases, they are functional cysts which go away on their own & do not affect your fertility.

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Ovarian cysts rarely cause infertility

You should know that, contrary to what you may think, there are little chances that your ovarian cysts are the cause of your infertility or will lead to infertility. These cysts are just sacs filled with fluid located on your ovary. Young women commonly have them because they are a result of the ovulation cycle. When the follicle in which your egg grows does not rupture when ovulation happens, it fills up with fluid and it gets bigger. These are called functional cysts and they usually disappear by themselves.

When benign cyst becomes problematic

However, in rare cases women acquire other types of cysts that may cause them a few problems. A functional cyst may start bleeding and, turning into a hemorrhagic cyst and causing abdominal pain. Dermoid cysts also contain skin or hair fragments, so there are some cases when they need to be removed. Other cysts that may need to be surgically removed are called cystadenoma and formed from the cells covering the external part of your ovary; normally, they are not cancerous.

What are the symptoms of ovarian cysts?

Ovarian cysts rarely present symptoms and they are usually discovered by ultrasound or routine pelvic exams. They normally shrink and disappear by themselves, so they are usually better left alone. However, some doctors may advise women to have surgery, which is not necessarily the best option in all cases.

Do ovarian cysts affect my fertility?

If you have ovarian cysts, you should not be too concerned about how they will affect your fertility. The only case in which ovarian cysts may cause you problems is if they become twisted, cutting off their own blood supply. If immediate medical measures are not taken, this type of cyst can burst causing severe pain in your lower abdomen and requiring hospitalization. However, this happens very rarely.

Ovarian cysts may affect your fertility if the doctor decides to remove the entire ovary, severely compromising your ovary function. Open surgery is only needed when cysts are too solid or complex, or they are suspected to be cancerous. This would be a rare occurrence though, with the majority of ovarian cysts small, benign & going away on their own.

Treatment options

Normally, cysts are removed through laparoscopic surgery – which decompresses the cysts and makes them collapse, so that they can be removed through a small incision, allowing you to preserve your ovarian tissue and maintain normal ovarian function. Cysts are better to be treated before getting pregnant, but this does not imply you will have to have them surgically removed. Surgery is not good for your fertility, especially if the entire ovary is removed.

The bottom line

So, in the end, it is not the cysts that affect your fertility, but some desperate and unnecessary attempts to remove them. Take a cautious stance, and speak with your healthcare practitioner about the wisdom of letting them go away on their own, as a possibly better solution so as to minimize any adverse affects to your fertility.

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Ovarian Cysts: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments, 4.4 out of 5 based on 12 ratings

Dr. Prabha Sahgal MD, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and subspecialty board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Sahgal holds a B.S. degree from MIT in molecular biology and currently serves on the ConceiveEasy board of directors.

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  • gayou

    I have my left ovarian and cyst removed by july 10 and period end by 22_23 had sex on August 1_2 is there a chance for me to get pregnant

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  • tracyjake

    Hi I have an ovarian cyst which has changed in 4 months it has got bigger and is now filled with blood Heamorrhagic, I have moderate amount of free fluid and small amount of particular matter, I had fluid drained 3 months ago, I have severe pelvic pain I have just come out of hospital for pain management, my pain was low down in abdomain right up too under my ribs and round to my kidneys, I had a c-125 blood test 3 months ago but it was fine….Sometimes I look pregnant cause my tummy swells, do you think this could be cancerous worrying myself sick. I have surgery scheduled for 12th sept. thanks.

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  • tracyjake

    sorry forgot to mention that I have also been losing brown smelly discharge for a month or 2

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  • LaShaundra Horton

    I’m 29 years old and trying for baby #3 about 8 months ago I was diagnosed with ovarian cyst then I went for ,y ultrasound 3 months ago and found out they went away on their. My periods are still irregular every month I don’t understand and why I still haven’t gotten pregnant yet

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  • guli

    hello i am having cyst in my right ovary and i am single now is it possibility of getting pregnant ?

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