Nearly 20% of women ages 15-49 are unable to get pregnant after a year of trying, which is typically how infertility is defined. One cause of the problem can be cysts that develop in or on the ovaries, but it very much depends upon the type of cysts.
If you want to figure out whether ovarian cysts are throwing up hurdles to your family-building goals, read on to explore the information that Dr. Ulas Bozdogan and the team here at Advanced Endometriosis Center have pulled together.
A matter of function
One of the first things to understand about ovarian cysts is that they can very much be a normal part of ovulation.
A cyst is simply a word that describes a fluid-filled sac, and your ovaries create one during each menstrual cycle to house a maturing egg. When it comes time to release the egg, the sac breaks open, sends the egg on its way, and shrivels up.
A functional cyst can occur if your egg doesn’t release or the sac reseals itself after the departure of your egg. There’s usually nothing to be concerned about with these types of cysts. In fact, in all likelihood, you won’t even be aware of the issue as these cysts typically occur without incident or symptoms and resolve on their own within a few months.
Problematic ovarian cysts
Now, let’s take a look at when cysts developing in or on your ovaries can be problematic in terms of getting pregnant. These are normally caused by one of two conditions:
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
This is a common condition that affects up to five million women in their reproductive years in the United States. With PCOS, you have a hormone imbalance — higher levels of androgens, to be more precise — and this imbalance can prevent your eggs from fully maturing.
The reason why the condition refers to cysts is that, as we discussed above, your ovaries create sacs for eggs to mature in each menstrual cycle. When you have PCOS, you don’t have enough progesterone to help the egg mature, and it doesn’t release from the sac, which leads to many functional cysts developing in or on your ovaries over time.
So, the cysts are a result of what’s really creating fertility issues — the imbalance in reproductive hormones.
Another major contributor to infertility is endometriosis, which affects more than 1 in 10 women in their reproductive years in the U.S. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus.
Of the 10% of women who develop endometriosis, 17-44% develop ovarian endometriomas, which are endometrial growths that develop in or on the ovaries. Also called chocolate cysts, these sacs contain endometrial cells and tissues, and their existence can very much interfere with the function of your ovaries, not to mention lead to pelvic pain.
Outside of PCOS and endometriosis, there are other uncommon cysts that can form on or in your ovaries, such as dermoid cysts or cancerous growths.
The good news is that, if PCOS or endometriosis is causing fertility issues, you’ve come to the right place. Dr. Bozdogan has extensive experience helping women achieve their family-building dreams by offering the most advanced techniques for removing problematic cysts, including minimally invasive, robot-assisted surgery.
The first step is to properly identify the cause of your infertility. To get started, book an appointment online or over the phone with Advanced Endometriosis Center today.