Types of Ovarian Cyst
Causes of Ovarian Cysts
Signs and Symptoms
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled growths in a woman’s ovaries. This may happen in just one or both of the ovaries. Usually ovarian cysts are harmless and often go away on their own. Sometimes though ovarian cysts can grow so much they rupture, or cause damage to the ovary. They may grow so much they cause displacement of the reproductive organs or twist themselves. Damage from a ruptured ovarian cyst may cause scar tissue build-up, and/or the formation of adhesion, attaching the ovary to other parts of the internal body.
Ovarian cysts are most common in women of childbearing years, but can rarely develop in postmenopausal women. A woman’s ovaries are about the size and shape of an almond. It is amazing that something so small and delicate can hold thousands of eggs at birth. It is also quite amazing that something so small can develop a cyst. In fact ovarian cysts can become quite large over time. Thankfully there are natural remedies that can help your body to rid itself of the cysts naturally and without surgery.
Types of Ovarian Cysts
Functional Ovarian Cysts
During a woman’s natural cycle the ovaries produce follicles, which are like a cyst and contain the egg to be released during ovulation. As ovulation nears the follicle begins to grow. Follicles also produce and release both estrogen and progesterone. An ovarian cyst that forms due to a malfunction in the follicle is known as a functional cyst. There are two types of functional cysts:
- Follicular cyst: This happens when the follicle fails to rupture and release the egg at ovulation, it continues to grow forming a cyst.
Corpus Luteum cyst: This happens when the follicle does release the egg at ovulation. The follicle changes to what is called the corpus luteum. The opening in the follicle where the egg was released seals off, accumulating fluid, causing the corpus luteum to grow into a cyst.
Other Types of Ovarian Cysts
There are other types of cysts that form on the ovaries, but they are not related to the menstrual cycle.
- Dermoid cyst: These cysts are considered complex and develop from cells that produce human eggs. Because of this these types of cyst may contain hair, teeth, or skin. They are rarely cancerous.
Cystadenomas: This type of cyst develops from ovarian tissue and is filled with liquid or mucous.
Endometriomas: This type of cyst forms when endometrial cells attach to the ovary and form a growth (endometriosis) This type of ovarian cyst is commonly called a chocolate cyst.
The above 3 types of ovarian cysts may cause damage to the ovary, including twisting, scar tissue and adhesion formation. Both Dermoid and Cystadenomas may cause the ovary to become very large and displaced. These types of cysts are considered more complex and usually do not respond to natural therapies as well. It is best to work with your doctor regarding these types of cysts.
- Polycystic ovaries: This is associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, the ovary may be enlarged, usually twice the size of a normal ovary. A polycystic ovary develops many small cysts in a row, looking like a strand of pearls on the surface of the ovary. PCOS is a common endocrine disorder. Not all women diagnosed with PCOS have ovaries that have these types of cysts. For more information specifically on this condition, please click here…
What Causes Ovarian Cysts?
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Hormonal imbalance
- Cigarette smoking
- Early menstruation (11 years or younger)
- Increased upper body fat
- Infertility treatment with gonadotropins, this may cause multiple large cysts.
- Use of Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene) has been shown to increase the risk for development of Corpus Luteum cyst.
- Use of Tamoxifen for breast cancer
Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts
Most women that have ovarian cysts don’t even know. Usually there are no signs of symptoms. Most ovarian cysts are discovered during a routine physical exam. The larger a cyst is the more likely it is to cause symptoms. Symptoms may be:
- Pelvic pain, usually on the side where the cyst is present. Pain may be sharp, sudden or come and go throughout the cycle.
- Irregular menstrual cycles.
- Anovulatory cycles may signal follicular cyst. Charting your cycle can help you to determine if you are having anovulatory cycles.
- Pelvic pain after intercourse or strenuous exercise.
- Nausea and vomiting, this usually happens after a cyst ruptures.
- Vaginal pain with spotty bleeding.
- Pressure and/or abdominal bloating, may be noticeable on one side or the other.
- Pain or pressure in the abdomen when urinating or having a bowel movement.
Note: See a doctor immediately if you have excruciating pain, nausea, vomiting and/or bleeding from the vagina during any point in your cycle.
How are Ovarian Cysts Diagnosed?
