Can Stress Cause Ovarian Cysts?

Sometimes, stress can take over your day, and it is completely understandable for you to wonder what long-term effects this stress has on your body. 

Can Stress Cause Ovarian Cysts

If you are familiar with stress, you may already understand the connection stress has with other health concerns, such as poor sleep, mental health problems, and weight gain.

However, if you’re on this page because you’re worried that stress may cause ovarian cysts, you can cease worrying immediately! Stress doesn’t cause ovarian cysts. 

If you’re looking for an understanding of ovarian cysts and their causes, as well as the impact that stress can have on a female’s reproductive system, you’ve come to the right place!

We’ve compiled an ultimate guide in answer to your question. Let’s dive in!

What Is An Ovarian Cyst?

Ovarian cysts can develop on a woman’s ovary. They are small sacs that are filled with fluid, and they can develop for lots of different reasons. 

Ovarian cysts are fairly common among women, and, in some cases, they are the byproduct of a natural menstrual cycle. 

Causes Of Ovarian Cysts

In certain cases, if your body fails to release your egg, this egg may continue to grow. It can eventually develop into a cyst on your ovaries. 

In other cases, you may ovulate, but the follicle material that is the location where the egg develops may not dissolve. When this happens, it may fill with fluid and become a follicular cyst. 

Some other causes of ovarian cysts are:

Health Conditions 

Certain health conditions can cause ovarian cysts. For instance, things like endometriosis or PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) can cause these ovarian cysts to develop.

Endometriosis is a health condition that causes uterine tissue to develop outside of the uterus. When this grows on the ovaries, it can cause severe pain and prevent ovulation.

This prevention of ovulation can lead to the cyst developing due to unreleased eggs.


Certain infections can cause ovarian cysts to occur. Cysts that occur because of infections can be quite dangerous as they can grow to large sizes. 

These cysts can sometimes burst, becoming a ruptured ovarian cyst. This can cause lots of problems as the bacteria can enter the body, leading to sepsis. 


In most cases, ovarian cysts do not cause (see also: Can Ovarian Cysts Cause Abnormal Results For Your Pap Smears?)any long-term or major problems. However, a benign cyst can continue to grow and it may become malignant. These tumours can eventually lead to ovarian cancer. 

Cysts that become cancerous are usually found in those who have gone through menopause.


Pregnancy can cause a corpus luteum cyst. This cyst is important throughout pregnancy as it is where the progesterone hormone is produced.

This hormone supports the embryo through the first trimester before the placenta is able to make the progesterone for itself. 

If you become pregnant through in vitro fertilisation (IVF), you will need to take this hormone as a supplement as you will not have this cyst.

Most people do not experience any pain or discomfort from this cyst, as it will go away after the first few weeks of pregnancy. Many people do not even realise it is there. 

Is Stress Linked To Ovarian Cysts?

Stress is not linked to the development of ovarian cysts. However, stress can influence lots of other types of health problems. 

Stress can impact your ability to become pregnant, so if you are trying to conceive, you should tackle your stress initially.

Can Stress Impact Your Reproductive Health?

Can Stress Cause Ovarian Cysts (1)

Stress may not cause ovarian cysts, but it can impact your reproductive health in lots of other ways. 

Stress has been linked with a difficulty with conceiving. This is because of the following: 

Stress Promotes An Unhealthy Lifestyle

When you’re experiencing a large amount of stress and pressure it is likely that you will start to make some unhealthy decisions. 

For instance, you may begin indulging in unhealthy foods, drinking more alcohol, or smoking. All of these lifestyle choices make it more difficult to become pregnant. 

Poor Sleep

Feeling stressed can interfere with your sleep pattern. Poor sleep can also lead to obesity and weight gain, which can cause problems with fertility. 

Obesity does not only make it difficult to conceive, but it also makes you more likely to suffer a miscarriage if you do conceive. 

Heightened Cortisol Levels 

Stress can cause your body to release much higher levels of cortisol. This can lead to fatigue, a reduced sex drive, and other serious health problems.

What Other Factors Can Come In The Way Of Conceiving?

Avoiding stress is a good idea if you are hoping to conceive, but it is just one factor that could have an impact on your ability to get pregnant. Other problems with fertility include:

  • Menstrual Issues. If you have irregular periods or heavy periods, you may have a difficult time conceiving.
  • Hormone imbalances. These imbalances can impact your ability to release an egg.
  • Structural issues. A misshapen uterus can affect your ability to conceive.
  • Autoimmune issues
  • Lack of ovulation 
  • Untreated infections stemming from gonorrhoea or chlamydia.

Reducing the amount of stress that you are facing is never a bad idea, however, if you are concerned about your fertility, you may want to look at your wider health and hormones. 

If you’re unsure about anything, you should contact a healthcare professional to understand more about your fertility. They can help you to come up with a plan for conception or tell you about any other options.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it! If you’ve been wondering whether stress can cause ovarian cysts, you’ve come to the right place.

After reading this article, you should now be an expert on the cause of ovarian cysts, and the impact that stress does have on your reproductive health. 

While stress does not cause ovarian cysts, it does impact your ability to conceive in other ways. Ensure you seek medical attention if you have any concerns!

Clare McAfee
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