Ovarian Cysts- Prevention & Healing
Cysts develop on one or both of the ovaries as sac-like pouches that can either be solid or filled with fluid from the female reproductive system. They can become the most painful type of growth and can also be diagnosed as malignant, but most are benign. Small cysts cause dull or slightly aching pain, but larger cysts can twist the tissues to result in severe shooting or stabbing pains. Unlike fibroids and polyps, cysts do not cause menstrual bleeding. The greatest danger with cysts, aside from cancer, comes when they burst and release their contents into other body cavities, which can causes blood-poisoning or other illnesses. Cysts can be diagnosed through blood tests, vaginal ultrasounds, or laparoscopies. If the ovarian cysts are small, surgery can remove them; however, larger cysts threaten your health and may require the removal of the entire ovary. If harmful cysts are left untreated, it’s also possible that the cancerous cells will spread throughout the body.
In most cases, these cysts will go away in a few months without treatment and without causing symptoms. Because most ovarian cysts form during ovulation, they’re far less common in women who have gone through menopause. Complications arise when cysts become abnormally large. Some women also produce many small cysts on their ovaries due to a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is a common cause of infertility in women.
The majority of ovarian cysts will not cause symptoms. When they do, the symptoms include bloating, abdominal pressure, pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, frequent and/or difficult urination, and sudden, sharp pain due to a ruptured cyst. Women experiencing sudden and severe pain should seek immediate medical help, particularly if the pain is accompanied by vomiting or fever.
Types of Cysts
Follicular cysts. These occur when the follicle fails to rupture and release the egg at ovulation - instead, it continues to grow, forming a cyst.
Corpus luteum cysts. After ovulation, once the egg is released, the follicle changes to what is called the corpus luteum. The development of a corpus luteum cyst happens when the opening in the follicle where the egg was released seals off and then causes the corpus luteum to accumulate fluid and grow into a cyst.
Cystadenomas. This type of cyst develops from ovarian tissue and is filled with liquid or mucous.
Endometriomas. These form when displaced endometrial cells attach to the ovary and form a growth (endometriosis). This type of ovarian cyst is commonly called a chocolate cyst.
How to Prevent Cysts
Reduce estrogen levels in the body. Excess estrogen is one of the most common types of hormonal imbalance which can cause the disruption of ovulation. One of the best ways to rid the body of excess estrogens is to avoid exposure to xenohormones and to start taking a supplement called DIM. To 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 parabens in skin care products, and use natural detergents and deodorant.
Common Reasons for Hormone Imbalance
Consuming foods that have hormones added to them eg: dairy products, meat products, eggs.
Taking Birth control pills that have high levels of estrogen or being on the pill for a long time
Exposure to Environmental toxins that mimic the actions of estrogen (xenoestrogens). The largest source of xenoestrogens is from pesticides.
Exposure to radiation, which increases estrogen levels in the blood
Chronic constipation, which interferes with the body’s ability to eliminate estrogen properly; estrogen then builds up in the colon and can be reabsorbed by the body.
An under active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
Frequent anovulatory cycles (menstruation without ovulation)
How to Heal Cysts
Be patient. Since ovarian cysts often resolve on their own without treatment, a period of watchful waiting may be recommended if a cyst is identified during a routine examination. Periodic pelvic ultrasounds may be used to monitor the growth and development of the cyst. Oral contraceptives (i.e. the birth control pill) are typically prescribed to prevent the formation of ovarian cysts during ovulation, however, they come with many negative side effects.
If surgical intervention is necessary, ovarian cysts can often be removed while keeping the ovaries and other pelvic organs intact. This is called a cystectomy. In more severe cases, an oophorectomy (removal of one or both ovaries) may be necessary. Surgery is a last resort option.
Supplement with DIM. As mentioned above, DIM can help to clear the body of excess estrogen, aiding in hormonal balance and reducing the promotion of ovarian 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.
D-chiro-inositol. Treatment of insulin resistant conditions. Reduces appetite and improves serotonin. Chirostol mediates insulin activity. Structurally similar to glucose and helps control glucose levels and will not cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. A supplement like Glucosmart with Chirositol (1-2 caps/day) will be helpful in controlling your glucose levels.
Try maca root. Maca is a great fertility herb that helps the body to produce progesterone and to balance hormones without containing any hormones itself. Maca helps natural progesterone to work better by nourishing the endocrine system.
