Sexual maturity for women means the development of hormones like estrogen and progesterone through your teens, and your ovaries make this possible. With these almond-shaped organs, your body develops, grows, and starts the process of menstruation vital to pregnancy and childbirth.
Since your ovaries are vital for childbirth, conditions like ovarian cysts can create problems for your reproductive system and make getting pregnant more difficult.
To understand why, let’s explore what this condition is, its causes and symptoms, and how it can affect your fertility.
If you live in the Lake Mary, Florida, area and you’re struggling with ovarian cysts or other reproductive problems, Dr. Christopher Quinsey and our dedicated medical staff can help.
Understanding ovarian cysts
Ovarian cysts are sacs of fluid found on ovaries for a variety of reasons. They can go away without causing problems or can lead to symptoms, including affecting your ability to have children.
The most common type of ovarian cysts are called functional cysts, which are formed during a normal menstrual cycle and are most often harmless.
These may be either follicular or corpus luteum cysts and often go away after a few months. But there are many less common types you may deal with, including:
Ovarian dermoid cysts come from reproductive cells that create eggs in your ovaries, may contain hair, skin, or teeth cells, but are rarely cancerous. They can grow so large that the ovary twists out of shape. This can damage or destroy the ovary.
This type of cyst forms from ovarian surface cells, may be filled with mucous or watery material, and can become large in size.
Endometriomas are cystic lesions that result from a more advanced stage of endometriosis, a condition in which the same type of tissue that lines the uterus grows where it’s not supposed to, including on the ovaries. Endometriomas can lead to infertility.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
With PCOS, your ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens (male sex hormones), and you may have numerous small cysts in the ovaries. The condition can prevent ovulation.
Causes and symptoms
Ovarian cysts form as part of the process of ovulation and, as we mentioned above, are largely harmless.
But other forms of ovarian cysts are due to abnormal cell reproduction, which can lead to dermoids and cystadenomas, endometriosis (which can lead to endometriomas), and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Small cysts are often asymptomatic, but when signs occur, you can experience:
- Pelvic pain
- Dull lower back aches
- Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
- Painful cycles
The pain can range from mild to sharp, depending on the type and severity of your cysts, and it can come or go without explanation.
Connections to fertility problems
Cysts can affect fertility in one of two ways, hormonally or structurally.
This means that they can either disrupt the hormonal relay (affecting when eggs release during your cycle) between your ovaries and your brain, or they can inhibit the organs that lead to conception and eventually pregnancy.
The most common conditions that affect the ovaries are endometrioma cysts and PCOS. The former often results from endometriosis, where the lining of the uterus grows outside of it and attaches to other organs like your ovaries, making conception more difficult.
The latter affects your cycle hormonally, the result of your body producing too much androgen and disrupting ovulation and egg maturity.
Both conditions are treatable, but the methods depend on your age, the size and quantity of the cysts, and the symptoms you’re experiencing.
So if you’re dealing with problems getting pregnant and have symptoms of these conditions, make an appointment with Dr. Quinsey today to get the treatment you need to start a family.