How To Naturally Dissolve And Shrink Ovarian Cysts

How-To-Naturally-Dissolve-And-Shrink-Ovarian-Cysts

I frequently see patients in my telehealth clinic struggling with pain and other symptoms of ovarian cysts. These cysts may be caused by underlying health conditions, most often polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.

Over time, some cysts can lead to significant negative health impacts, from pain to infertility and even an increased risk of some cancers. Fortunately, there are several evidence-based home remedies that can dissolve ovarian cysts without the need for medication or surgery.

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What Are Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs or pockets inside or on the surface of an ovary. (1) Women have two ovaries, and cysts can appear on one or both at a time. Cysts may be simple (which typically resolve on their own) or complex (generally requiring medical treatment, including over-the-counter remedies).

Symptoms

Most people with ovarian cysts don’t experience any symptoms. For some people, cysts cause symptoms that may become chronic if not addressed, like:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sudden pain (only if the cyst bursts)

With complex cysts, especially in the case of health problems like PCOS and endometriosis,  these minor symptoms can also be coupled with more chronic symptoms such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Changes to bowel movements or urination
  • Fatigue
  • Painful, heavy periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Anovulation (failure to ovulate regularly), leading to infertility and other problems with reproductive health
  • Frequent urination
  • Digestive distress
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Increased ovarian cancer risk (complex cysts only) (2)

If you experience severe pain in your lower abdomen (near your ovaries), talk to a doctor right away. You may need immediate medical treatment if you have a cyst rupture or experience ovarian torsion (in which the ovary becomes twisted due to the presence of a very large cyst).

Related: Does Saw Palmetto PCOS Support Really Work?

Causes

Ovarian cysts are ultimately caused by a hormonal imbalance between estrogen and progesterone that can interfere with the proper development of tissue. Depending on the person, what triggers this imbalance may be different.

People with ovarian cysts are more likely to be estrogen-dominant, causing your body to hold onto too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. Certain health problems involving hormones like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis can contribute to the development of both simple and complex cysts.

Diagnosis

Ovarian cysts are identified by an intravaginal ultrasound.

Functional medicine providers may perform additional tests to identify the root causes of ovarian cysts. These labs may include:

  • Hormone testing like serum hCG, thyroid hormone panel, and sex hormone tests
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening
  • Blood glucose, insulin, and HbA1c panels
  • CA-125 protein testing (especially for postmenopausal women with cysts or premenopausal women with very large cysts)

Read Next: The Top 6 Ways To Support Fertility + The Functional Medicine Labs You Need To Know About

How To Dissolve An Ovarian Cyst Naturally

In functional medicine, we try to utilize treatments with the greatest results and the fewest side effects. While birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives can resolve simple cysts, we try to recommend other methods due to the side effects of taking birth control in the long term.

Thankfully, several natural remedies are clinically proven to shrink or dissolve ovarian cysts without surgery or medications.

1. Dietary Changes

Diet should be the first natural remedy you consider to relieve inflammatory or hormonal health problems, including ovarian cysts. A diet high in sugar and unhealthy fats is strongly associated with the development of ovarian cysts and related female hormone issues. (3)

Every person is different, and no specific diet will dissolve ovarian cysts in every single patient. However, a few diets have shown promise in resolving cysts and reducing FSH production for patients with PCOS, including the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, and the ketogenic diet. (4)

In general, the best way to eat to prevent and reduce the occurrence and size of cysts includes:

  • Significantly reducing your sugar intake, particularly processed white sugars and corn syrup
  • Eating nutrient-dense, minimally-processed foods (in other words, eating more whole foods than you do those that come prepackaged)
  • Prioritize healthy fats rich in omega-3s
  • Buy organic proteins (especially red meat) if possible
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits
  • Get a lot of fiber every day
  • Stay hydrated (you should drink about half your body weight in ounces each day)

2. Exercise

You may be able to prevent some new ovarian cysts from forming with regular exercise. (5) Be sure to prioritize low-to-moderate-intensity exercise rather than high-intensity activity for the best results.

Bonus: More physical activity is fantastic for your overall health!

3. Weight Loss

While PCOS does make it difficult to lose weight, weight loss can also relieve many of its symptoms, including the formation and growth of cysts. (6)

There are many ways to lose weight with PCOS, like diet, exercise, and/or supplements like cinnamon and inositol. (7, 8, 5) Even a reduction of 5-10% of your total body weight may dissolve or shrink some ovarian cysts and resolve many other symptoms like problems ovulating. (9)

Read Next: The Best PCOS Supplements

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

According to some small studies in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, apple cider vinegar (ACV) supplementation over 3+ months might restore ovulation. (10) This is supported by case studies. (11)

While there have been no large-scale studies done to track ACV’s impact on ovarian cyst size, in particular, one likely reason for restored ovulation is cyst reduction.

