3

votes

Cysts and Possible PCOS?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 11, 2011 at 9:07 PM

This is a bit long, so I tried to break it into sections.

Background:

I mentioned to my ob/gyn that I was having increased pain during my cycle and even at times I thought were odd to have pain. She told me that it was more than likely just my body going through "normal" hormonal changes and I didn't need to worry (I'm 27). She mentioned the pain could possibly indicate that I have a cyst in my ovary and that it would probably burst on its own. I pushed the issue and she offered that if I am still feeling uncomfortable that she can do a more in-depth examination during my annual visit (I saw her as a new patient a couple months ago...my annual isn't for another month).

I have been paying more attention to the pain and, while I could be imagining it/scaring myself, I feel like it's getting more common and more painful. The pain I mentioned to her was closer to my back, between my spine and hip. She said this is where the ovaries are. The more recent pain feels like it's more towards the front, between my hip and a little below my belly button. I plan to have a more in-depth exam when I see her next month.

A couple weeks after talking with her, I found a sebaceous cyst on my neck region which I had looked at by a doctor. I'd had one on my shoulder sometime last year, so I was a little worried. He told me they were "normal" and they would go away on their own. Another appeared shortly after I saw him, but as he said, they all disappeared on their own.

I have found no evidence that sebaceous cysts and ovarian cysts are related or stem from the same cause, but I have found little information about either type AT ALL, most of it just saying "We don't really know what causes cysts, but they seem harmless."

Question

As you might have guessed, I'm wondering if there is a connection between these types of cysts. Does it point to some type of disorder that perhaps Conventional Wisdom doesn't connect with cysts? More specifically, I'm looking for your personal experiences. Has anyone here (specifically those with PCOS) experienced cysts in conjunction with other issues? Have you noticed any specific changes that helped you avoid cysts, or have you deemed it unnecessary to worry about them? Am I overreacting?

Thanks for your help!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:50 PM

Thanks, I appreciate you sharing. 8)

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:57 AM

I do low carb, but I would call it moderately low carb. I try to stay somewhere between 50-100 g per day. I do dairy because it doesn't seem to cause me any problems and I don't have anything against tubers, but I working on losing weight right now so I'm not having them much. My goal is to eventually try to stay below about 150 g once I've lost the weight ala Mark Sisson's recommendations. The most important thing as far as PCOS is keeping your insulin under control and I think you can do that without resorting to a VLC diet.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 13, 2011
at 05:55 PM

Welcome and good luck!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 06:02 PM

Thanks for the link. 8)

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:44 PM

Ahh I'm sorry, it didn't dawn on me that you were probably on bc pills. That was really all that was available for "treatment" when I was diagnosed with PCOS. I have not taken bc pills for about 15 years now and my cycle is still pretty all over the place. The worst symptoms for me are the hormonal imbalance which I think makes it really difficult for me to lose weight and the absolute worst is the male pattern hair growth. Nothing on the market seems to work to fix that so my options have been to either join the circus or shave everyday - I've opted for the latter.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:17 PM

eat a lot of sea weed, so I may be getting enough iodine. I used to be hypothyroid, and I don't want to tip it over into hyperthyroid now that things have normalized, so I will be careful. When I used to see a nutritionist she would paint a square on the inside of my arm with iodine tincture and how quickly it disappeared was supposed to indicate what my iodine levels were. This seems like it would be an easy self test, I just don't know what the parameters are for time/absorbtion. Time for some googling.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:16 PM

I eat a lot of sea weed, so I may be getting enough iodine. I used to be hypothyroid, and I'm don't want to tip it over into hyperthyroid now that things have normalized, so I will be careful. When I used to see a nutritionist she would paint a square on the inside of my arm with iodine tincture and how quickly it disappeared was supposed to indicate what my iodine levels were. This seems like it would be an easy self test, I just don't know what the parameters are for time/absorbtion. Time for some googling.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 12, 2011
at 01:02 PM

Fibroids are benign, key word is benign here, tumors that are made up of muscle tissue and grow on your uterine wall. They affect all women, age is not a factor - I have friends from their 20's to their 50's who have them. Here, this is a good link that simply explains what they are, symptoms, treatment: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/uterine-fibroids/DS00078 Ask for an ultrasound. They either won't find anything, or if they do, will take care of it right away. Better off knowing.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:31 PM

Wow, thanks for sharing your story. I hope the paleo diet is able to help you. I will definitely make sure I get this test done. Thank you!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:30 PM

Thanks! Do you stick to low-carb? I do paleo, but include tubers (and dairy) in my diet.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:29 PM

Thanks, I will ask! What are fibroids?

