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Do Ovarian Cysts Mean Ovarian Cancer?

Ovulatory dysfunction is a major causative factor in the infertility of women. The primary mechanism of dysfunction is caused by hormonal imbalances that contributed to gaining weight. Irregularities in other hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can significantly effect a female’s menstrual cycle and ability to conceive.

The balance of these hormones is what allows a pregnancy to begin and develop. Excess fatty deposits in the ovaries can cause damage to new eggs, make them prone to not survive and ultimately result in miscarriage. Fatty cysts have been found to compress and damage the fallopian tubes that transport eggs from the ovary.

Hormones Cause Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which small fluid filled cysts appear in the ovaries.  This is an abnormal condition that is caused by hormonal imbalances.  The hormonal imbalances are the same hormones that cause one to gain weight, produce disease and contribute to infertility. 

A cyst’s size is dependent on the level of hormonal imbalance.  The greater the imbalance, the greater the size of the cyst.  Cysts are commonly misdiagnosed as cancerous tumors.  

Weight and Infertility Connection

A study published in Human Reproduction concluded that heavier women have significantly higher rates of infertility in comparison to leaner women.  The study of more than 3,000 women also looked at body mass index as an indicator of infertility.  26-43 percent of women that were overweight were not able to become pregnant over a course of a year.  

Weight and infertility has now been linked to insulin—another hormone.  A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that large fluctuations in insulin levels will throw havoc on ovulation.  The hormone leptin was also identified as another culprit in the production of disease.  Type 2 diabetes is the diagnosis when blood sugar is too high due to poor insulin control.  Large fluctuations especially occur with poor dietary choices.  

Do I Have Ovarian Cancer or a Cyst?

Most ovarian masses are not tumors at all, rather they are cysts. Almost 97% of ovarian masses, or suspected tumors, are cysts that you can get rid of and prevent naturally. Here are some very common cysts and frequently asked questions about them. 

What is a Follicular Cyst?

Follicular cysts are the most frequent types of cysts that occur in the ovaries. These cysts can often measure from a few millimeters to a 15-centimeter cyst. Cysts are most accurately diagnosed with ultrasound.

Why do follicular cysts form? 

There are a lot of normal hormonal cycles in your body — many of which are designed to work with each other. The main hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go up and down during a woman’s cycle in a very specific pattern. Even a slight variation in the timing of these hormones can cause a cyst to form. 

How are follicular cysts treated? 

Almost all ovarian follicular cysts will go away naturally with no intervention. Surgery is not needed in most cases but should be monitored with an ultrasound every 6 to 8 weeks. In the vast majority of cases, the cyst disappears on its own by silently leaking and being absorbed by the body. 

What is a Corpus Luteum Cyst?

A corpus luteum cyst (CLC) occurs less frequent than a follicular cyst but can cause more serious complications such as internal bleeding.  These cysts produce different hormones that affect your body and hormone balance.  Hormone balance is a significant determining factor in one’s overall health status.  

It is very common to get this type of cyst during the early stages of pregnancy. They usually go away by the second trimester. In most cases, they eventually go away after pregnancy.

How do you know if you have a CLC?

A CLC commonly presents itself with a missed period followed by some spotting, one-sided pelvic pain and a pelvic examination, which finds a tender ovarian mass. A pregnancy test is commonly ordered because these findings are similar to an ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy).

It is common to have significant pain and/or bleeding to occur with a CLC rupture and is classified a medical emergency.  Studies show that one third of women that have a CLC will have reoccurring complications.  Consult with your doctor and review all the medications, herbals and supplements you are taking as they can play a significant role in prevention and treatment.

Lifestyle and Prevention Techniques

Hormones play a significant role in the management of our weight and the development of serious, life-threatening health conditions.  Whether its diabetes, heart disease or cancer – hormones are at center of it all.  To prevent or reverse hormonal imbalances one must engage in activities that promote healthy hormones. 

Exercise is the one of the ways to maintain your health, balance hormones and avoid disease.  The type of exercise is important however.  The classic low intensity, long duration exercise has been found to have hormonal unbalancing effects, versus balancing.  Classic exercises include aerobics, running and biking for more than 30 minutes in duration.

Research has found the intensity of the exercise to be the most important factor in generating the ideal hormonal response.  This hormonal response causes you to lose or maintain a healthy weight, improve lean muscle mass and improve hormone balance.  

When you eat real food, you get real nutrients.  It has been found that people that have real food in their diet have improved hormonal balance.  Eating not-real food has the exact opposite effects.  It causes you to add weight and have hormonal problems.  Foods that are highly processed and found in a box or a can have high amounts of white sugars and flour that have no nutritional value and should be avoided.

Living naturally means no smoking, alcohol abuse, or overindulging in sweets. Stick to a real food diet that is based on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and lean meats.  Get plenty of exercise and focus on family and community.  

Stress and inability of the body to handle stress is the most common cause of hormone imbalance.  One’s diet, exercise regimen, sleep and hydration level will all impact how the body is able to respond to stress.  Improved lifestyle factors balance hormones, prevent cysts from occurring and can prevent future complications from occurring.  

This column is directed by your questions, comments and inquiries.  The health advice provided is in collaboration with the World Health Organisation's goals of prevention, maintenance and natural treatment of disease.   The advice is for educational purposes and does not necessarily reflect endorsement.

Dr. Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications throughout the world. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organization's goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.

Facebook: Dr Cory Couillard
Twitter: DrCoryCouillard



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