5. Flaxseed/Seed Cycling

Supplementing with flaxseed can both reduce the size of ovarian cysts and prevent new cysts from forming. (12, 13) This seems primarily caused by flaxseed’s ability to reduce the production of androgens, the levels of which are elevated in patients with PCOS. (14)

Flaxseed is commonly used in seed cycling, a natural remedy for PCOS that involves consuming different types of seeds at specific times in your menstrual cycle. Seed cycling with flaxseed, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds also seems to reduce the occurrence of ovarian cysts. (15)

6. Korean Red Ginseng

In multiple animal studies, supplementing with Korean red ginseng has been shown to shrink or dissolve ovarian cysts. (16) When combined with birth control, it was able to reduce testosterone and NF-kB levels (used to test for inflammation). (17)

Read Next: Expert Tips For Natural Hormone Balance

7. Triphala Guggulu

Triphala Guggulu is an Ayurvedic remedy used to treat a wide variety of health conditions. In a study of 15 female patients with ovarian cysts, treatment with Triphala Guggulu reduced cyst size in 9 patients and dissolved them altogether in 4 participants. (18)

8. Curcumin

Curcumin, the active ingredient in the turmeric spice, is well-known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Multiple animal studies show that curcumin dissolves ovarian cysts caused by PCOS and prevents some new ones from forming. In general, curcumin has shown incredible success in resolving many issues with ovarian health, including PCOS, endometriosis, and ovarian failure. (19)

The Curcumin

Curcumin from turmeric isn’t easily absorbed by the body unless accompanied by black pepper. That’s why The Curcumin I developed contains black pepper for ultimate bioavailability.

9. Ginger

The effects of ginger haven’t been directly studied in relation to its impact on ovarian cyst size or reduction. However, one human trial found that supplementing with 1500 mg/day of ginger decreased the production of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). (20) As FSH is the hormone that triggers the creation of new cysts, it’s possible that ginger may help prevent cysts from forming.

Because ginger is so benign, it’s an easy thing to add to your routine without the risk of side effects. Ginger tea contains about 250 milligrams of the active ingredient per serving — try a few mugs of this throughout your day as part of your cyst-reduction plan.

10. Sanjie Zhentong

A human trial of a Chinese blend of herbs known as Sanjie Zhentong found that 82% of participants saw complete disappearance of ovarian cysts after one month of treatment. In the same study, more than double the amount of women taking the herbs became pregnant compared to the control group. (21)

Sanjie Zhentong’s antioxidant properties also make it a common treatment option in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for endometriosis, another source of ovarian cysts. (22)

11. Inositol

Both D-chiro-inositol and Myo-inositol are compounds that effectively treat symptoms of PCOS, including cyst formation. They may reduce the occurrence of new cysts, decrease insulin resistance, and improve the overall reproductive health of people with polycystic ovarian syndrome. (23)

Related: Dr. Will Cole’s Favorite Female Hormone Balance Supplements

12. Chasteberry

Chasteberry, or Vitex Agnus-castus, is a Mediterranean plant known for its hormone-balancing properties. In an animal study, chasteberry supplementation led to a reduction in the number of ovarian cysts and the size of the remaining cysts. (24)

13. Acupuncture

Regular acupuncture can help reduce the size and frequency of ovarian cysts, including ones caused by endometriosis and by PCOS. (25, 26, 27)

In general, acupuncture is a very low-risk method for improving many of the symptoms caused by female hormone disorders caused by cysts. It increases blood flow to the ovaries, improves insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation, supports weight loss, and reduces high cortisol. (26, 27)

Managing Pain Caused by Ovarian Cysts

Several over-the-counter and at-home treatments can help reduce pain caused when a cyst ruptures or gets large (a cyst over 4 cm is generally considered dangerously large):

  • Heating pad
  • Massage (especially in the lower back, lower abdomen, and thighs)
  • TENS therapy (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • Mindfulness meditation (28)
  • Painkillers including ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin (taken in strict moderation)

Read Next: The Science-Backed Health Benefits Of Meditation

FAQs

There are 2 types of ovarian cysts: simple and complex.

Also known as functional ovarian cysts, simple cysts are the most common form of ovarian cysts. There are 2 types of functional cysts:

  • Follicle cysts (follicular cysts): These occur when the follicle of your ovary doesn’t open to release an egg and stays closed instead, causing it to fill with liquid.
  • Corpus luteum cysts: These form when your follicle doesn’t seal off after releasing an egg.

Unlike simple cysts, complex cysts are not associated with your menstrual cycle and are more rare. They are usually benign and not cancerous, but they can come with some uncomfortable symptoms. There are 3 possible types of complex cysts:

  • Cystadenomas: This type of cyst contains fluid or mucus alongside ovarian tissue.
  • Dermoid cysts: These cysts are formed from cells you had while growing inside your mother’s womb that make up dermal tissue. These cysts can contain skin, hair, teeth, or fat.
  • Endometriomas: Often associated with endometriosis, these types of cysts happen when the cells from your uterine lining grow outside of your uterus and onto your ovaries.

Simple cysts typically cause no symptoms and can heal themselves after a few menstrual cycles. Most complex cysts do not go away without treatment, whether that means pharmaceuticals, surgery, or home remedies.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with complex cysts, your doctor can determine whether more complex treatments or surgical intervention is needed. Only a small percentage of women require surgery to remove ovarian cysts.

In conventional medicine, most people are treated with hormonal birth control to limit the development of cysts and reduce the associated symptoms.

For my patients, I find that anywhere between 12-24 months is needed to see long-term, sustainable changes to ovarian cyst symptoms when using diet and lifestyle changes as treatment. Some people experience relief within as few as 3 months.

But since everyone’s biochemistry and health case is different, it’s difficult to put a definitive timeline on how long it will take to shrink an ovarian cyst. Your healthcare provider can create a care plan for you with appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes. Ideally, you would get regular hormone labs to track your progress.ur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

If you have ovarian cysts and are ready to start healing from the inside out, book a consultation to learn more about finding symptom relief and shrinking ovarian cysts naturally.

As one of the first functional medicine telehealth clinics in the world, we provide webcam health consultations for people around the globe.

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BY DR. WILL COLE

Evidence-based reviewed article

Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel.

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Gut Feelings

Healing The Shame-Fueled Relationship
Between What You Eat And How You Feel