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:28 PM

Pregnancy is very unlikely, but I think I will take your advice and make sure I get that test done. Like most answers have said, I probably don't have PCOS, but I'm obviously a little freaked about it if I'm researching it. 8)

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:26 PM

Wow, thanks for this! I definitely have drier skin than I used to. It's very possible my iodine is low, however, I haven't had it tested. I'll take a look at the links you posted. 8)

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:22 PM

Thanks, I appreciate the list! I have had more acne lately, but I was blaming other factors (heat + more exercise outside mostly). Also, I will check out the links!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:20 PM

That's the same area where I have pain. What is your diet like? Do you find dairy effects you? That's about the only thing "non-paleo" that I still eat.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:18 PM

Thanks for the link. I'm on BC that regulates my period (used to be irregular before BC), but I hope you're right and it is not PCOS. I will check those symptoms. Thanks!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 12, 2011
at 04:44 AM

I think there is something to this, even though it's pretty fringe. In addition to everything Kim said, people have reported that topical iodine can shrink and eventually remove sebaceous cysts.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on July 12, 2011
at 01:29 AM

An astute line of reasoning; +1!

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on July 12, 2011
at 01:25 AM

@Happy Now - it's important to be careful with supplemental iodine as if you don't know what you're doing you can trigger reactive thyroid problems. That being said, the Drs Jaminet recommend starting with 500mcg/day and increasing this at a rate of no more than double per month, until you hit the TUL of 12.5mg. I love it when Paleo Hacks helps people like this, so do please keep us updated and let us know how you get along. :)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:44 AM

Ooh, I just remembered that after I spent a whole weekend in the ocean trying to learn how to surf, but mostly perfecting how to get water up my nose, I came home and within a week one of the cysts on my head and an ovarian cyst both ruptured. I wonder if the iodine in the sea water helped my body do away with them?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 11, 2011
at 11:57 PM

You're blowing my mind. I have PCOS, sebaceous cysts, and I've been low on iodine every time I've done a patch test. I haven't intentionally put iodized salt on anything in ages, although I'm sure whenever I eat out it is on everything. I think this calls for some self experimenting. Anyone have any suggestions on what kind of iodine and how much would be needed to be effective?

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8 Answers

7
0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed

(4528)

on July 11, 2011
at 11:33 PM

Hi Ali,

Since no one has mentioned iodine yet, I'll throw out a theory about cysts and iodine in case it's helpful in your case.

I've read an awful lot linking cysts with low iodine levels. Dr. Jorge Flechas is particularly vocal about it, and claims that cysts - sebaceous cysts, ovarian cysts, Fibrocystic breasts, keloids, etc. - are all markers of iodine deficiency.

I began researching iodine after I noticed several unusual (for me) symptoms about a year into going paleo, including dry skin and cold extremities. I hadn't connected it at the time, but I also developed a sebaceous cyst on the top of my head. My doctor told me I could have it surgically removed if it ever started bothering me too much, but thankfully, I didn't have to bother. I began iodine therapy (supplementation as well as applying it topically to the cyst) it slowly disappeared on its own.

In a different PH thread I shared my findings as to why someone living a paleo lifestyle might be at risk of becoming iodine deficient. It may be more of us than you'd think. Richard Nikoley calls it the "Hidden Benefit of the SAD."

Anyway, this information doesn't seem to be very mainstream, but I think it's worth looking into. Here are links to the podcasts in which Dr. Flechas talks iodine. I can't tell you exactly where in the audio tracks he talks specifically about cysts, but it's in there.

Dr. Jorge Flechas On Iodine Therapy For Thyroid, Fibromyalgia & More

Healthy By Nature (part 1)

Healthy By Nature (part 2)

Here's another good article about iodine on Lew Rockwell.

Also try Googling "PCOS and iodine" - good luck!

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on July 12, 2011
at 01:25 AM

@Happy Now - it's important to be careful with supplemental iodine as if you don't know what you're doing you can trigger reactive thyroid problems. That being said, the Drs Jaminet recommend starting with 500mcg/day and increasing this at a rate of no more than double per month, until you hit the TUL of 12.5mg. I love it when Paleo Hacks helps people like this, so do please keep us updated and let us know how you get along. :)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:44 AM

Ooh, I just remembered that after I spent a whole weekend in the ocean trying to learn how to surf, but mostly perfecting how to get water up my nose, I came home and within a week one of the cysts on my head and an ovarian cyst both ruptured. I wonder if the iodine in the sea water helped my body do away with them?

