Ovarian cysts are noncancerous masses that grow on the ovaries. Many cysts cause no symptoms, but others can be painful or make a person’s period heavier.

People who suspect they have ovarian cysts should see a doctor before trying any home treatments, as it is essential to diagnose the cause of the cyst.

Severe pain from an ovarian cyst may indicate that it has ruptured or damaged the ovary or fallopian tube. A ruptured cyst can be a medical emergency.

In this article, we look at various home remedies to treat symptoms of an ovarian cyst, as well as medical treatment options and when to see a doctor.

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Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that grow on a person’s ovary. They are relatively common and usually harmless.

There are two common forms of ovarian cysts.

Corpus luteum cysts develop in the corpus luteum. This tissue fills an empty follicle once it releases an egg during ovulation. These cysts may bleed and cause pain. Meanwhile, follicular cysts form in a follicle where an egg develops during ovulation.

Neither of these types of cysts usually cause symptoms and typically disappear independently. Most people develop at least one of the above every menstrual cycle, typically without symptoms.

Another type of ovarian cyst, a benign tumor, grows slowly and, in rare cases, may become cancerous.

People with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often have multiple follicular cysts. PCOS is a syndrome that causes hormone imbalances. Some people with PCOS do not ovulate or only ovulate rarely.

Sometimes a cyst grows so large that it twists the ovary. This can damage the ovary or fallopian tube or even cause life threatening bleeding. This type of cyst requires immediate treatment to prevent permanent damage to the ovary. Sometimes, a surgeon may have to remove the ovary if it is too damaged.

Unless a cyst is very large or growing rapidly, a doctor will often advise watchful waiting. This means they will observe the cyst regularly and wait to see if it changes. If they assess negative changes, then they will act accordingly.

A doctor may perform several ultrasounds over a few months to monitor the cyst and ensure it disappears or does not grow larger.

During these observation periods, people may turn to home treatments to manage symptoms and reduce pain. While home treatments may help in this regard, they cannot treat the cyst itself.

Some home remedies for symptom management include:

1. Over-the-counter medication

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can treat ovarian cyst pain, as well as period cramps.

People who get no relief from NSAIDs should contact their doctor since intense pain may point to severe complications.

In some cases, a doctor may prescribe different pain medications, such as co-codamol, which contains codeine.

2. Massage

The pain of an ovarian cyst can cause the surrounding muscles to tense up. This can be particularly uncomfortable during a period. Massaging the lower back, thighs, buttocks, and stomach can help loosen tense muscles and reduce pain.

3. Exercise and stretching

Lifestyle changes, such as increasing activity levels, can help improve a person’s overall health and may help them manage ovarian cyst symptoms. For example, a 2019 study found that regular exercise alongside dietary intervention had a greater impact on PCOS symptom reduction than dietary changes alone.

Yoga can also help ease muscle tension and pain from ovarian cysts. Some studies show that practicing yoga can help people to manage PCOS symptoms. Yoga may also reduce a person’s risk of cysts forming.

4. Heat

Heat increases blood flow, helping to reduce pain from muscle soreness. Research also shows that repeated heat therapy can reduce inflammation and other biological markers of PCOS.

5. Relaxation techniques

Stress and anxiety can make pain worse. Relaxation techniques, like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing, may help relieve anxiety and reduce pain intensity. These techniques can also help a person manage pain long-term and improve general health.

6. TENS device

Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) delivers a tiny, safe electrical signal to the nerves. This signal can change how the nerves respond to pain, helping with both period and ovarian cyst pain.

7. Weight loss

If a person is overweight, losing weight may help their body better regulate hormones, prevent the development of more cysts, and improve symptoms of pain and fatigue.

8. Dietary changes

Many people with PCOS are insulin resistant. This can lead to diabetes and cause weight gain.

A wide range of dietary changes may help, but as research does not point to a specific diet for PCOS, a person may need to use trial and error to find what works best for her.

As people with PCOS may have insulin resistance, it might be helpful to reduce sugar intake. Sugar is in various foods, including carbohydrates such as bread and pasta.

A doctor can check a person’s blood to see if they are at risk of developing diabetes. Eating healthful whole foods will help people get their weight within a healthy range.

Drink chamomile tea

Chamomile teas and supplements are popular complementary treatments for ovarian cyst symptoms. According to research, drinking chamomile tea may help people to relax, lessen menstrual cramps, and fight inflammation.

People with PCOS often have heightened levels of testosterone in their blood. Studies show that chamomile supplementation significantly decreases testosterone levels in people with PCOS.

Drink ginger tea

Similar to chamomile tea, people may find that drinking ginger tea helps them to relax and reduces stress levels. Ginger can also help to reduce inflammation in the body.

Limited animal studies suggest ginger can be an effective complementary medication for improving PCOS symptoms.

Consider supplements

A complete, nutritionally-balanced diet plays an important role in a person’s reproductive health. Ensuring adequate intake of necessary vitamins and minerals can improve ovarian follicle growth and ovulation rate, decreasing ovarian cysts’ risk.

Supplements can assist in the formation of a balanced, healthful diet. However, it is essential a person speaks to their healthcare professional before taking new supplements, so that they can ensure they don’t negatively interact with other medications or health conditions.

Unless the cysts are growing or causing symptoms, medical treatment might not be necessary.

Medical treatments for ovarian cysts include:

  • hormonal birth control pills to regulate the hormones
  • metformin to increase insulin sensitivity
  • surgical cyst removal
  • surgical removal of the ovary or fallopian tube

A doctor may need to monitor a growing benign tumor regularly. Sometimes, a doctor may suggest removing the tumor even if it is noncancerous or does not cause symptoms.

Only a doctor can diagnose an ovarian cyst and determine if it is safe to treat it at home. People who think they might have ovarian cysts or PCOS should see a gynecologist. They will ask about the person’s medical history and may perform an ultrasound or blood work.

In rare cases, an ovarian cyst can become a medical emergency. A ruptured cyst can cause intense, unbearable pain and heavy bleeding. A person with a ruptured cyst may experience dizziness, nausea, or vomiting along with pelvic pain. They should call a doctor immediately or go to the hospital if this occurs.

Ovarian cysts are common; most are harmless and go away over time. Even when they persist, treatment is safe and reliable and can prevent cysts from causing serious harm.

Home treatment for ovarian cysts will not make the cysts go away but can ease any pain or discomfort. People should be mindful of any changes in symptoms and should never ignore severe pelvic pain.

With proper home management and medical care, an ovarian cyst may be little more than a temporary inconvenience.

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