Conventional Ovarian Cyst Treatment

Boy… talk about unscrupulous…

There was an article on CNN today about hormone replacement therapy.  Apparently Wyeth, a pharmaceutical giant, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to deliberately misled people on the benefits on hormonal therapy.

These articles were published in medical journals, and overly stated the benefits of replacement hormones, while underplaying the risks.  CNN said,

The analysis of those articles found that they “implied that estrogen could preserve youth and health.” Further, the study says, physicians were prescribing estrogen to millions of women who had no symptoms.

“In 1975, an eight-fold increase in endometrial cancer was linked to estrogen use and estrogen sales decreased,” Fugh-Berman wrote. “Today, despite definitive scientific data to the contrary, many gynecologists still believe that the benefits of HT outweigh the risks in asymptomatic women. This non-evidence based perception may be the result of decades of carefully orchestrated corporate influence on medical literature.”

The articles were crafted to downplay the perceived risks of hormone therapy and to promote unproved uses for hormone therapy, such as preventing dementia, Parkinson’s disease, vision problems and wrinkles, according to Fugh-Berman’s analysis.

However, the Women’s Health Initiative found that HRT is linked to an increase in breast cancer, ovarian cancer, strokes, and other problems.

The main hormone prescribed was estrogen.  Now, this seems to show that artificially boosting estrogen levels is dangerous. However, this is what most birth control pills will do.

So what should you do if your doctor prescribes birth control to clear up your cysts?

First, try natural methods to get rid of them.  If you absolutely must take birth control, consider doing progesterone only.  This is a little less effective, but it is much safer.

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When you are diagnosed with a functional ovarian cyst, most doctors will take a wait and see approach.  This basically means that the doctor will do nothing for two to three months.  After that time, he or she will check to see if the cyst has started to shrink on its own.

This approach is the primary way of treating ovarian cysts.  As most cysts are functional and noncancerous, this is generally the best approach.  However, it can leave you in a lot of pain while you wait for the cyst to shrink.  It also does nothing to speed the process of cyst removal or prevent future cysts from forming.

How This Treatment is Prescribed

During a pelvic exam, the doctor will feel a mass on your ovary.  Afterwards, he will have you get an ultrasound.  This will show whether the mass is a fluid filled cyst or something else.  If it is filled with fluid, you will be asked to return for another ultrasound in two to three months.

If the cyst is especially large, in danger of bursting or twisting the ovary, or made of solid material, then surgery will be recommended.

Who This Treatment Works For

The majority of women will have their cysts dissolve naturally without doing anything.  As long as you have a functional follicular or corpus luteum cyst, it should disappear within two to three months.  However, if you have painful, large or recurring cysts, you may want to look into other options.  These are hormonal therapy, surgery, or natural treatment.

What Happens If the Cyst Doesn’t Dissolve

At that point, the doctor will recommend either surgery to remove the cyst, or hormonal therapy to reduce it.  However, both of these treatment methods have drawbacks.  They don’t prevent future cysts, and in the case of birth control, sometimes worsen existing cysts.

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