Cysts

Menstuff® has information on Cysts:

What is a cyst?
What are the causes of a cyst?
What are the types of cysts?
What are the signs and symptoms of a cyst, and how are they diagnosed?
What is the treatment for a cyst?
Cysts At A Glance
Related Information: 
Wikipedia

What is a cyst?
A cyst is a closed, saclike structure that contains fluid, gas, or semisolid material and is not a normal part of the tissue where it is located. Cysts are common and can occur anywhere in the body in people of any age. Cysts vary in size; they may be detectable only under a microscope or they can grow so large that they displace normal organs and tissues. The outer wall of a cyst is called the capsule.

What are the causes of a cyst?

Cysts can arise through a variety of processes in the body, including

  • "wear and tear" or simple obstructions to the flow of fluid,
  • infections,
  • tumors,
  • chronic inflammatory conditions,
  • genetic (inherited) conditions,
  • defects in developing organs in the embryo.

Most cysts arise due to the types of conditions listed above and are only preventable to the extent that the underlying cause is preventable.

What are the signs and symptoms of a cyst, and how are they diagnosed?

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. These cysts often are first discovered by imaging studies (X-ray, ultrasound, computerized tomography or CAT scan, and magnetic resonance imaging or MRI). Cysts may or may not produce symptoms, depending upon their size and location.

What are the types of cysts?

There are hundreds of types of cysts that can arise in the body. Here are some of the more well-known types of cysts:

  • Cysts in the breast which are part of benign proliferative ("fibrocystic") disease (fibrocystic breast disease)
  • Ovarian cysts, including dermoid cysts, a specific type of ovarian tumor that often contains cysts and other tissues
  • Cysts within the thyroid gland
  • Baker cyst (popliteal) behind the knee
  • Ganglion cysts of the joints and tendons
  • Cysts of the glands within the eyelid, termed chalazions
  • Sebaceous cysts of the small glands in the skin
  • Epidermal cysts of the skin, sometimes known as epidermal inclusion cysts
  • Bartholin cysts, enlargement of small glands near the vaginal opening
  • Pineal cysts, cysts within the pineal gland of the brain
  • Pancreatic cysts are collections of fluid within the pancreas. Some pancreatic cysts are true cysts that are lined by a cells that secrete fluid. Other pancreatic cysts are pseudocysts and do not contain specialized lining cells.
  • Polycystic kidney disease, an inherited condition in which the kidneys contain multiple cysts
  • Tarlov cysts, also known as meningeal or perineural cysts, located in the sacrum, the fused bones at the base of the spine.

The majority of cysts are benign, but some may produce symptoms due to their size and/or location. Rarely, cysts can be associated with malignant tumors (cancers) or serious infections. If you're concerned about any abnormal swelling or lump, talk to your doctor. He or she can recommend appropriate diagnostic tests to determine whether a cyst is present and the cause of the cyst.

What is the treatment for a cyst?

The treatment for a cyst depends upon the cause of the cyst along with its location. Cysts that are very large and result in symptoms due to their size may be surgically removed. Sometimes the fluid contained within a cyst can be drained, or aspirated, by inserting a needle or catheter into the cyst cavity, resulting in collapse of the cyst. Radiologic imaging may be used for guidance in draining (aspirating) cyst contents if the cyst is not easily accessible.

Surgical removal of a cyst is sometimes necessary. If there is any suspicion that a cyst is cancerous, the cyst is generally removed by surgery or a biopsy is taken of the cyst wall (capsule) to rule out malignancy. In certain cases, aspirated fluid from a cyst is examined under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present in the cyst.

If a cyst arises as part of a chronic medical condition (for example, in polycystic ovary syndrome or fibrocystic breast disease), treatment is generally directed at the underlying medical condition.

Cysts At A Glance

  • Cysts are common, closed saclike structures that contains fluid, gas, or semisolid material.
  • There are hundreds of types of cysts.
  • Cysts can be located in all areas of the body.
  • Superficial cysts may be felt as an abnormal "lump." Cysts of internal organs may not be noticed and may or may not produce symptoms.
  • A number of different processes can result in cyst formation, including blockage of the flow of fluids, infection, trauma, tumors, congenital defects, and chronic inflammatory conditions.
  • The majority of cysts are benign, but certain cases can be associated with malignant tumors.

Source:  www.medicinenet.com/cysts/article.htm

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