Can Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) be used in the treatment of ovarian cysts? Yes, it can and quite successfully too. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are the main healing modalities at the forefront of combating this most common of ailments that can afflict many women sometime in their lives. There are many types of ovarian cysts and it is important for your medical doctor to look at a cyst closely with an ultrasound examination in order to identify if it is fluid-filled, solid or mixed. The shape, size, and location are all important factors in determining if it can be left alone or if it should be removed or biopsied. Sometimes cysts can be related to endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In many cases, the underlying endometriosis and/or PCOS would also have been treated with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine as part of an overall effective treatment plan. The most common types of cysts are just fluid-filled follicles that did not rupture during ovulation to release the egg. Termed functional cysts, they usually go away within the menstrual cycle and cause no further problems. Sometimes they can be felt as twinges of pain or like a heavy ache in the abdomen. Occasionally a functional cyst can grow and then rupture causing intense abdominal pain until the body reabsorbs the fluid contents of the cyst. For women who have a tendency to develop these cysts often, then looking more closely at the underlying imbalance via TCM would be highly recommended. But many times the cyst can be of a solid persistent lump which may need much regular treatment to dissolve.
In Chinese medicine, we view a cyst as a collection of stagnant fluid and blood, which then consolidates and becomes obstructive. In traditional Chinese medicine, ovarian cysts are considered to be a product of three main pathological factors: phlegm, dampness, and blood stasis. Each of these factors takes time to develop. Phlegm and dampness are due to an imbalance of the Spleens energy. The Spleen is responsible for transforming the food that we eat into energy (Chi) and blood. When the Spleen’s own energy is deficient, it begins to lose its ability to produce sufficient amounts of Chi and blood. While usually not a life-threatening situation, it is nonetheless viewed as a disruption in the body’s healthy processes. Women who have cysts have a hormone imbalance and are not ovulating optimally this can be one of the causes of infertility. Acupuncture helps to bring balance to the endocrine system and hormones and can directly affect ovulation. There are many amazing acupuncture techniques to help improve blood flow to the reproductive organs and optimise ovulation. Chinese herbs in conjunction with acupuncture may be used to help dissolve painful cysts as well. Women who have a tendency to develop cysts may have a pattern of symptoms that go along with this condition. It is possible that there are issues with sluggish digestion and the body produces excess mucus and dampness. This inefficiency can lead to dampness accumulating in other areas of the body as well such as ovarian cysts. Herbs can be used to improve the digestion and drain any dampness that is causing the body to develop points of stagnation.
Testimony to the effectiveness of TCM
In my own clinics, I have recently and very successfully treated a young woman in her mid-twenties who was suffering very intensely with pain and cramp whenever she was in the mid-cycle of her period. She was suffering needlessly for quite a few years until she discovered acupuncture and now after a good few treatments, she is pain-free and her period is much improved, but apart from this she now also has much more energy as well and is sleeping better. She also regularly took the Chinese Herbal formula called Xia Yao Wan this herb moved the stagnant Qi (chi) energy that was being blocked causing the energy to dam up which in turn created the cyst. Before she came to me she had an ultrasound test and it was discovered that her cyst was roughly the size of a golf ball, after about 6 treatments the pain began to subside, and after roughly another 6 treatments (12 in total) she decided to have another scan, to her amazement and that of her doctors the cyst had completely disappeared. This halted surgery or any invasive treatments that she may have had to undergo if the problem persisted or the pain intensity had increased. Its powerful testimonies like this that clearly gives acupuncture the edge over many healing modalities and forms of medicine, that at best only give relief or the offering of life-threatening surgery, Traditional Chinese Medicine, on the other hand, leaves no stone unturned to get to and treat the root cause of any and all diseases, only then can a complete and lasting cure ever be achieved. Over the years I have prevented much surgery and aggressive drug therapies, simply by applying the age-old natural wisdom that is Chinese medicine.