Fertility, Women's Health

Ovarian Cysts: a Traditional Medicine Approach

By Barbara Poczyniak, R.Ac

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An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac within the ovary or on its surface. Cysts on the ovaries can be a fairly common occurrence, they are often harmless and will dissolve on their own. Others may cause discomfort or pain if they rupture and bleed.

If your doctor has recently advised that you have cysts its a good idea to ask the type, the size and on which ovary. Surgery is usually not considered necessary if the cyst is within a certain size range but it also depends on if it is filled with fluid, solid or a mix of both.  Many physicians prefer to monitor the size of cyts before moving on to surgery.

What are the types of Ovarian Cysts?

There are a number of cyst types – most common are the ones that are related to ovulation: they are either follicular or corpus luteum cysts. The following descriptions are from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Follicular cyst: a simple cyst that can form when ovulation does not occur or when a mature follicle collapses on itself. This type forms at time of ovulation and can grow to about 2.3″ in diamater.  When it ruptures it can cause sharp pain on the side of the ovary on which it appears. 
  • Corpus luteam cyst: a type of functional cyst occurs after an egg has been released from a follicle. If a pregnancy does not occur, this usually breaks down and disappears. It may however fill with blood or fluid and persist on the ovary.  Usually found only on one side and without symptoms.
  • Hemorrhagic cyst: a type of functional cyst occurs when bleeding occurs within a cyst.
  • Dermoid cyst: a type of benign tumor sometimes referred to as a mature cystic teratoma. It is an abnormal cyst that affects younger women and may grow to 6″ in diameter. This type may contain other types of tissue such as fat and occasionally bone, hair and cartilage.
  • Endometriomas or endometrioid cysts: part of the condition known as endometriosis, this type of cyst forms when endometrial tissue (the lining tissue of the uterus) is present on the ovaries.  It affects women during the reproductive years and may cause chronic pelvic pain associated with menstruation.
  • Polycystic-appearing ovary: is diagnosed based on its enlarged size – usually twice that of normal – with small cysts present around the outside of the ovary.

Chinese Medicine and Ovarian Cysts

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, ovarian cysts (actually any cysts in the body) are seen as a type of pathogenic accumulation. The cyst forms when Qi – a.ka. the body’s vital energy circulation – is sluggish or irregular, or is impeded by other congestion. This lack of proper circulation flow causes stagnant blood and/or other sluggish moving matter (often referred to as phlegm) to accumulate into the form of cysts.

Helping the body to naturally move this congestion out is a key aspect of treating cysts with acupuncture.  What we usually look at first is the source or root of the issue in order to get lasting results. Acupuncture can help increase circulation, as well as stop pain and it also has an effect on the body’s neuro-endocrine communication.

Arvigo® Therapy and Ovarian Cysts

Congestion in the abdominal area is also addressed through the abdominal massage techniques of Arivgo® Therapy. In this approach part of the focus is on encouraging the uterus to be as centred as possible – the idea being that a displaced uterus disrupts hemodynamics and homeostasis of the abdomen. The better the natural flow of fresh blood, lymph and energy, the more likely the body can help itself clear the cyst. As part of this treatment the client is taught how to do a simple self care massage at home as well.

An Integrative Approach and Ovarian Cysts

Natural therapy treatments such as Acupuncture and Arvigo® Therapy focus on restoring the healthy flow of blood, lymph and energy in the pelvic area and throughout the body in general.

Other considerations may include:

  • Castor Oil Packs
  • Dietary changes
  • Hormonal testing
  • Herbal medicine

Barbara Poczyniak, R.Ac

Hi, I'm Barbara

I'm a Registered Acupuncturist and founder of Vital Bloom Wellness clinic.  My focus is on 100% natural solutions for reproductive, digestive and emotional health.

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