Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs on the ovaries that are usually benign. They are most common among women of child-bearing age, and there are many different types of ovarian cysts, including functional ovarian cysts, dermoid cysts, and others. An ovarian cyst is formed when the follicle grows on the ovary and does not pop out an egg. The follicle keeps on growing to create a cyst. No egg is released. And no corpus luteum is produced. No progesterone is produced. While some ovarian cysts cause abdominal pain or discomfort, most are small and cause no symptoms. In fact, most ovarian cysts are considered functional, meaning that they occur normally during the menstrual cycle and are not a part of a disease process. The good news is that ovarian cysts usually go away on their own within several months. Larger cysts may cause severe pain, and some may bleed or burst, leading to the need for medical attention. Ovarian cysts that rupture can cause damage to the ovaries. Scar tissue can also build up in ovarian cysts and form an adhesion which can cause pain and discomfort. When ovarian cysts are diagnosed, your doctor may decide to employ a wait-and-see strategy. Fortunately, conventional medicine approaches are not your only option. Many women prefer to try natural remedies for ovarian cysts as a means to shrink cysts and avoid the need for medications or surgery. Let’s take a look at some of the most recommended natural remedies for ovarian cysts.
Natural Remedies for Ovarian Cysts
1. Healthy Diet
It goes without saying that a healthy diet is not only foundational but can have a profound effect in helping the body to repair and heal. While implementing supplementation is highly encouraged, supplements will work better when coupled with a very healthy diet. I highly recommend a plant-based diet with as many organic, raw veggies and fruits as possible. Other helpful foods to consume are almonds, Brussels sprouts, chia seeds, chickpeas, dark leafy greens, flax seeds, and oily fish.
A daily glass of fresh raw veggie juice is always a great idea.
Liver Detox Juice Recipe – Carrot, Beet, Apple, Celery – drink one 8oz glass every day.
2. Reduce Estrogen
Excess estrogen is one of the most common types of hormonal imbalance which can cause the disruption of ovulation. One of the best ways to rid the body of excess estrogens is to stop exposing yourself to xenoestrogens and to begin taking a supplement called DIM (diindolylmethane).
Avoid exposure to estrogens and xenoestrogens
- Stop eating soy foods.
- Eat only organic (grass-fed and grass-finished) meats. Limit red meats.
- Eliminate refined sugar, cheese, grocery store milk, and white flour.
- Do not microwave foods.
- Stop drinking water from plastic bottles. Drink filtered water packaged in glass or purchase a water filtration system.
- Avoid mineral oil, parabens, and toxic chemicals (xenoestrogens) in skin care products.
- Use natural detergents, non-toxic cleaning products, natural skin care products, and natural personal care products.
Supplement with DIM
Diindolylmethane, or DIM, is a phytochemical produced during the digestion of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. Besides eating these vegetables, you can obtain DIM through supplements. DIM helps to clear the body of excess estrogens which can aid in reducing the promotion of ovarian cyst growth. DIM should be taken daily for at least three months along with lifestyle changes which include avoiding xenoestrogens found in products, foods and the environment.
3. Increase Progesterone and Balance Hormones
Bioidentical Progesterone – When there is excess estrogen in the body, there is almost always a progesterone deficiency. Balancing your estrogen and progesterone levels by using bioidentical progesterone cream (I recommend Oasis Serene) can help reduce ovarian cysts and the chance of them occurring in the future. The use of natural progesterone cream helps to increase progesterone levels to healthy levels.
Dr. John R. Lee believed natural progesterone to be one of the best treatments for ovarian cysts. One of the ways he used natural progesterone to eliminate ovarian cysts was by having his patients apply natural progesterone from days 5-26 of their menstrual cycle. This “tricks” the body into thinking it is pregnant which suppresses ovulation. If ovulation doesn’t occur, functional ovarian cysts cannot form. Dr. Lee said that “natural progesterone, given from day 5 to day 26 of the menstrual month for three cycles, will almost routinely cause the disappearance of these ovarian cysts by suppressing normal FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), and estrogen production and giving the ovary time to heal.”
Note: This is a short-term treatment that is best done in conjunction with the other supportive supplements mentioned in this article. The above natural progesterone protocol is intended to help the body eliminate the ovarian cysts and prevent the formation of new ones so that in a few months one can begin trying to conceive. Remember, should you choose to follow Dr. Lee’s natural progesterone protocol for ovarian cysts you may not ovulate during that time, which means you may not be able to get pregnant.
