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Cysts: Causes, Types, Symptoms & Treatment

Cysts are non-cancerous and have sac-like structures, which are filled with liquid almost resembling a blister. Cysts vary in size and mostly occur within a tissue and can affect any part of the body.

What Causes Cysts

Most cysts are benign and are caused by blockages in the body's lymphatic vessels. The causes of cysts are as follows:

  • Infections
  • Tumours
  • Genetic conditions
  • Defect in the cells
  • A fault in the organ of a developing embryo
  • A parasite
  • Chronic inflammatory conditions
  • Blockages of ducts that cause fluids to accumulate
  • An injury that breaks a vessel

Types Of Cysts

1. Cystic acne

Cystic acne, also known as nodulocystic acne, is a type of acne in which the skin pores become blocked, leading to inflammation and infection. Cystic acne occurs as a result of a combination of hormone changes, oil, bacteria, and dry skin cells that get trapped in your pores. This form of acne mostly develops in the face, neck, chest, back, and arms [1] .

2. Baker's cysts

Baker's cysts, also called popliteal cysts, are a type of cyst that is filled with fluid that develops at the back of the knee. It occurs due to a knee injury or arthritis. Medications, physical therapy, and draining of fluid are some of the methods that could help treat a Baker's cyst [2] .

3. Breast cysts

Breast cysts are non-cancerous and often painful. You will notice a lump in the breast area which oozes out fluid from the nipple [3] .

4. Arachnoid cysts

This type of cyst affects newborn babies. During foetal development, the arachnoid membrane splits to form an abnormal pocket of cerebrospinal fluid. The arachnoid membrane is located in the middle of the three delicate membranes, covering the spinal cord and brain [4] .

5. Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts are usually benign growing at 5 cm long or less. It is more common during a woman's reproductive years, according to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology [5] . A very few percentages of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

How To Treat Ovarian Cysts Naturally

6. Bartholin's cysts

Bartholin's cysts develop when the ducts of the Bartholin glands (situated inside the vagina) become blocked [6] .

7. Colloid cysts

Colloid cysts are benign which occur within the fluid-filled ventricles of the brain. It develops in the brain at the intersection of the paired lateral ventricles and can cause cerebrospinal fluid blockage [7] .

8 Meibomian cysts

When the eyelid glands, also called meibomian glands, get blocked, it causes chalazions. It is harmless and goes away with time [8] .

9. Pancreatic cysts

Pancreatic cysts are referred to as pseudocysts because they don't contain the type of cells usually found in other cysts. Pancreatic cysts contain cells normally found in other organs, like the intestines and stomach [9] .

10. Pilar cysts

Pilar cysts, also known as trichilemmal cysts, are fluid-filled cysts that form from a hair follicle on the scalp [10] .

11. Dentigerous cysts

Dentigerous cysts are fluid-filled cysts that form in the jaw bone and near the soft tissues of the teeth. They generally develop over the top of an unerupted tooth, usually in one of your molars or canines [11] .

12. Epididymal cysts

These develop in the vessels attached to the testes. The fluid in the cyst may contain sperm that is not alive [12] .

13. Hydatid cysts

These tapeworm-related cysts affect the liver, lungs, brain, and other organs. The treatment includes medication and surgery [13] .

Other types of cysts are ganglion cysts, dermoid cysts, periapical cysts, renal cysts, pineal gland cysts, Tarlov cysts, sebaceous cysts, vocal fold cysts and pilonidal cysts.

Symptoms Of Cysts

The signs and symptoms of a cyst depend on what type it is. An abnormal lump on any part of the body is an obvious sign. Cysts in the brain cause headaches, as well as other symptoms. Also, cysts in the kidneys or liver may have symptoms that might go unnoticed until an MRI scan, CAT scan, or ultrasound is done.

Diagnosis Of Cysts

The doctor may look at the cyst and examine by scraping off skin cells and looking at them under a microscope for detailed analysis in a laboratory.

