What are cysts?

Cysts are benign sacs that contain fluid, cells, air, or other materials and may form anywhere in the body. As a rule, cysts in the lungs are air-filled, whereas those that form in the skin, lymph system, genitourinary system, or other internal organs are usually fluid-filled. Fluid in cysts may be watery or may contain blood. Cysts can develop in response to vessel blockages, infection, parasitic diseases, or abnormal tissues. Cysts can also be present in both benign (noncancerous) and malignant tumors.

Cysts are not usually serious. Many will require no treatment and many resolve on their own. Treatment is required if cysts begin to interfere with organ functioning, if a contributing infection is left untreated, if there is suspicion of cancer, or if troubling symptoms develop. Some cysts near the surface of the body can be drained in an outpatient setting. Others require surgical removal (excision) of the cyst or of tissues damaged by the cyst. Cysts that form within the brain can enlarge and cause neurologic problems.

There are a number of different types of cysts. Common locations for cysts are the skin, the ovaries, the joints and tendons, breast, pancreas, glands of the eyelids, and the kidneys. Cysts are sometimes named according to their anatomic location.

Seek prompt medical care if you have abdominal swelling with abdominal, pelvic, or lower back pain that may be severe; unexplained weight loss; frequent urination or incontinence; and a loss of appetite, or if you are being treated for a cyst but symptoms recur or are persistent.


What are the symptoms of cysts?

Many cysts exhibit no symptoms. A detectable symptom of cysts occurring either on the skin or in tissue near the surface of the body (for example, a breast cyst) is a lump on or beneath the skin that is red, tender, or produces swelling. The development of multiple cysts in the ovary may lead to an imbalance in hormone production. This can result in menstrual problems and hair growth (hirsutism... Read more about cystssymptoms


What causes cysts?

Cysts can be present at birth or be acquired throughout life. Cysts can develop in response to blockages of the flow of body fluids, such as clogged sebaceous glands, as seen in acne, or in response to infection or to a long-standing abscess or ingrown hair, as is the case with pilonidal cysts, which are cysts that occur alo... Read more about cystscauses


How are cysts treated?

Many cysts go away on their own. Other cysts must be surgically removed, or the underlying disorder may require medical treatment. Drainage of cysts usually leads to recurrence. Depending on the cause of your cysts, it is important to follow your treatment plan to ensure that you are completely rid of both the cysts and any primary disorder that may have caused them.

Treatment of ... Read more about cyststreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Skin, Hair and Nails

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