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Cysts - Types, Causes, Treatment And Home Remedies

Last Updated: Sep 03, 2019

What are Cysts?

A cyst is a pocket like a membrane tissue which forms a sac of membrane containing air or fluid. The formation can take place in any part of the body. There are many types of noncancerous cyst which vary in sizes. If its size increase, it can displace the internal organ. They are not just normal tissue but it is a distinct membrane dislocated from the nearby tissues. The outer portion is known as the wall and the main cause is infection or clogging of sebaceous glands.

What are the types of cysts?

Cysts can be of many types like:

  • Epidermoid Cyst: It is formed by the building up of Keratin under the skin. Most of the time, skin colour becomes yellow, tanned and gets filled with thick material. At times, these unusual growth swells and gets painful after infection.
  • Sebaceous Cyst: These types are found on the faces, necks or on the torso. If it is large in size then it can be painful and even cause pressure. Sebaceous are mostly noncancerous and grow slowly.
  • Breast Cyst: Most of them are formed in the breast are non-cancerous. The main causes are the lumps in the breast. Most of the time women are aware of their breast specifically. If there is any change they should consult a doctor immediately.
  • Ganglion Cyst: It is basically formed at the feet, hands, wrist and ankles. These are specifically round in shape, filled with fluid and formed with a lump of tissues. Fluid accumulation can be formed due to the injury or trauma but in most of the cases, the reason is unknown. These are very common and harmless, they even do not cause any pain in the body. But if they grow in size they can be harmful.
  • Pilonidal Cyst: It forms cleft on the top of the buttocks. These are normally formed due to the hormonal changes or at the time of puberty. It can also occur due to the friction of clothes and sitting for a long time. They consist of small holes which become infected and gets filled with fluid or pus.

What's the difference between a tumour and a cyst?

Both cyst and tumor are an accumulation of tissues or forming up of lumps under the skin. It is very hard to tell them apart as they are often found in the same places. It is a small sac of tissue filled with air or fluid, while the tumor is the extra cell of accumulated tissues.

What are the symptoms and signs of a cyst?

Most of the signs and symptoms are enormously depend upon the type of it. People become aware when there is a formation of an abnormal lump in the body. Cyst in the breast can be detected by touching or pressing the area where there is a pain because most of the times breast cysts are painful. In majority of the cases ovarian cysts do not have any symptoms. However, symptoms can appear as the cyst grows. Symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Pain in the pelvic region before or during the menstrual cycle
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pain in the lower back or thighs
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Some of the symptoms of an ovarian cyst that need immediate medical attention are inclusive of

  • Severe or sharp pelvic pain
  • Fever
  • Faintness or dizziness
  • Rapid breathing

What are the causes of cysts?

The common cause of cyst include tumours, infections, genetic conditions, defect in the cells, parasites, breaking of a vessel due to injury, blockage of the ducts in the body, fault in the developing embryo. Most of the time they are formed due to the blockage of the nerves in the body. The natural drainage system of the body gets blocked thus causing a cyst.

What are the treatments for cysts?

The treatment depends on the patient’s age, nature, type and various symptoms. The doctor may also advise the patient to wait and watch and not to undergo any treatment. As sometimes, it can resolve on its own within a few weeks to a months time. Typically, watchful waiting is the option when the symptoms aren’t severe and it is small and filled with fluid. Having said that, following up with ultrasound tests of the pelvis is required to detect any change in the size.

Secondly, birth control pills reduce the possibility of the formation of new ones in the subsequent menstrual cycles. The chances of suffering from ovarian cancer are also reduced with prolonged intake of oral contraceptives. Eventually, surgery becomes the last line of defence if it doesn’t appear to be a functional one. As it is growing in size with time and has persisted over 2-3 months. Otherwise, the one which causes pain may need to be surgically operated and removed. Here are the few treatments suggested for:

  • Ovarian cystectomy is a procedure where they are surgically removed but not the ovaries.
  • Oophorectomy is a technique where they are removed along with the affected ovary but the other one is untouched.
  • Laparoscopy is employed to treat most of them. It is a keyhole surgical technique wherein tiny incisions are made on the stomach and gas is inserted to bloat up the pelvis that allows a doctor to access the ovaries. A laparoscope is inserted into the abdomen in order to allow the surgeon to see the internal organs clearly. Then it is removed through the tiny incisions. Laparoscopic removal requires a shorter downtime and causes considerably less pain.
  • Laparotomy is preferred in case of a cancerous cyst or one that is too big in size for a laparoscopy. In such case, a single but a comparatively larger incision is made to allow access to the surgeon. The cyst along with the ovary may have to be taken out and then sent to the laboratory to check for malignancy.