If you suspect you have an ovarian cyst doctors have many diagnostic tools. Here are some tests your doctor may perform:
- Endovaginal Ultrasound uses a vaginal ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina. This type of ultrasound has been found to produce a better image of ovarian cysts that ultrasound through the abdominal wall.
- Laparoscopic surgery may be performed to determine the type of cyst and to take a biopsy.
- CT or MRI may be used if there is further concern.
- Serum CA-125 assay is a blood test to determine if the cyst is cancerous. This test is not always accurate because elevated levels of CA-125 may also signal the presence of uterine fibroids, adenomyosis or endometriosis.
Medical Options for Ovarian Cyst Treatment
The number one medical treatment for functional ovarian cysts is to prescribe birth control pills. This prevents ovulation, therefore the formation of functional ovarian cysts cannot happen. This presents a problem though, one it prevents pregnancy, and two may cause long-term hormonal imbalance, and three, it does not solve the root of the cause.
If an ovarian cyst becomes too large or is considered to be at a higher risk for rupture, is a complex cyst, or has twisted or become adhered to other parts of the internal body, a doctor may choose to remove it surgically. Your doctor will be able to help you to determine your best options.
How Natural Therapies May Help with Ovarian Cysts
For functional cysts there are natural options that are very effective. We like to approach it at two different levels. Clearing out and prevention. In this guide you will learn how to clear out excess estrogens and cysts while working to prevent future ones from being created. This therapy usually has results in 3 months, but should only be done prior to trying to conceive.
- Reduces excess estrogens
- Promotes hormonal balance
- Reduces cyst size and growth
- Least invasive
- Very effective
- No side effects
How to Help Ovarian Cysts Naturally…
Step One: Reduce Estrogen
Excess estrogen in one of the main culprits to causing hormonal imbalance which then causes disordered ovulation. One of the best ways to rid the body of excess estrogens is to stop exposing yourself to xenohormones and taking a supplement called DIM.
Avoid exposure to estrogens and xenoestrogens
- Stop eating soy foods
- Eat only organic meats and dairy
- Do not microwave foods in plastic
- Stop drinking water from plastic bottles
- Avoid mineral oil and perabens in skin care products
- Use natural detergents.
DIM: DIM helps to clear the body of these excess estrogens, aiding in hormonal balance and reducing the promotion of cyst growth. DIM should be taken daily for at least three months along with lifestyle changes which include avoiding xenoestrogens found in products, foods and the environment.
Step Two: Increase progesterone and balance hormones
Natural Progesterone: When there is excess estrogen in the body, there is usually also progesterone deficiency. Balancing your estrogen and progesterone levels by using natural progesterone will help reduce the ovarian cysts and reduce the chances of them occurring in the future. Use of natural progesterone cream helps to increase progesterone levels.
Dr. John Lee recommends natural progesterone as one of the best treatments for ovarian cysts. One of the ways to use natural progesterone is to “trick” the body into thinking it is pregnant. By taking natural progesterone from days 10-26 of the cycle the body thinks it is pregnant and stops ovulating. If no ovulation occurs, no follicle occurs and no ovarian cysts can be created.
This is a short term treatment and is best done in conjunction with the other supportive supplements to help prevent them from coming back and to help the body remove the cysts so you can begin trying to conceive. Remember, while you are following this treatment you will not be ovulating, so you will not be able to get pregnant while you are following Dr. Lee’s protocol. If you would like to learn more about how Dr. John Lee treats ovarian cysts with natural progesterone cream, please consider purchasing his book on natural progesterone at his website.
Supportive Herbs for Ovarian Cysts
Now that the symptom is covered let’s look at balancing the body so we can help prevent future cysts. Consider an herbal program for preventing ovarian cysts from forming in the first place.
We like to use herbs to help nourish the endocrine system, promote hormonal balance, regular ovulation, and promote proper circulation to the reproductive organs. Also consider herbs that are detoxifying to the liver for improved hormonal balance. Ovarian cysts are a considered a state of stagnation in the body, both in the liver and circulation to the reproductive organs. The herbs below have been found supportive for supporting proper menstrual cycles, reduction in ovarian pain, increased circulation to the reproductive organs and supportive of liver function.