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:26 PM

Wow, thanks for this! I definitely have drier skin than I used to. It's very possible my iodine is low, however, I haven't had it tested. I'll take a look at the links you posted. 8)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 11, 2011
at 11:57 PM

You're blowing my mind. I have PCOS, sebaceous cysts, and I've been low on iodine every time I've done a patch test. I haven't intentionally put iodized salt on anything in ages, although I'm sure whenever I eat out it is on everything. I think this calls for some self experimenting. Anyone have any suggestions on what kind of iodine and how much would be needed to be effective?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:16 PM

I eat a lot of sea weed, so I may be getting enough iodine. I used to be hypothyroid, and I'm don't want to tip it over into hyperthyroid now that things have normalized, so I will be careful. When I used to see a nutritionist she would paint a square on the inside of my arm with iodine tincture and how quickly it disappeared was supposed to indicate what my iodine levels were. This seems like it would be an easy self test, I just don't know what the parameters are for time/absorbtion. Time for some googling.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 12, 2011
at 04:44 AM

I think there is something to this, even though it's pretty fringe. In addition to everything Kim said, people have reported that topical iodine can shrink and eventually remove sebaceous cysts.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:17 PM

eat a lot of sea weed, so I may be getting enough iodine. I used to be hypothyroid, and I don't want to tip it over into hyperthyroid now that things have normalized, so I will be careful. When I used to see a nutritionist she would paint a square on the inside of my arm with iodine tincture and how quickly it disappeared was supposed to indicate what my iodine levels were. This seems like it would be an easy self test, I just don't know what the parameters are for time/absorbtion. Time for some googling.

3
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on July 11, 2011
at 11:03 PM

Hi Ali,

Here is a possible, albeit tenuous, connection between ovarian cysts and sebaceous cysts:

  1. PCOS causes increased androgen levels.

  2. Increased androgen levels can aggravate acne (PCOS patients often have problems with acne).

  3. Acne and sebaceous cysts are related conditions.

  4. Therefore, PCOS may increase the incidence of sebaceous cysts.

  5. Note: this does not mean that you have PCOS just because you've had sebaceous cysts.

  6. Also, ovarian cysts are extremely common and do not usually indicate that someone has PCOS.

Hope this helps.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:22 PM

Thanks, I appreciate the list! I have had more acne lately, but I was blaming other factors (heat + more exercise outside mostly). Also, I will check out the links!

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on July 12, 2011
at 01:29 AM

An astute line of reasoning; +1!

2
Ca8afbeacc017cf4882eb8aacc4d7551

on July 12, 2011
at 08:10 AM

I had a similar situation...my periods (mainly the last couple of days) were getting more and more painful. My Ob/Gyn told me I must just have ovarian cysts, and they'll go away on their own. But the pain increased to the point that I couldn't eat, sleep, or move out of the fetal position for a couple days a month. I even had to take those days off of work. Finally, I decided my Dr. wasn't paying enough attention to what I was saying, so I switched to a new Dr. My new Dr. immediately said "I think you have endometriosis." She did a vaginal ultrasound and saw some cysts, but there was no way of knowing whether they were endo without surgery. Endometriosis can either be uterine tissue that grows outside the uterus or in the form of blood filled cysts called 'chocolate cysts,' which is what I had. 2 of them actually. Grapefruit sized. I had surgery to remove them in Feb '10. Endo, and it's accompanying hormonal issues are basically why I've begun eating Paleo. Even though I've been on birth control (to stop periods - periods irritate endo tissue and make it grow) I've continued to re-grow more cysts. I've only been eating Paleo for a few weeks, but I really hope it helps to regulate my hormones. They've wreaked havoc on my life for too long! Anyways, if you don't feel like your Dr. is listening to you, find a new one! Ask your friends or co-workers for a recommendation - find someone who will listen to you!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:31 PM

Wow, thanks for sharing your story. I hope the paleo diet is able to help you. I will definitely make sure I get this test done. Thank you!

1
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 12, 2011
at 02:27 AM

I don't know if we're just meaner here in NY but when we want our docs to do something - they sure as hell better do it. I have insurance, I want it, schedule it, because this conversation won't stop until we're in agreement. I absolutely see red when doc's don't take the time with me as a patient. I can understand with x-rays being cautious but running tests? No harm there.

Have you been given, or offered, an ultrasound? That's going to show exactly what's happening inside you. I was having weird heavy periods and horrific cramps last year and, thankfully, have an amazing gyn as she scheduled me in for an ultrasound as soon as I told her what was happening. Lo and behold.. three fibroids. Two still embedded, one had popped out. I opted out of surgery, 3-weeks flat on my back recovery, and chose to go back on the pill as it can actually reverse the fibroids if they're not too bad. It's taken a year to find the right dosage for my body but I can honestly say as of this last month I'm back to normal, nothing out of the ordinary anymore. Ask - it would be beneficial I think. Be well!

