Imagine finding out that you don’t just have one cyst on an ovary but that both ovaries are affected?
Being told that you have bilateral ovarian cysts is one of the scariest things for a woman to hear and immediately the question start to pour in.
What does it mean? Will it affect your ability to have children? Does this increase your risk of having cancer? What conventional treatments are available and what natural treatments are available?
Let’s go through it step by step.
The ovaries are organs that are a part of a woman’s reproductive system. They are bilateral which means there are two of them with one on each side of the uterus. Now, many women experience a cyst on one ovary, but sometimes cysts can develop on both ovaries simultaneously. Although these cysts may differ, they are still classed as bilateral ovarian cysts.
Like all ovarian cysts, bilateral ovarian cysts can be as small as a pea or larger than a grapefruit. They can be either the same type of cyst or two differing ones. A selection of the common types of cysts are;
- Corpus Luteum Cyst – this is your ‘normal’ functional fluid filled cyst that can grow toward the end of your cycle and will usually disappear on its own within around 3 months.
- Hemorrhagic Cyst – This cyst is like the corpus luteum cyst, but instead of being filled with clear fluid, it is filled with blood. Most hemorrhagic cysts burst on their own and the only symptom may be a burning feeling as the content of the cyst leaves the body.
- Dermoid Cyst – This type of cyst contains cells and may be filled with fat or other tissues like hair, bone, and cartilage. It is often the scariest looking but least harmful type of cyst.
- Theca lutein cysts – these are rare forms of bilateral ovarian cysts that develop during a pregnancy when there is an excess of growth hormone, usually caused by a multiple pregnancy, or an excess of the steroid androgen. In rare cases it can also be an indicator of an abnormality within the placenta or development of the fetus.
No one knows exactly why any of these cysts occur and the only difference between other cysts and these is that the bilateral ones occur on both ovaries.
Are Bilateral Ovarian Cysts the same as PCOS?
A term that you may have heard is PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which basically means that each ovary contains many cysts. It is also possible to have bilateral PCOS – just to complicate things further!
While most common in women of childbearing age, bilateral ovarian cysts can affect women of any age including those in utero and post menopausal women.
Dangers of Bilateral Ovarian Cysts
Most cysts are relatively harmless, but the more of them you have (as in PCOS or bilateral PCOS) the greater the risk to your health. These can influence your menstrual cycle, your capacity to have children, the balance of hormones, your cardiovascular system and even your appearance due to the high levels of male hormones that can be associated with the condition.
In a minority of cases some cysts can jeopardize your ability to have children. If you have bilateral ovarian cysts that are damaging your ovaries then your chances of being able to have children is also severely damaged.
For those that are worried about a possible cancer risk regular blood tests can be used to determine if the protein that is an indicator of ovarian cancer, CA-125, is detected. While not cancer specific the CA-125 is a protein test and can give an indication whether cancer or other illness may be causing your cysts. This test in conjunction with other things like the size, their appearance on a scan, and whether they change over time may indicate to your physician that other precautions or tests may need to be done.
Treatment of Bilateral Ovarian Cysts
Conventional medicine says that because the majority of unilateral and bilateral ovarian cysts will disappear on their own within a few months there is little concern and monitoring the cysts or prescription of painkillers is the only requirement. Some are also prescribed the birth control pill in an effort to rebalance the hormone levels, unfortunately history shows that the vast majority of cysts will still recur. In some cases those whose cysts have grown particularly large will be advised to undergo surgery.
While this conventional treatment may suit the doctors it is very hard for the patient who has to live on painkillers and the BCP. Fortunately there are also a variety of well researched and proven natural treatments for bilateral ovarian cysts that have impressive records for not only shrinking cysts of all sizes, but for instantly relieving your pain and preventing further cysts from developing.