- Maca root (Lepidium meyenii): Maca is a great fertility herb that helps the body produce progesterone and balance hormones without containing any hormones itself. I also believe that maca helps natural progesterone to work better by nourishing the endocrine system. Maca should be taken daily, 2,000-3,000mg.
Black Cohosh root (Actaea racemosa): Promotes regulation of the entire menstrual cycle. Black cohosh is excellent for relieving ovarian pain.
Dong Quai root (Angelica sinensis): Aids in hormonal balance. Dong Quai is specific for congestive fertility states. Supports healthy circulation to the reproductive organs. Reduction in pain associated with reproductive organs.
Milk Thistle seed (Silybum marianum): Supports hormonal balance. Milk thistle is one of the best plants for liver health. Liver health is vital for hormonal balance. The liver helps to filter toxins from the body, including excess hormones.
Tribulus, aerial parts and fruit (Tribulus terrestris): Tribulus has been found to normalize ovulation when used prior to ovulation. One study performed on 36 women who were not ovulating, showed that that 67% realized normal ovulation after only 2-3 months of consistent use. Tribulus has also been found to be a nourishing tonic for the female reproductive system as a whole, especially concerning the ovaries.
Vitex, Chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus): Vitex aids in regulating hormonal balance, promotes ovulation, improves timing of the menstrual cycle.
Wild Yam root (Dioscorea villosa): Wild Yam promotes a healthy menstrual cycle, reduces ovarian pain.
Yarrow aerial parts (Achillea millefolium): Yarrow relieves pelvic congestion, improves the entire menstrual cycle timing.
Step Three: Dissolve and Reduce Cysts
There are two natural therapies that have been used time and time again to help the body break down the cysts, reduce their size and may help them to disappear all together.
Systemic Enzyme Therapy: Systemic enzymes contain a special enzyme that breakdown tissues in the body that are not supposed to be there. It also eats away at the cysts reducing their size or eliminating them over time. With ovarian cysts it is important to also make sure you are reducing the estrogen coming in your body and actively getting rid of excess estrogens; this can be done with the estrogen metabolizer DIM and progesterone.
Castor Oil Pack: Castor Oil Packs are an ancient therapy that helps to cleanse and heal the body where they are placed. The castor oil has a drawing power the clears the body of excess tissues and toxins. Castor oil packs stimulate the lymphatic and circulatory system. The lymphatic system removes toxins and waste from the area stimulated by the castor oil pack. The promotion of circulation by the castor oil pack will also bring in fresh oxygenated, nutrient rich blood to the reproductive organs, including the ovaries. This is vital to reducing and dissolving ovarian cysts. Do not use during menstruation.
We have learned the main cause of functional cysts is hormonal imbalance, which disrupts the natural menstrual cycle and may lead to the formation of ovarian cysts. It is vital to bring the body back to a state of balance to prevent the formation of ovarian cysts.
1. Reduce excess estrogen in the body by avoiding exposure to xenoestrogens and naturally promoting healthy estrogen metabolism through the use of DIM.
2. Increase progesterone levels and support hormonal balance overall. Consider the benefits of natural progesterone supplementation and herbs for hormonal balance and reduction in cyst formation.
3. Dissolve and reduce ovarian cysts through Systemic Enzyme Therapy and Castor Oil Packs.
Ovarian Cyst Natural Therapies Check list
1. DIM – 1 capsule 2 times a day with food
2. Maca – 2 capsules a day
3. Systemic Enzyme Therapy – 3 tablets 2 times a day between meals
Day 10 -26 of your menstrual cycle:
Apply 40mg Progesterone cream a day: 20mg twice a day, one 20mg application in the morning and one 20mg application at night, for a total of 40mg of natural progesterone a day. This method of progesterone therapy may be best done for three months and then discontinued after that. This type of application is meant to suppress ovulation, so do not use progesterone in this way when you are trying to become pregnant.
6 times a month for 3 months:
Castor oil pack- Use the castor oil pack 30 minutes a day for at least 6 days of the month any time after menstruation. Apply for a total of 3 months.
Note: It is best to take 3 months to work to get rid of ovarian cysts prior to trying to conceive. Should you actively try to conceive while using Castor Oil Packs, apply them prior to ovulation only.