What’s the difference between Ovarian Cyst and PCOS?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Ovarian Cyst: both have the word ‘cyst’ in them, so do they mean the same thing?
The quick answer is no!
Let’s have a look at both the conditions in detail!
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects a large number of reproductive-age women. However, the leading cause of PCOS is still unknown.
As you must be aware, the ovaries are one of the reproductive organs that produce hormones like estrogen and progesterone (hormones responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle) and small amounts of male hormones called androgens. Women with PCOS have higher than average amounts of androgens that strike off the hormonal balance in women, leading to the body skipping menstrual periods.
Some of the common symptoms that help doctors to diagnose PCOS include:
- Irregular periods
- Weight gain
- Excessive hair growth (aka hirsutism)
- Hormonal imbalance (elevated androgen levels)
Once diagnosed, PCOS can be treated by making some healthy lifestyle choices like eating right, exercising regularly and keeping your stress under check. One can also consider including PCOS drinks like andMe’s PCOD tea in their diet plan to get your daily boost of all the essential supplements that promote hormonal health.
What are Ovarian Cysts?
Ovarian cysts, also known as adnexal masses, are prevalent in women. They are basically sacs or pockets filled with fluid within the ovary or surface. They are generally harmless and come and go without any symptoms. There are four major types of ovarian cysts:
- Functional cysts: This is the most common type of ovarian cyst that usually disappears on its own without any symptoms.
- Teratomas cysts: Also known as dermoid cysts, they contain a variety of tissues that make up the body, like skin and hair.
- Cystadenomas cysts: They form on the outer surface of the ovary and can grow quite large. However, they are typically benign.
- Endometriomas form as a result of endometriosis, a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus.It can cause infertility and painful periods.
Some of the symptoms experienced while having a cyst are as follows. It is interesting to note some overlap with PCOS symptoms:
- Pelvic pain
- Abdominal pressure
- Bloating and nausea
- Heavy or irregular periods
- They can also be asymptomatic
Impact of PCOS and Ovarian cysts on fertility
As PCOS can result in irregular ovulation, it can directly affect a person’s fertile window. Some women with PCOS do not ovulate, making it impossible for them to get pregnant.
When talking about Ovarian cysts, they do not affect fertility, aside from the above condition called endometriomas. This happens because endometriosis can block off the fallopian tubes and not allow the egg to travel and meet up with the sperm.
You might have already noticed some overlap between PCOS and Ovarian Cysts, but there lies a stark difference in their outcomes and treatment. Therefore, if you ever experience any of the above symptoms, it is advisable to not self-diagnose and get in touch with an expert to understand your problem. Additionally, do not ignore any of the symptoms as ovarian health is an essential part of women’s health care!