For any woman, learning that she has ovarian cysts can already cause some alarm. The concern, however, can be elevated to a whole new level when she wants to get pregnant or is well into her pregnancy.
Does ovarian cyst affect fertility?
If so, how?
Should the presence of these present some complications to someone who is already conceiving?
Will surgical procedures to remove the cyst be safe during pregnancy?
These are just some of the questions this article hopes to shed light on.
Ovarian Cyst and Fertility
Most of the time, the cysts that develop in women’s ovaries are functional cysts which means that these are non-threatening cysts that will just disappear on their own over a couple of months. This type of cyst will not affect a woman’s desire to have a child.
Despite this, however, it can interfere with the woman’s ability to ovulate.
Ovulation is the cycle where the follicle releases a mature egg through the fallopian tube and into the uterus. Irregularities or interferences with normal ovulation are among the major factors that contribute to women having trouble achieving successful pregnancy.
Of the different types of ovarian cysts, there are two types that can cause infertility:
What is it?
This is a disorder where the tissue that lines the uterus, called endometrium, grows outside the uterine cavity. If endometrium forms on the ovaries it can cause endometriomas that prevent a woman from producing fertile eggs.
Endometriosis also affects fertility by inducing scar tissue formation that compromises the fallopian tube’s normal function. It can also prevent fertilization when endometriosis cells secrete substances that might obstruct the interaction of the sperm and the egg.
In addition, there are other hormonal dysfunctions that come along with this condition that can cause weak implantation leading to early miscarriages. It usually affects women between 25-40 years old.
To remedy this, ovulation can be blocked or the menstruation can be stopped for four to six months. Surgical procedures, such as laparoscopy or laparotomy, can also be performed to eradicate this type of problem.
What is it?
PCOS, on the other hand, occurs when there is an imbalance in a woman’s reproductive hormones.
As a result, the ovaries do not produce the needed hormones that make the follicles release mature eggs. Characterized by infrequent menstrual periods, PCOS decreases the number of times a woman will ovulate all throughout her lifetime thereby decreasing the chance of fertilization. It can likewise be characterized by heavy menstrual periods that could lead to the development of endometrial polyps and other changes in the endometrial lining level thereby making it difficult for the embryo to implant.
Treatment of PCOS includes taking hormone medications (fertility drugs) in order to prompt ovulation. It should be noted that PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in women.
Ovarian Cysts and Pregnancy
Ultrasounds are routine part of prenatal checkups. It is during these scans where ovarian cysts are often diagnosed. Having these will not harm the baby especially if the cysts are small, meaning under 5cm in diameter. Once detected, the doctor may just have it monitored through additional scans. You can also check if you have the symptoms listed on this page.
Corpus leutal cysts are very normal during pregnancy which are asymptomatic and can start to shrink at around 10 weeks into the pregnancy and will disappear by about 16 weeks.
Small cysts found during pregnancy are usually left until after delivery. However, if the ovarian cyst is over 7cm there may be a need to remove it. Large cysts can cause distressing pain to the expectant mother and can also prevent the baby’s head engaging at the end of pregnancy. Surgery is likewise presented as an option if the cyst is suspected to be malignant or cancerous, if there are threats of complications such as rupture or torsion, or if the size of the cyst is likely to pose problems with the pregnancy.
Laparoscopic surgery is a safe and effective procedure that can be done without any impact on the baby.
This can be carried out at any time during the pregnancy. Despite being generally safe, this still carries a very small risk of pregnancy loss which needs to be weighed against the risk of leaving the cysts there and performing the operation after the baby is delivered. Alternatively, there are also natural treatments available if you do not want to go the surgical route.
Pregnant women as well as women who want to conceive should not have to worry about ovarian cysts. Pregnancy is a wonderful time that should be treasured and enjoyed without being consumed by concerns over ovarian cysts. Have a stress-free pregnancy and pre-pregnancy through guidelines and tips that can helpfully eliminate ovarian cysts so you can focus more on keeping you and your baby happy and healthy.