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Q.

Can an ovarian cyst on my left ovary prevent me from having children?

 

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A.
In general, ovarian cysts do not prevent pregnancy. In rare cases, treating ovarian cysts may affect fertility.

The ovaries are complex organs in the female pelvis. They produce eggs and hormones. The biological machinery required for these functions may also produce ovarian growths.

Ovarian cysts and tumors may form from any of the many types of cells that form the ovary. A cyst is a growth that is primarily filled with fluid. A tumor is made up mostly of solid tissue. Many growths have both fluid and solid components.

The most common ovarian cysts are functional cysts. They form from the follicle cells. These cells create a protective layer around the developing egg. Functional cysts usually go away without treatment in one or two months. They have no negative impact on fertility.

Occasionally, a functional cyst will become painful, large, or rupture. A woman may need surgery to remove the cyst in these cases.

Other cysts and tumors form from egg cells, cells that coat the ovary (epithelium), and cells that make up the bulk of the ovarian mass (stroma).

In young women, these growths are almost always noncancerous (benign). When a growth is found in a premenopausal woman, her doctor will often monitor the cysts for a few months to see if it goes away on its own.

If an ovarian growth doesn't go away on its own, surgery is usually needed to remove the growth. The growth can then be studied to determine its type. Removing the cyst also prevents further growth.

Having a cyst removed usually does not affect fertility. Even removing one ovary does not affect fertility. The remaining ovary can do the job. Only in very rare cases, when both ovaries are affected, would fertility be threatened.

Copyright 9/10/2008 Harvard University. All rights reserved. HHP/HMS content licensing handled by Belvoir Media Group.

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