What is the relation between PCOS and ovarian cyst?

difference between PCOS and an ovarian cyst
difference between PCOS and an ovarian cyst

Ovarian cysts and PCOS both are related medical conditions that may have overlapping symptoms. Women often confuse these two and wrongly believe that they have PCOS even if they don’t. The most significant difference between PCOS and an ovarian cyst is that PCOS results in hormonal imbalance, which is generally not the case for ovarian cyst. It can also be possible that a woman may have an ovarian cyst and may not suffer because of PCOS. If you or anyone you know is going through adverse body changes, you can connect with the experts of Saifee Hospital.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a metabolic condition that affects around one woman in every group of 10 women. This is a medical condition where the ovarian follicles grow abruptly. These follicles are not harmful in general but can lead to hormonal imbalance, and several other medical conditions. These symptoms may include irregular periods, unexplained weight gain, difficulty in pregnancy, thinning of head hair, acne, or oily skin. These are the symptoms that may usually start showing in the teenage years. In order to be detected with PCOS, a woman may have at least one of the following symptoms:

  • Irregular or sometimes lack of periods
  • High levels of male hormones
  • Polycystic ovaries, presence of enlarged ovaries containing fluid-filled sac

More than half of women do not produce any symptoms, so it can become difficult to diagnose the same. It is likely to note that women with PCOS do not generally produce cysts, rather they produce follicles. The exact cause of PCOS is not known but there can be chances that it may be linked with hereditary, abnormal hormone levels, high insulin levels, and others. Although PCOS has no cure, the symptoms of PCOS are treatable. It can be treated with certain medications and also through surgical methods including laparoscopic ovarian drilling (LOD).

PCOS is a hormonal disorder and can impact people with ovaries. There can be chances that it can go undiagnosed and untreated.

  • The presence of the word “syndrome” in PCOS denotes the group of symptoms consistently occurring together as part of conditions. Also, the diagnoses may result in the presence of at least two or three symptoms from the following confirmed symptoms:
  1. Irregular ovulation
  2. Presence of polycystic ovaries
  3. An elevated level of androgen and excessive hair growth
  • Irregular menstruation: if you want to understand the difference between PCOS and an ovarian cyst, you may try to notice here that irregular menstrual periods tend to appear in both medical conditions. Irregular ovulation can result in the building of the lining of uterine walls, called the endometrium. This can lead to heavier periods, high levels of pain, and discomfort.
  • An elevated level of androgen: It is the group of hormones that is critical to reproductive development. The most well-known critical hormone is testosterone, called male hormone, which can be produced in people with ovaries. It has a particular effect on body composition and insulin sensitivity.
  • “Polycystic” ovaries: This causes the presence of enlarged, multiple ovaries that may further contain immature follicles summing up to nearly 12 or more on one side of the ovary.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

Some of the common symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Excessive body hair growth
  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Trouble getting pregnant
  • irregular ovulation

Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are sacs filled with fluid and are present on or inside the ovaries. They are common in the 21st century and can produce many harmful effects at certain points of life. Most ovarian cysts occur as one of the natural parts of the normal menstrual cycle and may also appear during the childbearing stage. The growth of these cysts is harmless and will disappear naturally after a few months, without any need for medication.

  • Ovarian cyst produces symptoms that are very much similar to that of PCOS, such as irregular and no periods, acne, and unexplained weight gain. The symptoms of ovarian cyst may include pelvic pain, high blood pressure, abdominal pressure, and nausea.
  • It has been found that women with ovarian cysts do not generally get problems related to pregnancy, however, it is one of the common struggles among those who have PCOS symptoms.

Ovarian cysts are detectable through an ultrasound scan. Also, treatment for ovarian cysts depends on the factors like:

  • The size and appearance of the cysts
  • The symptoms
  • Whether or not you have developed the chances of menopause

Cysts may disappear without any intervention and can result in more serious medical issues. If they become large enough, they can turn cancerous and may produce more surgical issues to remove an ovarian cyst.

Does the major difference between PCOS and an ovarian cyst affect fertility?

PCOS is one of the most common and leading causes of infertility. It can result in irregular ovulation, difficulty to detect women’s fertile window, difficulty to achieve the pregnancy, etc. In such situations, women can use ovulation predictor kits, which can help them to predict ovulation, even if it is irregular. Some people with PCOS do not ovulate at all, which makes it impossible to conceive. On the other hand, most ovarian cysts do not affect the fertility of a woman except for the development of endometriomas. Endometriosis is a medical condition that affects the fallopian tubes, where an egg travels to meet up the sperms or other diminishes itself.


The key to remaining fit is to work on your diet, stay hydrated, take fewer carbs and more protein, and have a healthy rich diet of fruits and vegetables. If you want to prevent the symptoms of either PCOS or ovarian cyst, you may now know that both have symptoms that overlap with each other. Both can lead to irregular periods and can cause you many bodily changes including acne and even mental issues. It is better to take care of your body even if you have not developed the chances of PCOS or ovarian cyst. A healthy diet may help you cope with the situations and may give you enough time to fight the symptoms of such diseases.



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