A majority of women around the world suffer from ovarian cysts at some point in their life or the other. Thus, being diagnosed with a cyst in the ovaries is usually not something to worry about. In most cases, this cyst will disintegrate on its own within a few months. However, if you’re planning a family and trying to conceive, then it is wise to not ignore an ovarian cyst ,but get it checked out by a gynecologist at the earliest.
The connection between cysts and fertility depends on the type of cyst. Ovarian cysts can be categorized into 5 groups.
- Functional Cysts: Functional cysts are the most common type of cyst women suffer from. This can be seen as a sac on the surface of the ovaries and is formed during or after ovulation. Most of these cysts are harmless and fade away on their own. These cysts do not affect a woman’s chances of conceiving a child or pose any risk to a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
- Cysts formed as a result of polycystic ovary syndrome: Women suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) often have small cysts found in their ovaries. Irregular menstrual cycles and fluctuating hormone levels are also associated with PCOS. Irregular menstrual cycles indicate irregular ovulation which can cause fertility problems and make it difficult for a woman to conceive.
- Endometriomas: Cysts formed by the growth of endometrial tissue inside the ovaries are known as Endometriomas. Endometriomas are benign cysts, but are associated with fertility problems. Surgical removal of these cysts can help improve fertility.
- Cystadenomas: These cysts can be described as growth on the surface of the ovaries. They can be benign or malignant and hence should not be ignored. However, they do not create any fertility problems.
- Dermoid cysts: Dermoid cysts are solid cysts that contain tissues, such as skin or hair in place of fluids. These growths are not associated with infertility.
- CA 125 Levels: CA 125 levels should also be done as it is increased in ovarian cancers.
The development of cysts when pregnant is not uncommon. Small cysts are usually placed under observance and left until after the delivery, but cysts that are bigger than 7cm may need to be removed. Large cysts can cause pain to the mother and create difficulties at the time of delivery. Laparoscopic surgery is the preferred form of surgery to remove ovarian cysts. This surgery can be performed at any point in the pregnancy and does not pose any risk to the fetus.