Ovarian cysts are typical fluid filled sacs that are generated during ovulation. Present on the ovarian surface, the usually empty sacs are meant to hold the maturing eggs and usually disappear on their own once the eggs get released.
However, in certain cases, these sacs remain on the ovarian surface even after ovulation. This can happen if the eggs don’t get released or if the sacs close up after ovulation. In either of these cases, the sacs would get filled with fluid and swell up to form cysts. In most cases, ovarian cysts are harmless and disappear on their own after a couple of months.
Most of these cysts are tiny and either do not cause any symptoms or cause very few symptoms that are usually ignored as normal menstrual signs. Certain ovarian cysts though can grow to large sizes and create several health related problems for the individual in question, especially if they tend to bleed, twist or rupture.
General Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts
Before identifying the different ways in which ovarian cysts can be prevented, it is considered imperative to recognize the symptoms caused by these cysts as and when the latter start occurring, Timely diagnosis and treatment would help control ovarian cysts to a great extent in addition to preventing recurrences.
Some of the more common symptoms of ovarian cysts include abdominal pain or cramping, menstrual pain, delayed menstrual cycles and vaginal spotting in between menstrual cycles. Ruptured ovarian cysts can lead to severe abdominal pain, heavy vaginal bleeding, vomiting, nausea and painful intercourse.
Different Ways to Prevent Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts can be prevented in a variety of ways. They can be treated with standard medications or treatments. They can be operated upon. They can be prevented by a mix of natural and herbal remedies. Or they can be left alone to disintegrate on their own. The specific method chosen for the treatment would depend on factors like the cyst size and location, the age of the individual, existing medical ailments and personal preferences etc.
Watch and Wait Approach to Prevent Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts are not deemed harmful unless they start growing in size. So the doctor would usually recommend the individual in question to wait for about 3 months to see if the cysts disappear on their own.
Regular monitoring via ultrasounds done during this period would enable the doctor to have a good idea of the prognosis. Treatment is initiated only if the cysts become large or start causing painful symptoms. Therefore, waiting for the cysts to disappear on their own is a good enough approach to prevent them from recurring.
Medications to Prevent Ovarian Cysts
One of the most common forms of prevention for ovarian cysts happen to be oral birth control pills that are usually prescribed by the doctor for seemingly large cysts. When taken regularly, the birth control pills would stop ovulation temporarily, thereby preventing the formation of the ovarian cysts altogether.
A downside to this form of prevention though is that it could lead to hormonal imbalances and could also hinder pregnancy. Using birth control pills on a regular basis would only prevent the occurrence of ovarian cysts up to a certain period (until the pills are taken). The cysts have high chances of recurring afterwards.
Surgical Options to Prevent Ovarian Cysts
Large ovarian cysts would sometimes need to be treated surgically in order to prevent recurrences. The standard procedure for removing ovarian cysts is called a Cystectomy which involves removing the cysts without removing the ovary. Benign cysts can also be removed by a procedure called Laproscopy which involves removing the cyst via a small incision made in the abdominal region.
A Laparotomy would involve making a large incision in the abdominal region to remove a portion of a large cyst. If tested cancerous, the entire cyst would be removed along with the ovary by a procedure called Oophorectomy. In this case, the unaffected, functional ovary is left untouched. However, if the cyst is cancerous and shows signs of having spread to the nearby regions, the entire uterus would have to be removed via a Hysterectomy.
Natural ways to Prevent Ovarian Cysts
Although ovarian cysts can be effective prevented by the medications and treatments mentioned above, there are several natural remedies that can successfully prevent recurrent ovarian cysts without causing much harm to the body in the process. Some of the more common natural remedies to prevent ovarian cysts include:
Staying away from Caffeinated Drinks
Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can help ovarian cysts multiply and grow large in size. Continued intake of caffeinated drinks can also cause ovarian cysts to rupture.
Therefore, staying away from anything that contains caffeine is considered as a very wise option when battling recurrent ovarian cysts.
Drinking plenty of Water
Water can keep the body hydrated and flush out harmful toxins and impurities that could lead to the formation of ovarian cysts either directly or indirectly. Drinking about 6-8 glasses of water would help prevent ovarian cysts to a great extent.
Reducing the Estrogen Levels in the body
High estrogen levels would lead to hormonal imbalances which would in turn lead to the increased formation of ovarian cysts. Simple practices like avoiding dairy, meat and soy products, staying away from products that contain paraben, refraining from using plastic containers to heat food in the microwave and taking DIM supplements on a regular basis etc. can reduce the estrogen levels in the body, thereby preventing the formation of ovarian cysts.
Using Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil packs can help relieve the symptoms of ovarian cysts to a great extent in addition to preventing recurring cysts. The procedure involves dipping a flannel cloth into castor oil and then placing the cloth over the lower abdominal region. Applying a heating pad over the cloth can help the body absorb the oil better. The absorbed castor oil helps remove unwanted impurities and congestions that could otherwise affect the reproductive system, leading to issues like endometriosis and ovarian cysts etc.
Herbal Remedies to Prevent Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts are usually caused by hormonal imbalances in the body. Certain herbs can help balance these hormone levels and prevent the formation of ovarian cysts to a great extent. In addition to this, these herbs can effectively cleanse the major organs in the body (including the liver and reproductive systems), thereby getting rid of impurities and congestions that could indirectly lead to the formation of ovarian cysts.
Some of the more common herbal remedies used for the prevention of ovarian cysts include red clover (contains estrogen like properties that help treat hormonal imbalances), dandelion (contains diuretic properties that help cleanse the body of toxins which could otherwise lead to the formation of ovarian cysts), bee pollen (used to strengthen the reproductive system), chasteberry (balances the estrogen levels to treat hormonal imbalances), black cohosh (helps to restore hormonal balance and treat irregular menstrual cycles) and wild yam (treats hormonal imbalances by mimicking the properties of hormones) etc.
The downside to using herbal remedies for the prevention of ovarian cysts is that they would take time to provide fruitful results. It is also considered wise to check with a herbalist before opting for these herbs as some may contain elements that could cause unnecessary side effects in the body.
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