6 Ways to Shrink an Ovarian Cyst Without Surgery

Ovarian cysts are common, and surgery is one of the main treatments. If you want to avoid a medical procedure, there are a few options to help shrink ovarian cysts. However, these purported remedies have little to no scientific backing.

This article looks at how to get rid of an ovarian cyst without surgery, what research says, and signs that surgery may be the best option for you.

A young woman experiencing pelvic pain

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6 Ways to Shrink Ovarian Cysts

Some practitioners of alternative medicine claim that various natural home remedies can help shrink ovarian cysts. However, most of these claims have no scientific backing.

Much research on natural treatments for ovarian cysts focuses on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition involving hormonal and metabolic imbalances that lead to multiple ovarian cysts. However, you may experience a single or occasional ovarian cyst independent of PCOS, as well.

Small, preliminary studies suggest that a few things may help shrink or prevent ovarian cysts. These remedies might help with PCOS symptoms, but none of them has been shown to shrink or get rid of ovarian cysts.

Speaking with your healthcare provider before using any home remedies for ovarian cysts is critical.


Research suggests flaxseed may help reduce PCOS symptoms and prevent ovarian cysts. It’s unknown whether the same would apply to ovarian cysts that aren’t related to PCOS.

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil naturally lower certain hormones, such as testosterone, which may help with PCOS, a condition with raised levels of testosterone. It can also improve metabolic function (metabolism), including insulin levels.

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are available online and in stores selling health foods and supplements. You can take it in supplement form or add it to various foods.

Castor Oil Pack

Castor oil has known medicinal benefits as an anti-inflammatory and laxative. Some research shows that a castor oil pack can help relieve constipation, which means it can penetrate the skin and have a medicinal effect. A castor oil pack is used topically (on the skin). However, no research has been performed on castor oil for shrinking ovarian cysts.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Blackstrap Molasses

A small 2013 study suggests that apple cider vinegar can help restore ovulation in women with PCOS. This may be because apple cider vinegar lowers blood sugar levels. This means it’s possible that apple cider vinegar could help treat PCOS and help prevent ovarian cysts from forming. However, no research has been done on ovarian cysts outside of PCOS.

Blackstrap molasses contains more nutrients than other types of molasses. It has many purported health benefits. Research has shown it to be an antioxidant, which may help lower inflammation and promote overall health. However, as with apple cider vinegar, no studies have investigated molasses of any type for shrinking ovarian cysts.

Diabetes and Apple Cider Vinegar

If you have diabetes and want to try this treatment, talk to your healthcare provider. You may need extra blood-sugar checks until you know how it affects you.


Medicinal interest in beets and beetroot focuses on betacyanins, the bright, reddish-violet pigment that gives beets their distinctive look. Research suggests it has many health benefits, including:

  • Antioxidant (prevents or delays cell damage)
  • Anti-inflammatory (reduces inflammation)
  • Anticancer (may help treat cancer)
  • Neuroprotective (protects nerve cells)
  • Antibacterial (helps to prevent the growth or spread of bacteria)

However, no research has examined the potential benefits of beets for ovarian cysts. Alternative practitioners say it helps prevent, shrink, or relieve symptoms of ovarian cysts by clearing toxins and balancing your body's acidity. It's not clear that beetroot does those things or, if it does, how it would benefit someone with ovarian cysts. 


Ginger, especially ginger tea, is often promoted as a way to relieve symptoms of ovarian cysts. Some proponents say it helps shrink cysts and relieve symptoms of PCOS. As with many other natural remedies, this is based mainly on the fact that ginger is an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, and a cancer fighter.

Some preliminary nonhuman research studies found that high doses of ginger balance hormones and help improve PCOS. Researchers noted it did so without any side effects. This may or may not apply to humans.

Another research review suggests that ginger may help treat cancer by shrinking cancerous tumors, keeping cancer cells from spreading. Another study had similar results, specifically for ovarian cancer.

However, that doesn’t mean it shrinks ovarian growths that aren’t cancerous or related to PCOS. Ginger has yet to be researched for that use.

Sanjie Zhentong Capsule (SZC)

The Chinese herb sanjie zhentong has been studied for many uses related to ovarian health. Among them is one small study that reported SZC effectively shrank ovarian cysts.

About 82% of participants' cysts shrank significantly in the group treated with the herbal medicine. During the same period, cysts shrank in only 52% of participants in the control group (which received no treatment).

Additional Nonsurgical Treatments

There are some other options for treating ovarian cysts, which include:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications: Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), or Tylenol (acetaminophen) may help reduce pain.
  • Heat: A heating pad or rice bag on your lower abdomen may help relieve discomfort.
  • Birth control pills: The hormones in the pill may prevent cysts by correcting a hormonal imbalance.
  • Massage: Massage therapy may lessen pain by relieving stress and muscle tension.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): This device, often performed by physical therapists, relieves pain by delivering a mild electrical charge into tense muscles. 

Signs You May Need Surgery

You may need surgery for your ovarian cyst if it's:

  • Large
  • Persistent (doesn't go away on its own)
  • Causing symptoms

You may also need your cyst surgically removed if there's any concern it could be cancerous. It's uncommon, but sometimes emergency surgery becomes necessary for a ruptured or twisted ovarian cyst.


A few non-surgical remedies may help you shrink an ovarian cyst or manage the symptoms of a single cyst or PCOS. Treatments with some scientific backing include the Chinese herb sanjie zhentong, and flaxseed. Castor oil packs, apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses, beetroot, and ginger are commonly recommended but more research is needed. Pain medications, heat, massage therapy, and a TENS unit may help with symptoms.

A Word From Verywell

While surgery isn’t always necessary for an ovarian cyst, it may be your best bet to eliminate the pain and other symptoms they can cause. It could also save you the pain of a rupture. Talk to your healthcare provider about your fears regarding surgery and whether they think alternative treatments may help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What fuels ovarian cyst growth?

    Hormones typically are what causes ovarian cysts to develop. Hormones can be a result of ovulation, pregnancy, or endometriosis, which involves abnormal growth of the uterine lining. In polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the cysts are fueled by testosterone and high insulin levels.

  • Does diet affect ovarian cysts?

    Diet may affect ovarian cysts, but little research has been done in this area. One 2016 study suggested that high levels of dietary fat may be linked to more frequent cysts, but the findings weren’t definitive.

  • What are nonhormonal medications for ovarian cysts?

    Nonhormonal medications won’t get rid of an ovarian cyst. Pain medications may help manage symptoms. If you have PCOS, you may benefit from a diabetes drug called metformin.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Adrienne Dellwo
Adrienne Dellwo is an experienced journalist who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has written extensively on the topic.