All ovarian cysts are not malignant. Most of the time, they are benign, but can cause excruciating abdominal pain. While providing information on the types of cysts, this HerHaleness article also explains how traditional herbal medicines can help you get rid of the symptoms. Read on to know why "natural cures" are a better option for this condition.
Did You Know?
According to the Medical Disability Advisor, ovarian cysts occur in 30% of females with regular menses, 50% of females with irregular menses, and 6% of postmenopausal females. Polycystic ovary syndrome occurs in 10% of women.
Ovarian cysts, or fluid-filled sacs, can be found within or on the surface of the ovaries, and most of the time, they are harmless. They are commonly observed during the childbearing years. Functional cysts are formed when the sacs (follicles) don’t open and release the egg, or when the sac which holds the egg does not dissolve (normally, it should). Such cysts formed during ovulation go away on their own after a few weeks or months. They are harmless and do not cause pain.
Why Women Opt for Herbal Remedies
The formation and rupture of some cysts can result in severe abdominal pain. Generally, doctors ask you to wait and watch if the symptoms are not so serious. Depending on the severity of the situation, the doctor may advise surgical removal of the cyst. In some cases, birth control pills are prescribed to stop ovulation which eventually stop the formation of new cysts. But they can’t get rid of the already existing cysts, and they do not even promote shrinking of those cysts. Moreover, the health of the woman can get affected in several ways as a result of the side effects of such pills. So most women opt for herbal remedies that have less or no side effects and are effective too.
Cysts Which May Produce Serious Symtoms
✦ Severe abdominal and pelvic pain
✦ Pain in lower back and thighs
✦ Abnormal bleeding
✦ Irregular periods
✦ Pain during sex
✦ Weight gain
✦ Abdominal and pelvic pain during periods
✦ Breast tenderness
✦ Swelling in the abdomen
✦ Heaviness in the abdomen
✦ Nausea, vomiting
✦ Dysfunction of the urinary system
✦ Fertility problems
✦ Pain during bowel movements
It has been observed that an imbalance between the hormones estrogen and progesterone (excess estrogen is produced) leads to a malfunction in the follicle cells, which eventually results in the formation of a cyst. Sometimes, hypothyroidism or other endocrine problems are the contributing factors for ovarian cysts. So, detecting and treating the underlying condition is very important. The remedies and the dose may vary according to the size of the cyst and symptoms.
✦ Increase Iodine Intake Incorporating iodine rich foods in the diet (iodized table salt, sea vegetables, scallops, cod, shrimp, sardines, tuna, egg, cow milk, yogurt, etc.) can help improve the function of the thyroid gland. This can reduce the chances of cyst formation.
✦ Consume More Vegetables Study reports published by the Institute of Research Pharmacology in Italy indicate that women who regularly had high fat foods like red meat and cheese in their diet were more likely to develop ovarian cysts than those who incorporated large amounts of green vegetables and fruits in their diet and refrained from fatty foods. So, women should increase the intake of vegetables. Those who can’t stick to a vegetarian diet may include lean meat in their diet. This may help prevent formation of new cysts.
✦ Eat Potassium-rich Foods If potassium deficiency is one of the causes of cyst formation, then consuming more potassium-rich foods would be helpful. Apple cider vinegar which is rich in potassium, along with several other herbs and vegetables like yellow dock, plantain, cilantro, fresh dill weed and thyme, ground turmeric, burdock root, coriander, chaparral, cayenne, and mullein, is therefore used to treat the condition.
✦ Apple Cider Vinegar Drink Take 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses, and add 8 oz. warm water to the mixture. Daily consumption of two glasses of this mixture is believed to help shrink the cyst. Other symptoms like heaviness in the stomach may also be reduced with this.
✦ Eat Fiber-rich Food Passing urine and stools regularly without holding on can help avoid excess pressure on the abdomen. Incorporating fiber-rich food in your diet can help avoid constipation which otherwise can lead to extra pressure and pain in abdomen.
✦ Avoid Exposure to Estrogen Avoiding soy products is essential if dominance of estrogen is the main reason behind cyst formation. Certain studies have shown that the use of plastic containers to heat food in microwaves, or to preserve it in refrigerators, or to store/carry the food/water, may lead to increased estrogen in your body. Although more research is essential to prove this, it is advisable to use glass containers. Similarly, consuming organic meats and dairy produce, using natural detergents, avoiding mineral oils, and not using cosmetics that contain parabens can help avoid exposure to estrogen and xenoestrogens.
✦ Take Herbal Supplements Various supplements like Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-casta), DIM (helps get rid of excess estrogen), bee pollen, dandelion, red clover, milk thistle seeds, tribulus (Tribulus terrestris), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), etc., help normalize ovulation and reduce the size of the cyst. They also help maintain hormone balance. Some of them help get rid of toxins in the body, which also, in a way, helps alleviate the symptoms.
✦ Follow a Healthy Diet A balanced diet that can provide all the essential vitamins, minerals, and important elements like antioxidants can help alleviate the symptoms. A healthy and balanced diet and sufficient rest help maintain hormone balance.
✦ Exercise Regularly Like healthy diet, regular exercise ensures proper functioning of glands and other organs. This results in hormonal balance. Exercise promotes relaxation of muscles and improves blood circulation.
✦ Relaxation Techniques A warm bath or a heating pad placed on the lower abdomen can improve blood circulation. This promotes relaxation of tense muscles and relieves cramping too.
✦ Use Natural Pain Relievers Various herbal teas act as pain relievers, muscle relaxers, and mood enhancers. For example, basil, lemon grass, mint, raspberry, blackberry, and chamomile teas.
✦ Use Natural Hormone Stabilizers Roots of maca (Lepidium meyenii), dong quai (Angelica sinensis), black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), and wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) promote a proper menstrual cycle and reduce pain. Maca helps enhance the production of progesterone, and thus, helps maintain the hormone balance.
✦ Ayurvedic Medicines Applying castor oil around the navel helps relieve the pain. Liquorice and Kachnaar Guggul not only regulate the hormone production, but they also promote natural dissolution of ovarian cysts. Asparagus enhances the function of the reproductive system. Bark of Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa) promotes shrinking of cysts. Regular consumption of aloe vera juice is also recommended as it works great for ovarian cysts.
✦ Maintain Normal Weight More fat in the body implies excessive production of estrogen. So losing weight and maintaining it within the normal range can help lower the possibility of developing cysts.
Natural remedies won’t cure the cysts overnight. But when combined with dietary alterations and lifestyle changes, herbal remedies can help reduce the size of the cyst and severity of symptoms over a period of 2-3 months.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be substituted for the advice of a medical professional.