Incorporate black cohosh root. This herb promotes regulation of the entire menstrual cycle. Black cohosh is one of the best herbs for relieving ovarian pain.
Include milk thistle seed as a supplement. This herb supports hormonal balance through liver support. Milk thistle helps the liver to cleanse and regenerate itself. As we all know, the liver helps to filter toxins from the body, including excess hormones.
Try tribulus, aerial parts, and fruit. Tribulus has been found to normalize ovulation when used prior to ovulation. It is also a nourishing tonic for the female reproductive system as a whole, especially for the ovaries.
Eat plenty of turmeric. This anti-inflammatory herb also fights infections, viruses, and fungi. Turmeric is notably useful for cysts that are causing some type of pain.
Try vitex (aka chastetree berry). This herb aids in regulating hormonal balance promotes ovulation and improves the timing of the entire menstrual cycle. Chasteberry may also be useful in reducing the incidence of acne cysts.
NOTE: Do not consume chasteberry if you’re pregnant.
Try wild yam root. This promotes a healthy menstrual cycle and hormonal balance. Wild yam is also an excellent remedy for reducing ovarian pain.
Try yarrow aerial parts. Yarrow relieves pelvic congestion through improved circulation to the reproductive organs.
Include echinacea. A traditional Native American herb, echinacea may help to alleviate some types of cysts. For maximum benefits, take echinacea for 20 days interrupted by a 3-day break in the middle. This can increase white blood cell count and effectiveness by breaking down the abnormal cells that make up ovarian cysts. Echinacea can also help to treat acne cysts.
Explore systemic enzyme therapy. The body contains a variety of enzymes which are catalysts for the chemical reactions necessary to the innumerable actions that maintain the functioning of the body. A subclass of enzymes known as systemic enzymes work to help the body break down excess foreign tissues and reduce inflammation. Supplementation with a high-quality systemic enzyme blend can help to reduce the size of cysts or to eliminate them completely over a period of time.
Try castor oil packs. These are an ancient therapy that helps to cleanse and heal the area of the body where they are placed. As mentioned above, the castor oil has a drawing power that helps the body to clear itself of excess toxins. Castor oil packs stimulate the lymphatic and circulatory systems. The lymphatic system removes toxins and waste from the area where the pack is applied. A castor oil pack also increases circulation which helps to bring in fresh, oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to the reproductive organs, including the ovaries. This is a vital step to helping the body reduce and dissolve ovarian cysts.
NOTE: Do not apply during menstruation.
Borage Oil. Has higher amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, assists in reducing testosterone level in women, especially PCOS. Treats ovarian cysts especially when developed from increased testosterone levels.
Use tea tree and frankincense essential oils. Both are useful for the treatment of ovarian cysts. They can be used alone or together. Tea tree and frankincense are sometimes used “neat” (without diluting) on the body. However, for delicate skin areas or sensitive people, it’s wise to dilute them. Castor oil is a perfect carrier oil for essential oils used to treat cysts, since castor oil alone can also often heal cysts. To dilute the essential oils, add 5 drops of essential oil to one teaspoon of a carrier oil, such as castor oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil.
Try Lugol’s iodine. This can be used internally to treat cysts. When iodine deficiency is the cause of cysts in the first place, this remedy is especially useful. Lugol’s iodine does taste strongly of iodine, but one drop is easily disguised in a cup of coffee or glass of juice. It can also be taken by putting a drop in a glass of water with ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Although iodine deficiency is quite common, supplementation, when not needed, can be dangerous, so make sure to have your levels checked first or to consult your holistic practitioner prior to consumption.
Consume a whole foods diet. A nutritious diet promotes balance in the body and provides the needed nutrients for maximum functioning. A clean, whole foods diet doesn’t have to be cumbersome and time-consuming. Small changes to improve your diet include eating a variety of whole foods, keeping sugars and processed foods to a minimum, consuming more water and less coffee, soda, and energy drinks, and eating some raw fruits and vegetables each day.
Exercise. Regular physical exercise benefits the body in so many ways. It moves fluids around in the body, including blood and lymph. This helps to remove waste products from the body. Taking a 20-minute walk several times a week is a good place to begin. A mini-trampoline or rebounder can be used inside year round, and it will allow significant movement of the blood and lymph.