Ovarian cysts and infertility may be connected, depending on the type of cyst involved. Polycystic ovaries are ovaries that have developed many small cysts, and those cysts can interfere with a woman's fertility. Endometriomas also can thwart attempts to get pregnant. Other types of ovarian cysts usually don't cause infertility, though surgery performed to remove a cyst may ultimately affect fertility.
An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac in an ovary. Different cysts come in different sizes, and the fluid in them can range from thick to thin, depending on the type of cyst. Many cysts that occur in the ovaries are normal, cause no symptoms, and are not discovered until an ultrasound is done for some other medical reason.
Endometrioma cysts are the result of a condition known as endometriosis. This condition happens when the lining of the uterus grows on the outside of the uterus. This type of cyst usually does not affect the quality or quantity of a woman's eggs but can still result in infertility by interfering with the process of ovulation. These cysts are often called chocolate cysts because they are filled with dark blood.
Let a woman develop a lot of small ovarian cysts and infertility can occur. This problem is known as polycystic ovary syndrome. Women who have this condition usually will have irregular menstrual cycles. Higher hormone levels can also be found in many women with this condition. Infertility does not occur in all women who have this problem.
The most common cyst that occurs on the ovaries is called a functional cyst. These ovarian cysts and infertility are not connected. Most functional cysts go away by themselves and do not require any treatment. Other cysts, such as cystadenoma and dermoid cysts, do not affect a woman’s fertility.
Many cysts do not show any symptoms until they grow large enough to cause a problem or they rupture. Pain in the pelvic region is the most common symptom. The amount of pain will depend on how big the cyst is or was and what kind.
Doctors sometimes recommend that a woman have surgery to try to get rid of ovarian cysts and infertility at the same time. Laparoscopic surgery to remove the cysts may help to restore normal function to a woman’s ovaries. As with every surgery, there are risks. Scarring can lead to a loss of tubal function. An overzealous doctor may remove the entire ovary when it is not necessary, harming the way the ovaries work and reducing pregnancy chances.