Q: Will ovarian cysts impair fertility?

A: An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled space inside or on top of the ovary. They can exists in one or both ovaries. Ovarian cysts are unique in that they can be attributed to a number of other conditions. The source of the ovarian cysts is an important factor in determining whether or not the female will be able to conceive naturally.

If the ovarian cyst is linked to PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome, there could be problems conceiving. PCOS is linked to a series of symptoms rather than on definitive diagnosis. The female will present with irregular periods, lack of periods, infertility, excess body weight and possibly increase body hair growth. As a whole, these symptoms backed with ultrasound and hormone testing, can lead to the diagnosis of PCOS. This condition can also cause ovarian cysts and if that is the case, the fertility of the female is often compromised.

Ovarian cysts can also be linked to endometriosis. Fertility is not commonly affected by this condition, but the condition is affected by pregnancy. The only time a woman with endometriosis feels complete relief is during pregnancy as the condition disappears. There is no known cure for endometriosis, often referred to as a benign cancer, aside from a complete hysterectomy. If the endometriosis has grown into the ovaries and fallopian tubes, the cysts could be a good sign of this spread. Fertility could be affected if the condition has gone unnoticed to this point.

An ovarian cyst discovered during pregnancy will not usually have an effect on the pregnancy unless it grows big, looks supicious or there are symptoms.  If the cyst continues to grow, torsion can occur. Torsion is the twisting of the cyst to the point of extreme pain. Most often, this pain is treated with pain medications until after the baby is born.