What they are, Why they occur, and What to do about them

Ovarian Cysts and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are more today than before. Recent research and data collection concludes that over 3 million women will develop or have had symptoms related to ovarian cysts or polycystic ovarian syndrome.

I share this statistic not to scare you, but to bring in an awareness to how common these diagnoses are. 

Theses diagnoses are common due to several reasons that I will cover in this post. After reading this post, you will also gain a different perspective about ovarian cysts as I’ll be providing information based on a Classical Chinese Medicine physiology and practices. 

This topic is one that I favor and work with women on often. Beyond the number of women being diagnosed with ovarian cysts, I’ve had my own traumatic experience with a ruptured ovarain cyst. Due to that experience, I’ve learned the best practices for how to honor my body in a way that reduces my risk to ovarian cystic growth and ruptured ovarian cysts. It’s important that women know there are natural treatments and solutions to these common symptoms and diagnoses. Click here to hear my personal story about my ruptured ovarian cyst. 

The content in this post is also available in video. Click the play button below to watch

What are ovarian cysts

Western medicine explains an ovarian cyst as a fluid filled sac that is within or on one or both of the ovaries. It is common for women to develop ovarian cysts throughout their lives. Most ovarian cysts cause no symptoms at all or have little symptoms and a result, resolve on their own. Ovarian cyst symptoms can occur throughout the women’s entire cycle or around certain times of the cycle like the follicular or ovulatory phases. The size and severity of the cyst(s) can vary. Often a women’s symptoms can correlate with the size and severity. However, this is not always true. Western medicine uses imaging such as an ultrasound or MRI to determine the size and placement of the cyst. It is rare that ovarian cysts can be felt with exterior pelvic palpation. 

Common ovarian cysts symptoms often occur in the lower pelvic region and can include dull ache, twinging pain infrequent pain and/or stabbing pain. A women may also experience pain in the back or side of the body, excessive hair growth on the face pain with bowel movements, intercourse or with menstruation. 

When women suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), multiple cysts have developed on one or both ovaries. The cysts are often small in size, though can grow larger. This condition may also cause the ovaries to swell. 

In Eastern medicine, ovarian cysts are often diagnosed as phlegm and/or blood stasis or stagnation, depending on the size and severity of the cysts. Often times women also have an underlying excess or deficiency. The excess or deficiency is a contributing factor to why the body is unable to resolve the cyst or why cysts continue to grow. An example of an excess would be, extreme sharp pain in the uterine area and a deficiency fatigue, lack of energy or general lack of interest in life. The prior two diagnoses provide more information on a potential underlying issue that may be contributing to the development and reoccurrence of cysts. 

Eastern medicine or Classical Chinese medicine treats each woman’s case as their own. There is not a one box fits all diagnosis for each ovarian cyst case. The diagnose and treatment depends on the size and severity of the cysts as well as any underlying excess or deficiencies. 

Why ovarian cysts occur

Western medicine attributes the cause of ovarian cysts to hormone irregularity or hormone disruption.  Western medicine also attributes the  cause of ovarian symptoms to hormone irregularity as wellThis irregularity can lead to contributing factors such as irregular menstrual cycles including as irregular bleeding, excessive bleeding or skipped periods. Ovarian cysts may also develop when a women is taking fertility meditations, has had signs of endometriosis, and/or pelvic inflammatory disease. 

Eastern medicine acknowledges that there may be a hormone irregularity causing the symptoms and the development of the ovarian cyst(s). However, hormone irregularity is the branch diagnosis. This means that hormone irregularities are not the root cause of the ovarian cyst and associated symptoms. In order for the hormones to become irregular, there is always a contributing factor to that irregularity.

Those contributing factors include lifestyle choices such as dietary health, emotional well-being including stress, and the type and frequency of exercise. 

When contributing factors are less favorable to the body and mind, Eastern medicine states that the body will create an ovarian cyst as a way to “deal” or store material that must be addressed at a later time. When a women goes an extended period of time without altering those contributing factors an ovarian cyst may develop and/ or may grow larger, or the body may create more (PCOS) as a result.

Yes, hormones play a roll in the health of your menstrual cycle. However, when the root cause is address, the symptoms subside and dissipate and a women’s hormones return to their naturally producing state.

What to do about Ovarian Cysts

Western medicine’s options for women’s health and  ovarian cysts is the use of hormonal contraceptives, such as the birth control pill, and intravaginal (IUD) and surgery. This method does not treat nor reduce current ovarian cyst. This method also does not prevent future cysts from growing. As you read above, hormonal contraceptives are a band-aid. They address the branch symptoms not the root cause. 

Eastern medicine suggest that the patient first take a careful review of their lifestyle choices and make adjustment where necessary. Those lifestyle choice and contributing factors again include,  dietary health, emotional well-being including stress, and the type and frequency of exercise. The use of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary health will also increasing healing time and help the body to address the root cause. As a result the hormones will return too homeostasis. 

Eastern medicine views each case of ovarian cyst as unique to the patient. Women can develop ovarian cysts for a number of reasons. Therefore, there is not one pill, one herbal prescription or one acupuncture treatment protocol that fits all. Please consult with me, schedule here, or your local Classical Chinese Medicine practitioner to begin healing your ovarian cyst or other women’s health issues like irregular menstruation, fertility issues and menopause. 

Here are several questions to get you thinking about your health and lifestyle choices:

Do you consume refined sugar and dairy regularly?

How much of your diet consists of processed, or packaged foods?

How often do you consume organic fruits and vegetables?

Do you eat out often?

Do you live a high stress life?

Do you sleep well and feel rested upon waking?

How often are you participating in moderate exercise?

Do you enjoy life?

Have you experienced emotional or physical upset or trauma that has yet to be addressed?

As always, I hope that you found the information in this video and post useful. Please consult with your Chinese medicine physician before attempting to treat your ovarian cyst. 

Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page. 

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