Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form on the ovaries. Simple ovarian cysts usually are not cancerous. Most cysts are diagnosed through ultrasound or other imaging tests, which will also let your physician see the size of the cysts. While most cysts do not cause symptoms, if a cyst ruptures you may feel sudden pain and discomfort.
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cysts and are trying to get pregnant, it’s important to know that ovarian cysts don’t typically cause problems with fertility. However, there are always exceptions to the rule.
Endometriosis May Cause Cysts and Fertility Issues
Cysts do not generally make it harder to get pregnant. But if the cysts are caused by an underlying condition like endometriosis, you might have problems with fertility.
Endometriosis is a common condition that affects more than 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the United States. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissues that are similar to the lining of your uterus implant or grow on the outside of the uterus, such as on your ovaries or fallopian tubes.
While it’s still possible to get pregnant, endometriosis does decrease fertility. 30-40% of women with endometriosis may struggle with infertility. Talk to your doctor about treatment options that are available for endometriosis and to help meet your individual fertility goals.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Ovarian Cysts
If you have clusters of pearl-sized cysts or follicles, you might have a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome — a leading cause of infertility in women.
Your ovaries contain eggs, which are present in the ovaries from a woman’s development as a fetus. These eggs get released each month during the ovulation phase of your menstrual cycle. The eggs are in tiny sacs called follicles that fill up with fluid as the eggs mature. Normally, the follicles break open to release the matured eggs, sending them to the womb for fertilization.
Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome do not make all of the hormones needed for the eggs to fully mature. The follicles grow and build up fluid, but the eggs do not get released. Ovulation does not occur, and the follicles remain dormant..
If this happens, your body might fail to make the hormone progesterone, which is needed to keep your cycle regular.
Ovarian Cysts and Pregnancy
Ovarian cysts are common during early pregnancy, even though you’re no longer menstruating. Usually, these cysts are harmless just like most other ovarian cysts.
However, there are a few possible problems if the cysts continue to grow throughout your pregnancy. They might rupture, twist, or even cause problems during childbirth. This is one of the many reasons it’s important to stay under the care of an obstetrician/gynecologist during your pregnancy, and throughout your life.
If you have polycystic ovary syndrome, you might have an increased risk of gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, miscarriage, or premature delivery.
Talk with your OB/GYN about your risk and potential treatment options. She’ll provide you with a thorough set of options and recommend the best course of treatment to help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.