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 12, 2011
at 01:02 PM

Fibroids are benign, key word is benign here, tumors that are made up of muscle tissue and grow on your uterine wall. They affect all women, age is not a factor - I have friends from their 20's to their 50's who have them. Here, this is a good link that simply explains what they are, symptoms, treatment: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/uterine-fibroids/DS00078 Ask for an ultrasound. They either won't find anything, or if they do, will take care of it right away. Better off knowing.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:29 PM

Thanks, I will ask! What are fibroids?

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 06:02 PM

Thanks for the link. 8)

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 13, 2011
at 05:55 PM

Welcome and good luck!

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:37 AM

I begged my ND to do the tests to find out if I had PCOS (which I do) for two years. I have regular cycles, so maybe she just thought I was crazy. She offered to do the testing out of the blue after I had given up asking. Arrrrghh! Is there some part of med school where they tell you that it is important to be dismissive of any patient's concerns if they do a lot of research and then ask for a test?

So if you feel deep down in your gut that something is awry you need to follow that feeling. Get an ultrasound and have a looksie at those ovaries. You'll sleep better at night knowing one way or the other.

I would wager that there is a 99% chance you are not in any danger from your symptoms, but it might be worth taking a pregnancy test if there is any chance you could be pregnant because ectopic pregnancies can be dangerous and cause pain near your ovaries.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:28 PM

Pregnancy is very unlikely, but I think I will take your advice and make sure I get that test done. Like most answers have said, I probably don't have PCOS, but I'm obviously a little freaked about it if I'm researching it. 8)

1
A470afb4227aa740ba4d320c51ae371b

on July 11, 2011
at 10:04 PM

I have had endometriosis for 11 yrs and was diagnosed with ovarian cysts 5 yrs ago. The cysts come and go, luckily I have never had one burst (it is very painful). I notice the cysts coming back when I have a pain inbetween my belly button and pubic bone to one side or the other. It causes me to get bloated, and uncomfortable pains every so often. I have found that I need to be extra careful with my paleo diet and pretty strict and I don't have as much pain from them. If you have any other questions feel free to email me at thecavewomanskitchen@gmail.com

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:20 PM

That's the same area where I have pain. What is your diet like? Do you find dairy effects you? That's about the only thing "non-paleo" that I still eat.

1
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on July 11, 2011
at 09:47 PM

I would doubt that it is PCOS - I was diagnosed with that about 20 years ago and it usually comes with a very random menstrual cycle. For example, I may skip sometimes 6-8 months between periods. There's a ton of symptoms of PCOS as well but I don't remember if painful periods is one. Here's a link to symptoms PCOS Symptoms

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:44 PM

Ahh I'm sorry, it didn't dawn on me that you were probably on bc pills. That was really all that was available for "treatment" when I was diagnosed with PCOS. I have not taken bc pills for about 15 years now and my cycle is still pretty all over the place. The worst symptoms for me are the hormonal imbalance which I think makes it really difficult for me to lose weight and the absolute worst is the male pattern hair growth. Nothing on the market seems to work to fix that so my options have been to either join the circus or shave everyday - I've opted for the latter.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:18 PM

Thanks for the link. I'm on BC that regulates my period (used to be irregular before BC), but I hope you're right and it is not PCOS. I will check those symptoms. Thanks!

0
B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

on July 12, 2011
at 03:52 AM

Definitely keep pushing your doctor to get answers because pain indicates something is not right and I don't think you ever want to make assumptions. The good news about PCOS though is a low carb paleo diet will help it. Also, FWIW, the cysts that I've had occurred between ovulation and my period, I felt them on either side below my belly button and more towards the front and they were sharp pains that would come and go. They always resolved themselves though. Your doctor should be able to see right away with an ultrasound if you have them.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 12, 2011
at 12:30 PM

Thanks! Do you stick to low-carb? I do paleo, but include tubers (and dairy) in my diet.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 14, 2011
at 12:50 PM

Thanks, I appreciate you sharing. 8)

B14dc4aa1ddefbec3bc09550428ee493

(3909)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:57 AM

I do low carb, but I would call it moderately low carb. I try to stay somewhere between 50-100 g per day. I do dairy because it doesn't seem to cause me any problems and I don't have anything against tubers, but I working on losing weight right now so I'm not having them much. My goal is to eventually try to stay below about 150 g once I've lost the weight ala Mark Sisson's recommendations. The most important thing as far as PCOS is keeping your insulin under control and I think you can do that without resorting to a VLC diet.

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