Cysts – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

A cyst is a closed sac having a distinct membrane and division on the nearby tissue. They may contain air, fluids, or semi-solid material. A collection of pus is called an abscess, not a cyst. Once formed, the cyst could go away by itself or will have to be removed using surgery.

Symptoms of Cysts

Sometimes you can feel a cyst yourself when you feel an abnormal “lump.” For example, cysts of the skin or tissues beneath the skin are usually noticeable. Cysts in the mammary glands (breasts) also may be palpable (meaning that you can feel them when you examine the area with your fingers). Cysts of internal organs such as the kidneys or liver may not produce any symptoms or may not be detected by the affected individual.

Cause of Cysts

A ganglion cyst contains a thick, clear, mucus-like fluid similar to the fluid found in the joint. No one knows what triggers the formation of a ganglion. Women are more likely to be affected than men. Ganglia are common among gymnasts, who repeatedly apply stress to the wrist.

Corpus luteum cyst. When LH does surge and your egg is released, the ruptured follicle begins producing large quantities of estrogen and progesterone in preparation for conception. This changed follicle is now called the corpus luteum. Sometimes, however, the escape opening of the egg seals off and fluid accumulates inside the follicle, causing the corpus luteum to expand into a cyst.

These cysts are usually found on the face, neck, and trunk. They are usually slow- growing, painless, freely movable lumps beneath the skin. Occasionally, however, a cyst will become inflamed and tender.

How are cysts diagnosed ?

Cysts are usually easily diagnosed by their appearance to the trained eye. In some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to rule out other conditions with a similar appearance.

Treatment of Cysts

Cysts usually do not cause pain unless they rupture or become infected or inflamed. Some cysts disappear on their own without treatment. Other cysts may need to be drained. That involves piercing the cyst with a sharp object and draining it. Some inflamed cysts can be treated with an injection of cortisone medication to cause it to shrink. Cysts that do not respond to other treatments or reoccur can be removed surgically.

However, it’s important to treat the underlying cause of the problem, such as arthritis, to prevent further development of the cyst. Doing this often helps to relieve any swelling and discomfort caused by the cyst.

If the cyst is large or causing pain, drawing off the fluid with a needle can help, but the cyst will often recur following this procedure.

For functional cysts a “watch and wait” approach is taken. Functional cysts tend to dissolve over time and treatment is not needed. The doctors do, however, require the woman to return after two menstrual cycles to get a pelvic exam and/or ultrasound again.