When does someone need medical care for a cyst?

Medical care is needed in the following scenarios:

  • Both the ovaries have been affected
  • If the size exceeds 3 inches
  • If it is not a functional one
  • Development of a cyst despite the fact that the patient hasn’t started her menstrual cycle
  • If they form even post-menopause
  • Even if they grow in spite of the patient taking contraceptives
  • Possibility of ovarian cancer

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

There is no non-eligibility criterion as such. However, the first line of treatment would be to just wait and watch as maximum cysts often tend to go away on their own. Secondly would be to administer oral contraceptives that would take care of the problem. Only if the above-mentioned treatments doesn’t work, one should opt for surgical removal of the growths.

What are the side effects of cysts treatment?

The possible side effects include:

  • The ovarian cysts might develop again even if a cystectomy has been carried out.
  • The pain may not reduce completely
  • Chances of scar tissue at the site of the surgery; on the fallopian tubes, pelvis or the ovaries
  • Infections
  • Damage caused to the bladder or the bowel at the time of surgery

How do you Test for Ovarian Cysts?

Possible tests for diagnosing the ovarian cysts can be inclusive of :

  • A positive pregnancy test may be indicating that the corpus luteum has formed into cyst.
  • Pelvic ultrasound: A high frequency sound wave is send and images of the ovaries are taken. this helps the doctor in confirming the diagnosis.
  • Laparoscopy: In this an instrument is inserted into the abdomen by making a small incision in the abdomen. The doctor removes the ovarian cyst.
  • CA125 blood test: In women suffering from the ovarian cancer the levels of CA125 are always elevated. This test is also called cancer antigen 125."

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The post-treatment guidelines are:

  • One will have to take things easy for about 15 days
  • Some amount of pain near the stomach area is normal
  • In case of heavy and persistent bleeding, swelling or severe pain in the abdominal area, fever and thick vaginal discharge, one should contact her general physician without delay.
  • Regular pelvic tests are a necessity in order to detect any further growth in the ovaries
  • In addition to these, any aberration in the menstrual cycle should be reported to the doctor immediately.

How long do infected cysts take to heal?

If a laparoscopy has been performed, then the patient can resume their daily activities within 24 hours. However, any strenuous activity including exercising should be struck off the itinerary for about a week or possibly more . On the other hand, post laparotomy, 4-day hospital stay becomes necessary. Normal activities can resume only after a month or 6 weeks, as advised by the doctor.

What is the price of cysts treatment in India?

The average price for removal of the cyst through surgery is within the range of Rs.35,000 - Rs. 4,50,000 depending upon the type.

A cystectomy surgery helps remove them without causing any harm to the ovary, leaving it unaffected, and thus preserving the patient’s fertility. Having said that, post-cystectomy there always remains a possibility of new growth on the other ovary. An oophorectomy is the only way to ensure that such further growths are absolutely prevented. However, it would compromise on the patient’s fertility as both the ovaries need to be surgically removed during such a surgery. So, even after successful surgery to remove them, they can sometimes recur.

Is it possible to prevent cysts?

Most of the times cysts cannot be prevented but there can be exceptions.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Having discussed earlier, the alternatives to surgically removing cysts are waitful and careful watching’ as to what happens to them or the intake of oral contraceptives.

What are the home remedies for cysts?

Here are the home remedies for cyst:

  • Tea Tree Oil: It has antimicrobial elements which help in the killing of bacteria, fungi, viruses and all the other responsible pathogens. Some of them are caused by inner hair growth and formed when the hair follicles are not grown properly. It also decreases the chances of getting one.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Another natural form to get rid of cysts. It helps to heal up to a limited extent. The acetic acid in the apple cider vinegar which is anti-microbial helps getting rid of cysts.
  • Aloe Vera: It is an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial herb which heals both pain and irritation occurs due to the medical condition. Aloe Vera reduces their appearance and even helps us get rid of some of the problems.
  • Castor Oil: Noticeably it kills bacteria that live in the skill and cause acne and cysts in the skin.

Key Highlights:

Safety: High

Effectiveness: High

Timeliness: Medium

Relative Risk: Medium

Side Effects: Medium

Recovery Time: Medium

Price Range: Rs. 35,000 - Rs. 4,30,000


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Content Details
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Written ByDr. Neha Anand Gadodia MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery,DNB - Dermatology & VenereologyDermatology
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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