Ovarian abnormalities can contribute to infertility
Many women who visit our San Antonio fertility surgeons for help with fertility issues have ovarian abnormalities. Some of these problems include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), ovarian cysts, pelvic adhesions and endometriosis. With the proper diagnosis and treatment, women can find relief from the discomfort and infertility caused by ovarian abnormalities.
Understanding the causes of ovarian abnormalities
Our San Antonio fertility surgeons offer many treatments for ovarian abnormalities. These treatments vary depending on the cause of the problem.
- PCOS is a common condition in women of reproductive age. Symptoms of PCOS may include irregular or absent periods, ovarian cysts, elevated androgen levels, acne, difficulty maintaining a healthy weight and male pattern hair growth. Due to its association with abnormal or absent ovulation, it is also responsible for many cases of female infertility.
- Ovarian cysts are fluid filled sacs within the ovary. These cysts are defined by the type of fluid that they contain, but fortunately almost all cysts in reproductive age women are benign. Despite their similar sounding names, ovarian cysts and polycystic ovarian disease are totally different conditions. Whereas PCOS is associated with abnormal ovulation, ovarian cysts typically do not interfere with normal ovulation. Women often develop cysts during their childbearing years, and they may not even know they have them. However, in some cases, ovarian cysts can cause fertility issues.
- Dermoid cysts are benign (non-cancerous) ovarian cysts that can contain different types of tissue such as hair, fat and occasionally bone or cartilage.
- Endometriosis cysts, or endometriomas, form when a piece of the endometrial (uterine) lining travels backward through the Fallopian tube and attaches to the ovary. Just like normal uterine lining, these abnormally located pieces of uterine lining grow and then shed (bleed) during a woman’s menstrual cycle. With continued bleeding, these areas get larger, eventually forming a cyst.
- Pelvic adhesions develop as a result of infection or inflammation – usually from endometriosis or previous pelvic or abdominal surgery. Adhesions, or scar tissue, distort pelvic anatomy, interfering with the ability of the egg to be picked up by the fallopian tube.
- Ovarian torsion is not common, but it can be a serious and painful condition. It occurs when an ovary, and sometimes a Fallopian tube, become twisted, which can cut off the blood flow to these organs. Without immediate treatment, it can result in the loss of an ovary.
Getting the right diagnosis and treatment for ovarian abnormalities
Our San Antonio fertility surgeons will perform blood work, transvaginal ultrasounds and other forms of diagnostic testing to determine if a woman has an ovarian abnormality. If so, they will recommend specific fertility treatments to help the woman meet her family-building and life goals.
- If PCOS is diagnosed in a woman who is not ready to conceive, our physicians will often start by prescribing birth control pills to alleviate the most troublesome PCOS symptoms. When she is ready to conceive, she will begin taking fertility medications and often Metformin to help her ovulate. Our physicians may use these medications alone or in conjunction with other fertility treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
- Most ovarian cysts resolve on their own. If they do not, then our physicians will typically prescribe birth control pills to help them go away. In some cases, as with dermoid cysts and endometriomas, our San Antonio fertility surgeons may need to perform minimally invasive surgery to remove them and improve fertility.
- With ovarian torsion, our San Antonio fertility surgeons can perform surgery to untwist the ovary and Fallopian tube. In some cases, if a woman’s ovary has been without blood flow for too long, our physicians may need to remove it.
You don’t have to live with ovarian abnormalities. Our San Antonio fertility surgeons specialize in helping women overcome these and many other causes of infertility. Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn how Texas Fertility Center – San Antonio can help you.