Many ovarian cysts may not affect your chances of getting pregnant, but cyst-related conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may affect your fertility.

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An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms on your ovaries. If you discover you have an ovarian cyst, you may have many questions about whether this can prevent or delay pregnancy.

While ovarian cysts can occur naturally with your menstrual cycle, they may also be a symptom of conditions like endometriosis and PCOS. Determining the cause of ovarian cysts can help you know whether they may affect your fertility.

Read on to discover how an ovarian cyst may affect your fertility.

Learn more about ovarian cysts.

Many ovarian cysts might not affect your fertility. But sometimes, cysts relate to an illness or condition that can affect your ability to become pregnant. One example can include cysts that relate to endometriosis.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, functional ovarian cysts are the most common cysts and can develop during your menstrual cycle. These cysts are usually short-lived and harmless.

On the other hand, the organization mentions that atypical cell growth can lead to pathological cysts. These can grow large and may burst or twist, affecting ovary health. Some may even be cancerous.

Also, if an ovarian cyst requires surgical removal, injury to your ovary or the need to remove it may affect your fertility. You can discuss the risks of this with your doctor before having the procedure.

PCOS is a condition that occurs when a reproductive hormone imbalance creates symptoms affecting your ovaries.

One of the common symptoms of PCOS is developing ovarian cysts. PCOS can also cause irregular or missed menstrual cycles. As a result, PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility.

Ovarian cysts may occur from:

  • cyst-related conditions (endometriosis, PCOS)
  • menstrual cycle disruptions
  • hormone imbalances
  • severe pelvic infections
  • pregnancy

Sometimes, cysts form during your usual ovulation process. Functional cysts may form if a follicle grows an egg but doesn’t release it. They can also form if the follicle doesn’t drain and shrink after releasing the egg.

Everyone’s healing process looks different after an ovarian cyst removal. It may take 12 weeks to return fully to your typical activities after surgery.

If you need surgery to remove an ovarian cyst and hope to conceive at a later date, your doctors may do everything they can to preserve your fertility and leave your ovaries intact.

If a cyst is borderline cancerous and you don’t want to have more children, you may need to have surgery to remove one ovary. But in many cases, the ovary with the cyst may only need cyst removal surgery, and your other ovary can continue to produce eggs as usual, even during the healing process.

You can’t prevent typical functional ovarian cysts from developing when ovulating. But your doctor may recommend hormonal birth control to prevent or suppress ovulation if you frequently develop painful ovarian cysts.

You can become pregnant when ovarian cysts develop other than functional ones, but the underlying cause of your cysts can affect your chances of getting pregnant.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends you speak with a fertility specialist and have an infertility evaluation if you’re 35 years or older and have tried to become pregnant for more than 6 months or you’re under 35 years old and have tried to become pregnant for more than 1 year.

Can ovarian cysts cause blocked fallopian tubes?

Yes, ovarian cysts can cause ruptured or blocked fallopian tubes. But ovarian cysts aren’t usually a common cause of blocked tubes. The blockage may happen from a condition like endometriosis, which can cause the cyst and the blockage. Having ovarian cysts doesn’t mean you may also have blocked fallopian tubes.

Do ovarian cysts need to be removed?

Many times, doctors don’t need to remove ovarian cysts. Your doctor may consider the cyst’s size and your symptoms to determine whether cyst removal surgery is necessary.

Can ovarian cysts develop if you don’t experience ovulation?

No, ovarian cysts can’t develop if you don’t go through ovulation. During ovulation, you may develop a cyst if an egg cell’s follicle doesn’t open and release an egg. A cyst may also form if a follicle doesn’t release fluid and shrink after releasing an egg.

You can become pregnant with an ovarian cyst, but sometimes, your ovarian cysts may link with a condition that makes getting pregnant harder. If you have ovarian cysts, your doctor can help you determine the cause and whether treatments may improve your fertility and overall health.

While doctors don’t often need to remove ovarian cysts, your doctor may recommend having cyst removal surgery if you have pain or a cyst becomes large. If surgery is necessary, your doctors can tell you how the procedure may affect your fertility.