“Bioidentical hormones are, theoretically, safer than estrogens made from horse urine or synthetic progestin. As a matter of fact, some studies show that natural progesterone is far safer than synthetic progestin. The bottom line is that, because of the confusion about which hormone preparations are bioidentical and which are not, most experts lump everything together and warn women of the well-defined risks that have been associated mostly with the synthetic compounds. That said, even bioidentical estrogen is a growth hormone in the body and may have adverse effects on uterine and breast tissue, especially if not balanced with progesterone.” Christiane Northrup, M.D.
Iodine – I recommend Detoxidine as it is the only certified organic iodine available. Iodine is also great for those who may have thyroid issues. Every cell in your body requires iodine. In fact, you can’t make a single hormone without it, yet too many people don’t get enough. If you have ovarian cysts and have not had thyroid testing done, I highly recommend doing so.
Dr. Ray Peat, PhD says that ovarian cysts are usually associated with a low thyroid condition, and that administration of thyroid hormone can get rid of them by lowering estrogen levels and making the ovaries produce more progesterone.
“Animal experiments show that lack of thyroid hormone can cause cystic ovaries.” -Ray Peat, PhD in “Nutrition for Women”
“Animals which are artificially made hypothyroid develop cystic ovaries, so it is reasonable to consider hypothyroidism as an important factor when women have cystic ovaries.” -Ray Peat, PhD
Selenium – Selenium is needed for detoxification and thyroid hormone creation and should always be taken when using iodine.
4. Dissolve and Reduce Cysts with Supporting Supplements
There are four natural remedies for ovarian cysts that have been used time and time again to help the body break down the cysts, reduce their size and possibly disappear.
Systemic Enzyme Therapy: The body contains a variety of enzymes. Enzymes are catalysts for chemical reactions necessary to the innumerable actions that maintain the function of the body. A subclass of enzymes known as Systemic Enzymes works to help the body break down excess foreign tissues and reduce inflammation. The enzymes most likely to help control ovarian cysts are bromelain, chymotrypsin, pancreatin, papain, and trypsin. Supplementation with a high-quality systemic enzyme blend such as Univase Forte may help the body to reduce the size of the cysts or eliminate them over time.
Vitamin B-Complex – B-complex vitamins are needed by your liver to convert excess oestrogen into weaker and less dangerous forms. B vitamins are essential when you are working to balance your hormone levels.
Vitamin D-3 – Get Vitamin D3 levels checked BEFORE taking Vitamin D3. Low levels of vitamin D appear to be connected both to endometriosis onset and to its severity, researchers said in a study that found women with the lowest blood concentrations of the vitamin also had the largest ovarian endometrioma or ovarian cysts.
Castor Oil Pack: Castor Oil Packs are an ancient therapy that helps to cleanse and heal the area of the body where they are placed. The castor oil has a drawing power that helps the body to clear itself of excess tissues and toxins. Castor oil packs stimulate the lymphatic and circulatory systems. The lymphatic system removes toxins and waste from the area where the pack is applied. A castor oil pack also increases circulation which helps to bring in fresh oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to the reproductive organs, including the ovaries. This is a vital step to helping the body reduce and dissolve ovarian cysts. Do not apply during menstruation. There are many places on the internet where you can find out how to use a castor oil pack.
5. Supportive Herbs to Prevent Future Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts are considered a state of stagnation in the body, both in regard to the liver and circulation to the reproductive organs. There are several herbs I like to recommend to help nourish and support the endocrine system, promote hormonal balance, regular ovulation, and proper circulation to the reproductive organs. I also like to recommend herbs that are detoxifying to the liver for improved hormonal balance and estrogen metabolism.
Liver Health Herbal Liver Support – The liver helps to filter toxins from the body, including excess hormones. Livatrex is a herbal liver support formula containing powerful herbs which can help support detoxification and normal function of the liver and gallbladder. Milk thistle helps the liver to cleanse and regenerate.
Tribulus, aerial parts and fruit (Tribulus terrestris) – Tribulus has been found to normalize ovulation when used prior to ovulation. One study performed on 36 women who were not ovulating, showed that that 67% realized normal ovulation after only 2-3 months of consistent use. Tribulus has also been found to be a nourishing tonic for the female reproductive system as a whole, especially concerning the ovaries.
Maca root (Lepidium meyenii) – Helps to balance the hormones, but does not contain any hormones itself. It is able to do this by nourishing and balancing the endocrine system. Maca is a nourishing food for the endocrine system, aiding the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands (all involved in hormonal balance). Works to protect the body from stress damage. Shown to support and increase egg health. Shown to increase libido in both men and women.
