An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid that forms on or inside of an ovary. But not all ovarian cysts are formed the same way or have the same effect on your body. The over 15% of women from puberty to menopause will develop functional cysts during their monthly menstrual cycle. Functional cysts are formed during or after ovulation. They can be as small as a pea or grow to the size of an orange. Despite the size, functional cysts are benign but can still cause you some trouble such as bleeding and pain when they rupture. The majority of the time these benign cysts just resolve on their own. If your symptoms become unbearable or the cysts grow over 4cm, a benign cysts can be treated with hormone therapy, natural remedies, or with surgery.
The functional cyst more sinister sister is called the chocolate or dirty cysts. Women who suffer from endometriosis usually develop this type of cyst. Chocolate cysts are formed when the endometrial tissue from the uterus transplants itself onto the ovaries. These cysts are fed by hormones which cause them to grow and fill up with blood. Chocolate cysts can greatly reduce your chances of conception and often causes intense pain when they rupture leaking old blood into the abdominal cavity. Treatment is the same as for the functional cysts; hormone therapy, natural remedies, or with surgery.
I have been diagnosed with having both functional and chocolate cysts. I was first treated with hormone therapy in the form of oral contraception and Lupron. The cysts remained unchanged but I developed a whole host of very unpleasant side effect. Eventually I decided to have surgery. I had an 8cm chocolate cyst removed from my left ovary and a 5cm functional cyst removed from my right ovary. Within 8 months a 6cm chocolate cyst developed on my left ovary and a 4cm functional cysts developed on my right one. I was lucky to meet a surgeon who also practices holistic medicine. He advised me to remove my left ovary because it was covered with endometrial tissue and removed the function cysts from my right ovary. He helped me put together a cocktail of vitamins and herbs that would help me balance my hormones and control the growth of any future functional cysts.
I currently take Vitex to balance my hormones and Vitamin E to control the growth of any function cysts. I have not been cysts free but now they resolve on their own rather quickly.