Treatment Of Cysts

The treatment depends on the type of cyst, the location, the size, and the degree of discomfort it's causing.

Surgery is done for removing large cysts and in some cases, the doctors decide to drain the fluid by inserting a needle or catheter into the cavity.

Sometimes, the doctor examines the fluid under a microscope to check whether cancerous cells are present. If it's cancerous, surgery is recommended.

Also, in some cases, cysts resolve on their own. Just putting a warm compress on a cyst can help in the faster healing process.

Prevention Of Cysts

Most cysts can't be prevented, however, there are exceptions. The following preventive measures can help you deal with cysts:

  • Cleaning the eyelids near the eyelash line with a gentle cleanser prevents the oil ducts from getting blocked.
  • Women who are susceptible to ovarian cysts can prevent the formation of new cysts by using hormonal contraceptives.
  • You can prevent the formation of pilonidal cysts by keeping the skin in the affected area clean and dry.
View Article References
  1. [1] Ayer, J., & Burrows, N. (2006). Acne: more than skin deep.Postgraduate medical journal,82(970), 500–506.
  2. [2] Frush, T. J., & Noyes, F. R. (2015). Baker's Cyst: Diagnostic and Surgical Considerations.Sports health,7(4), 359–365.
  3. [3] Venta, L. A., Kim, J. P., Pelloski, C. E., & Morrow, M. (1999). Management of complex breast cysts.AJR. American journal of roentgenology,173(5), 1331-1336.
  4. [4] Helland, C. A., & Wester, K. (2007). A population based study of intracranial arachnoid cysts: clinical and neuroimaging outcomes following surgical cyst decompression in adults.Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry,78(10), 1129–1135.
  5. [5] Cohen, H. L., Eisenberg, P., Mandel, F., & Haller, J. O. (1992). Ovarian cysts are common in premenarchal girls: a sonographic study of 101 children 2-12 years old.AJR. American journal of roentgenology,159(1), 89-91.
  6. [6] Marzano, D. A., & Haefner, H. K. (2004). The Bartholin gland cyst: past, present, and future.Journal of lower genital tract disease,8(3), 195-204.
  7. [7] Desai, K. I., Nadkarni, T. D., Muzumdar, D. P., & Goel, A. H. (2002). Surgical management of colloid cyst of the third ventricle—a study of 105 cases.Surgical neurology,57(5), 295-302.
  8. [8] Alsuhaibani, A. H., & Al-Faky, Y. H. (2015). Large anterior orbital cyst as a late complication of chalazion surgical drainage.Eye (London, England),29(4), 585–587.
  9. [9] Kromrey, M. L., Bülow, R., Hübner, J., Paperlein, C., Lerch, M. M., Ittermann, T., ... & Kühn, J. P. (2018). Prospective study on the incidence, prevalence and 5-year pancreatic-related mortality of pancreatic cysts in a population-based study.Gut,67(1), 138-145.
  10. [10] Ramaswamy, A. S., Manjunatha, H. K., Sunilkumar, B., & Arunkumar, S. P. (2013). Morphological spectrum of pilar cysts.North American journal of medical sciences,5(2), 124–128.
  11. [11] Shetty, R. M., & Dixit, U. (2010). Dentigerous Cyst of Inflammatory Origin.International journal of clinical pediatric dentistry,3(3), 195–198.
  12. [12] Arora, B. K., Arora, R., & Arora, A. (2019). A randomised study of management modalities in epididymal cyst.International Surgery Journal,6(2), 340-344.
  13. [13] Islami Parkoohi, P., Jahani, M., Hosseinzadeh, F., Taghian, S., Rostami, F., Mousavi, A., & Rezai, M. S. (2018). Epidemiology and Clinical Features of Hydatid Cyst in Northern Iran from 2005 to 2015.Iranian journal of parasitology,13(2), 310–316.
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