Treatment for cysts on the ovaries is a broad topic with many alternatives. Cysts themselves have a wide range of impact on the body as they vary in type, threat level and size. Ovarian cysts can be as small as a pea and larger than a cantaloupe. Any cyst that is larger than 2 centimeters is generally considered an ovarian cyst.
Most cysts are filled with fluid, however occasionally they may be filled with tissue or blood. Sometimes hair and bone are found; These cysts are usually referred to as fibroids.
Most ovarian cysts are considered functional meaning that they are harmless and do not require treatment. Generally these cysts cause no pain or discomfort to the woman with them – she will most likely not notice their presence at all. When symptoms are present that may include:
- Dull or severe, and sharp pain or discomfort in the abdomen, pelvic area thighs and sometimes legs.
- Fullness, pressure and or bloating in the stomach
- Breast tenderness
- Painful periods
- Irregular bleeding and spotting
- Lack of menstruation
- Weight gain
- Nausea and or vomiting
- Rib pain
When these symptoms become bothersome treatment for cysts may become necessary. Many women choose to consult their doctors for treatment.
For most women diagnosed with a cyst the first step will be "watchful waiting" meaning that one or two menstrual cycles will be allowed to pass while the cyst is monitored. To manage pain at this time, treatment for cysts will involve mild painkillers like Advil and Tylenol.
To manage pain you may try a heating pad or warm bath, ice can sometimes help as well. Many women will use a castor oil pack to help at this time.
When cysts are confirmed the most common method of treatment is the prescription of an oral contraceptive or "the pill". The pill regulates hormones related to menstruation and will sometimes be taken consecutively to prevent the release of an egg and therefore prevent cysts.
Limiting strenuous activity at this point is important to prevent rupture or torsion – meaning twisting of the cyst. This is a serious condition that can be very painful and requires medical treatment.
Other treatment for cysts include cystectomy which is surgical removal of part or all of the bladder, gallbladder or any cyst in the pelvic area. This is a drastic form of treatment that many women do not like to resort to though a benefit is that the ovaries are left intact so conception is still possible.
Other treatments include ovariotomy or orchiectomy, a surgical procedure where doctors remove one or both ovaries. These are permanently altering surgeries that are generally only used when ovarian cancer is suspected or confirmed.
Treatment for cysts can by quite invasive or it can take a more natural approach. Because cysts are caused by a variety of factors, which intertwine, holistic treatments are becoming more and more popular as they take into account the whole system rather than just addressing the symptoms themselves.
In many cases reduction of simple carbohydrates in the diet can have a large impact in insulin levels, and so on hormone regulation affecting the presence and symptoms of cysts.