The final focus on our ovaries will conclude with a couple eyebrow raising concerns we may experience in our lifetime; ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Most ovarian problems are caused by cysts. Cysts are solid or fluid filled growths that can occur on or inside an ovary. They are common and typically not threatening or painful, unless one ruptures. A cyst could grow to a size where it causes damage to an ovary or Fallopian tube, and sometimes a cyst can become cancerous. In either case, it is important to have regular well-woman checks to monitor ovarian health. Two types of ovarian cysts are:
1. Follicular cyst - occurs with the follicle of the ovary does not rupture or release its egg, instead it grows until it becomes a cyst.
2. Corpus luteum cyst - abnormal changes in the follicle of the ovary after an egg has been released can cause the egg's cavity to seal off and accumulate fluid developing a cyst.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition defined by multiple cysts growing on the outer edge of the ovaries due to a lack of hormones which controls egg release from the follicle (see last weeks post). PCOS can lead to infertility and other complications. This condition involves infrequent, irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles, and often excess male hormone (androgen) levels.
There are many factors which affect the health and function of our ovaries such as genetics, environmental factors, and diet. As always, I stress the importance of consuming life-giving foods, herbs, exercise, and self-care to heal and maintain our womb. These basic lifestyle changes not only target our reproductive system, but our entire vessels.