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Over your lifetime, you’ve probably received more information about how to avoid pregnancy than about the possibility of infertility. Check? This is the reality for many people. But the truth is, when you want to get pregnant, the body needs to cooperate – which doesn’t always happen when you have an ovarian cyst.
Cysts are basically small pockets of fluid. Most common before menopause, they can cause imbalances in the body. You know that poem by Carlos Drummond, which says “’there was a stone in the middle of the road’”? It’s like the cyst is a stone in the way of a tempting.
Its presence can bring a series of obstacles to the lives of those who have this problem, and one of them is the difficulty of getting pregnant.
To clarify your doubts about what is an ovarian cyst, what are the symptoms and causes, how to identify it and much more, we have prepared this post. Follow!
What is an ovarian cyst?
As mentioned, cysts are bags of liquid (or semi-liquid), usually located in the female reproductive glands — the ovaries, which are next to the uterus, one on each side. It is noteworthy that, in addition to them, the cyst can arise in places such as the kidneys, skin or brain.
The cyst is like an unwanted guest at home. Its presence can be uncomfortable and cause imbalances in the body, requiring surgical removal.
A possible consequence of the ovarian cyst is the difficulty in ovulation – release of the ovum from the ovary -, necessary for the meeting with the sperm and the possible and consequent pregnancy. This problem occurs when the eggs become trapped in the fluid in the pouches.
Due to the hormonal dysregulation generated, the presence of an ovarian cyst favors acne, irregular menstruation and even obesity and infertility. In addition, the region where it is located presents symptoms such as pain, rupture and bleeding, as will be detailed later.
Usually, problems like these occur depending on the size and number of bags in the ovary. However, most ovarian cysts are benign, as they do not cause major discomfort or require removal – that is, they can be silent guests.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cyst?
The presence of cyst in the ovary usually presents symptoms that become more evident in the first period or in late adolescence. These include irregular or prolonged menstruation, as well as no menstruation.
To make the situation even more complex, when menstruation begins, the flow tends to be intense and last for about two weeks. Of course, going through this can lead to a lot of menstrual cramps and mood swings.
In addition, there are the physical signs, such as:
- excessive growth of facial and body hair (usually on the face, chest, back, buttocks, belly, or breasts);
- oily or acne-prone skin, even in adulthood;
- thinning or falling hair;
- weight gain and difficulty losing it;
- darkening of the skin, particularly in the neck, groin, and under the breasts.
It is worth mentioning that the appearance of these symptoms is not a rule, and the most common thing is that the ovarian cyst is asymptomatic. However, in some situations, signs may appear, such as in the case of rupture, growth or twisting of the cyst.
Cyst or pregnancy: how to know?
It is common for women with ovarian cysts to have false pregnancy alarms. After all, as mentioned, one of the possible consequences of this clinical picture is the absence of menstruation, called amenorrhea.
The period of amenorrhea can be quite prolonged — for example, reaching more than 100 days — and the possible causes are many. To rule out the possibility of pregnancy, it is important that the woman undergo tests, giving preference to the beta HCG test.
How to identify an ovarian cyst?
Identifying an ovarian cyst starts with the specialist questioning your medical history and understanding your hormonal cycle. Along with these questions, there is the transvaginal ultrasound exam, used when the professional suspects the presence of an ovarian cyst. To complete the diagnosis, you need to do a blood test.
If the results point to the presence of cysts, it is common for the doctor to indicate additional tests. They include:
- periodic blood pressure checks;
- glucose tolerance and cholesterol and triglyceride levels;
- evaluation of depression and anxiety;
- assessment of obstructive sleep apnea.
What can an ovarian cyst cause?
An ovarian cyst can cause much more than difficulty getting pregnant. Those with this condition are more likely to develop other health problems, such as:
- type 2 diabetes (characterized by higher blood sugar);
- depression, anxiety, and mood swings, in part because ovarian cyst symptoms, like physical changes, can affect self-esteem;
- high blood pressure and high cholesterol — health problems caused by the cyst can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Can someone who has an ovarian cyst get pregnant?
It is possible to get pregnant with an ovarian cyst, although it is more difficult. After all, the cyst interferes with the release of the egg, which is necessary for pregnancy.
However, pregnancy can happen if the egg is released and then fertilized. In any case, it is recommended to have medical follow-up and check the possibility of an ovarian cyst – or treat it, if the cyst is confirmed – if you notice strange symptoms or try to get pregnant and fail. A specialist will know how to treat an ovarian cyst — and this treatment is usually simple and successful.
Do you understand what an ovarian cyst is and its relationship with fertility? In rare cases, these pockets of fluid become malignant and cause problems, such as difficulty with ovulation, which is necessary for pregnancy. But, by ensuring adequate medical treatment, this obstacle is overcome without major problems.
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Technical review: Alexandre R. Marra, researcher at the Instituto Israelita de Ensino e Pesquisa Albert Einstein (IIEP) and permanent professor at the Graduate Program in Health Sciences at the Faculdade Israelita de Ciências da Saúde Albert Einstein (FICSAE).