What are ovarian cysts?
Ovarian cysts are fluid filled sacs that can be found in one or both ovaries and are a common by-product of ovulation.
What causes ovarian cysts?
- Hormone imbalance
Are there different types of cysts?
Yes. The most common cysts are called functional cysts. These are benign and are one of two types:
- Follicular cysts – as an egg is developing it is encased in a follicle. Normally around mid-cycle the follicle opens and releases the fully developed egg.
- Corpus Luteum cysts – after releasing the egg, the residual egg follicle becomes a progesterone secreting structure called the corpus luteum. This is normal. Sometimes the corpus luteum closes up into a sac and becomes a cyst. These usually resolve on their own, but they can bleed, twist the ovary or cause pain.
Other types of cysts include:
- Endometriomas – these are endometriosis cysts on the ovaries and are the rare occasion when endometriosis can be seen on ultrasound.
- Hemorrhagic cysts – these are cysts that bleed into the cyst and sometimes are in fact endometriomas.
- Dermoid cysts – these are cysts that can be present at birth and contain solid structures like teeth, hair or skin.
Do cysts need to be surgically removed?
Not usually. Most cysts will go away on their own. Having an ovarian cyst is rarely an emergency. Cysts that may require surgery include:
- Hemorrhagic cysts that are causing significant blood loss and anemia.
- Cysts causing significant pain that cannot be controlled with over the counter medication.
Does having an ovarian cyst mean I have PCOS?
Not necessarily, but if you have other symptoms of PCOS (irregular periods, excessive facial hair, acne, head hair loss, infertility, acanthosis nigricans) and an ovarian cyst, that possibility should be thoroughly investigated and ruled out.
Does an ovarian cyst mean I have or will get ovarian cancer?
No, most cysts do not become cancerous. Women above menopause age who have cysts are at greater risk of ovarian cancer.
Does having cysts mean I am infertile?
Not necessarily, although the conditions that caused a cyst to form may also contribute to infertility. Two conditions that contribute to cyst formation are associated with fertility problems: endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
What is the naturopathic treatment for ovarian cysts?
As with anything with naturopathic medicine we address the root cause of the condition. There are a variety of natural treatments to restore healthy hormone balance, and to treat endometriosis and PCOS.