Acupuncture for Ovarian Cysts

Cysts are a common condition seen in our Chinese medicine fertility practice, and are particularly frequent amongst women who are receiving conventional fertility treatment. Most cysts are harmless fluid-filled sacs that resolve spontaneously within one or two menstrual cycles.[1] However a small percentage of cysts are filled with solid, dense matter, and constitute more of a problem. Less than one per cent of these ‘non-functional’ cysts are malignant, and therefore any cyst that is larger then five millimetres and made of solid matter, and that does not disperse by itself needs to be carefully investigated. Cysts are problematic because they cause pain and menstrual irregularities, and adversely affect fertility. They can also be a frustrating cause of delays during fertility treatment. Conventional diagnosis of cysts is by ultrasound scan, which can also distinguish whether they are purely fluid-filled or whether there is solid matter within. Conventional treatment is either via the contraceptive pill to shut down the menstrual cycle, or laparascopic surgery. Neither option is desirable for women who are trying to conceive.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, cysts are seen as a type of obstruction due to thick fluids, which can be caused by a variety of imbalances. For instance, a build-up of fluids can be due to the body’s physiology being excessively cold causing poor circulation (warmth in the body facilitates movement, just as with convection currents in the sea). On the other hand, thick fluids can also be due to the condensing effects of excessive heat on the normal physiological fluids. At the London Acupuncture Clinic we consistently find that for patients who are trying to conceive – whether naturally via conventional fertility treatment – regular acupuncture treatment reduces the occurrence of cysts. For those patients who are experiencing pain, irregular cycles or infertility due to cysts, and where malignancy has been ruled out, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine constitutes an effective treatment. Unlike conventional medicine treatment, the Chinese medical approach is holistic, and thus not only treats the cyst, but also simultaneously focuses on enhancing fertility and overall health.

 

 

References

[1] Borgfeldt, C. & E. Andolf (1999). “Transvaginal sonographic ovarian findings in a random sample of women 25–40 years old.” Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 13(5): 345-350.