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All About Ovarian Cysts and Fertility

ovarian cyst and pregnancy
If you are undergoing infertility counselling in Kitchener Waterloo, one of the first things your doctor might do is check to see if you have any ovarian cysts that are causing fertility issues. While most cysts can be simple growths that dissipate on their own over time, it is important to treat the ones that may be affecting a woman’s fertility.

What Is an Ovarian Cyst?

The ovaries are responsible for hormone production of estrogen and progesterone and work as a support for egg cells. The ovaries can develop fluid-filled sacs referred to as cysts. Ovarian cysts can range in size up to four inches without causing any medical issues or infertility.

Types of Ovarian Cysts

Below we discuss the various types of ovarian cysts.

Functional Cysts

As a common ovarian cyst, a functional cyst is directly related to ovulation. Separated into two categories a functional cyst can develop as a follicular or a corpus luteum cyst. These cysts normally disappear on their own without the need for medical treatment.

Dermoid Cysts

Dermoid cysts are known as mature cystic teratoma cysts. This cyst can often develop in the womb and presents itself as a woman ages. These cysts can contain bone, cartilage, hair, and body tissues. While dermoid cysts develop as benign tumours, they can force the ovary to turn, causing the condition of ovarian torsion.

Corpus Luteum Cysts

Corpus luteum cysts are a type of functional cyst that develop after ovulation. If fluid enters the cell collection known as corpus luteum, a cyst will begin growing. It may naturally dissolve or can fill with fluid adding pressure on the ovary.

Hemorrhagic Cysts

Cysts that fill with blood are known as hemorrhagic cysts. While these sacs do not cause fertility issues, they can be painful as fluid and blood is released into the lower abdomen if broken open. Hemorrhagic cysts usually form during ovulation when a follicle bleeds into a cyst.


A painful cyst known as endometrioma forms when the inner tissue lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. This endometrial tissue growth is referred to as endometriosis. The endometrial cyst can have a detrimental effect on the health of the ovaries, pelvic tissue, and fallopian tubes.

Paraovarian Cysts

Paraovarian cysts develop in the fallopian tubes, near the ovaries and are often mistaken for ovarian cysts. These fluid-filled sacs measure between 0.5 cm to 20 cm in diameter. There may or may not be symptoms with the presence of a paraovarian cyst and they often dissolve on their own.

Causes of Ovarian Cysts

Several environmental factors can lead to the development of most ovarian cysts. From hormones to pelvic infections, and even pregnancy, a woman may be prone to cysts from a young age. Many women experience the development of cysts during pregnancy as a natural support aid for the placenta to grow.

Abnormal Cell Reproduction

Ovarian cysts can be caused by abnormal cell reproduction. These cysts are usually benign but can become malignant in some cases. Dermoid and cystadenomas can grow causing mild to severe symptoms and possible fertility issues.


The condition of endometriosis is present when the same endometriosis tissue of the inner lining of the uterus is found growing on the outside of the uterus. The tissue will thicken and release blood as the inner lining tissue does, but in this case, there is no place for the blood to go. Cysts will form, causing scarring of the tissue, leading to fertility problems if ruptured, forcing a blockage as the ovaries attach to the fallopian tubes.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is referred to as a bacterial infection of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and/or the womb, leading to the development of cysts. Whether PID is caused by the natural bacteria found in the vagina or by a sexually transmitted disease, signs may be fever, lower abdominal pain, bad odour from the vagina, and/or abdominal bleeding.

Signs and Symptoms

Small cysts either dissolve on their own or may be detected during a regular medical pelvic examination. Larger cysts can be discovered by the sudden onset of various symptoms.
  • Exercise-induced pelvic pain
  • Pain or pressure with urination or bowel movement
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Indigestion
  • Early satiety
  • Bloating
  • Painful intercourse
  • Painful periods
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent fever
  • Irregular periods
  • Infertility

Which Ovarian Cysts Affect Fertility?

The two types of infertility-related cysts seen in fertility clinics in Kitchener Waterloo are polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriomas. Either condition requires immediate treatment to help improve the possibility of pregnancy.


As endometriomas can damage the ovaries with scarring or distortion, a woman’s fertility will be affected. Treatment of the cysts is commonly laparoscopic surgery to attempt to save the integrity of the ovaries and the uterus. Severe endometriosis cases may lead to removal of the damaged ovary with an oophorectomy procedure.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Another fertility-related ovarian cyst is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). These cysts form due to a hormonal imbalance with the presence of the hormone androgen. High levels can halt the release of the egg. Symptoms include excessive hair growth, obesity, irregular periods, and insulin resistance. Without proper treatment, PCOS can cause complications leading to miscarriages, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and premature birth.

How to Get Pregnant with Ovarian Cysts

For those with polycystic ovaries and endometriomas conditions, there may be treatment and lifestyle changes to help your chances of becoming pregnant. Following a healthy diet and regular exercise regime, a woman may increase her chances in the fertility process. Depending on the type of ovarian cyst, medical treatment may be needed such as medications and/or surgical cyst removal. In cases where treatment of cysts fails to promote pregnancy due to scarring, women have other options such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Read Here: Tips For Getting Pregnant With PCOS

Contact ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo for Infertility Counselling

For infertility counselling in Guelph, inquire about the Ontario fertility program at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo. Our highly trained skilled and compassionate team provides an individualized comprehensive fertility plan based on your needs and comfort. Contact us today to begin your fertility journey with us!


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