Yarrow aerial parts (Achillea millefolium) – Yarrow relieves pelvic congestion through improved circulation to the reproductive organs.
Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera) – Supports overall endocrine system function. Supports proper immune response, aids in possible autoimmune fertility issues. Aids in supporting the body with proper stress response.
Ovarian Cyst Natural Therapy Suggestions
I highly encourage those who have a knowledgeable practitioner helping them to share this protocol with him/her and follow their additions or subtractions. The supplements recommended are high-quality with no toxins or harmful fillers.
- DIM – 100 – 2oomg per day with food
- Liver Health Herbal Liver Support – 2 dropperfuls every other day.
- Univase Forte – For systemic support, take at least 45 minutes before or 2 hours after a meal with a full glass of purified water. 3 capsules 2 times a day on an empty stomach at least 45 minutes before meals with water.
- Herbs – Take according to instructions on the bottle.
- Vitamin E (containing the full spectrum of Vitamin E) – 600 IUs at bedtime.
- B-Complex – Contains all B Vitamins. B Vitamins should always be taken together – not in isolated form unless one particular B Vitamin is needed in higher amounts. Even then a B Complex should also be taken.
- High-Quality Probiotic – Because everyone should be taking a high-quality probiotic. I recommend Floratrex.
- High-Quality Calcium/Magnesium supplement. Take according to label. I recommend Calcium & Magnesium.
- Vitamin D3 – Get levels tested BEFORE using Vitamin D3. I recommend organic and vegan-friendly Certified Organic Vitamin D3.
- Iodine – Detoxidine – Take according to directions on the bottle.
- Selenium – Take according to directions on the bottle.
- Bioidentical progesterone. Use according to suggestions above.
Day 5-26 of your menstrual cycle
Apply bioidentical progesterone cream: 1/8 tsp twice a day, morning and at night before bed. Use from days 5-26 of the cycle. Day 1 is the first day of bleeding. This “tricks” the body into thinking it is pregnant which suppresses ovulation. If ovulation doesn’t occur, functional ovarian cysts cannot form. This method of progesterone therapy is best done for three months and then discontinued after that. Do not use progesterone in this way when you are trying to become pregnant.
If you want to use bioidentical progesterone to support fertility or for concerns with miscarriage after doing the protocol above for three cycles, go back to using bioidentical progesterone after ovulation – for most women – Days 12-26 at 1/8 tsp twice a day. Ovulation will then usually occur in the 4th month and your cycle is back to “normal”.
6 times a month for 3 months
Castor oil pack – Use the castor oil pack 30 minutes a day for at least 6 days of the month any time after menstruation. Apply for a total of 3 months. Note: It is best to take 3 months to work to get rid of ovarian cysts prior to trying to conceive. Should you actively try to conceive while using Castor Oil Packs, apply them prior to ovulation only.
The main cause of ovarian cysts is hormonal imbalance, which disrupts the natural menstrual cycle. It is vital to bring the body back to a state of balance to prevent the formation of ovarian cysts.
- Reduce excess estrogen in the body by avoiding exposure to xenoestrogens and naturally promoting healthy estrogen metabolism through the use of DIM.
- Increase progesterone levels and support hormonal balance overall. Consider the benefits of using bioidentical progesterone, supplementation, and herbs for hormonal balance and the reduction in cyst formation.
- Check Thyroid, Vitamin D3, and Cortisol (saliva) levels. Saliva test sex hormones – Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, and DHEA.
- Dissolve and reduce ovarian cysts through Systemic Enzyme Therapy (Veganzyme) and Castor Oil Packs.
When it comes to any health concern, always check with a knowledgeable practitioner who knows your health history. If you decide you want to use natural remedies for ovarian cysts, begin by taking a look at your overall health and lifestyle. What needs to change? Are you willing to make the changes needed? As mentioned above, a healthy diet is foundational to ensure that your body is getting all the required nutrients. And remember that because we are all unique individuals, what works for one may not work for another. Never give up on searching for solutions for your unique situation.
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Jake Paul Fratkin, MOD, LAc. Ovarian Cysts and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Acupuncture Today. April 2009.
A Dehghan, A Esfandiari, S Momeni Bigdeli. Alternative Treatment of Ovarian Cysts with Tribulus terrestris Extract: A Rat Model. Reproduction in Domestic Animals. August 24, 2011. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0531.2011.01877.x.
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