What's Behind This Cyst?

Cysts are about as diverse as it gets when it comes to medical conditions. The truth is, cysts can grow just about anywhere in the human body and they are common across all age groups. The good news is, most cysts are not cancerous; however they can be quite the nuisance to deal with, depending on their location.

Now you may be wondering what cysts actually are when they form in so many different parts of the body. These growths are actually just pockets that can be filled with air, gas, liquids (e.g., keratin or pus) or even tissue and cells. The size of a cyst can vary as much as the contents within it, ranging from microscopic to large.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to the growth of a cyst, depending on the type and the location; however, there are some common causes that relate to multiple kinds of cysts, these include:
  • Infections
  • Tumors
  • Chronic Inflammatory Conditions (e.g., pelvic inflammatory disease, rheumatoid arthritis…etc.)
  • Genetics

In the midst of hundreds of types of cysts, let’s take a closer look at some of the most well-known:

Sebaceous Cysts: These harmless cysts form as bumps under the skin and typically appear on the scalp, face, ears, trunk, back or groin. They can arise from a ruptured follicle or irritation to a sebaceous gland, found in your skin.

While these cysts are slow-growing and may disappear on their own as quickly as they appeared, you may be wondering, how can I treat or remove them? This will take a physician’s help as there are a variety of treatment options available, but no home remedies for these cysts.

Baker’s Cyst (Popliteal Cyst): These cysts typically form on the back of your leg, just below the crease the knee. Often times, these cysts are the result of an injury, disease or disorder of the knee joint that causes extra fluid to leak into the space between joints. When extra fluid builds up, this can cause excess pressure and cause bulging and swelling (i.e., a cyst).

Similar to the sebaceous cyst, many individuals do not require any treatment unless there is discomfort or it is preferred by the individual. Depending on the cause of your cyst, specialized treatment may be recommended, this can include the following treatment options: over-the-counter pain medication, steroid injections, arthrocentesis and surgery.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): This is a complex condition that is the result of  a woman’s problem with hormone levels, which impacts the normal ovulation process. When ovulation does not occur, the ovaries can develop many small fluid-filled sacs (cysts), which in turn increase the level of androgens, a type of male hormone. While there are several possible symptoms and complications that can occur as the result of PCOS, there are many treatment options available, the most important step being to find the right physician.

Depending on the unique characteristics of each individual, the recommended treatment plan may vary, but often times, it will center on the woman’s interest in becoming pregnant. Either way, experts recommend that a healthy diet and routine exercise as a great method for reducing symptoms and preventing further complications.

How Can I Identify This Cyst?

There is no doubt that cysts can be one of the most diverse medical conditions there is. Because of this, it is essential that you work with your physician to learn about your unique risk factors. Since there are hundreds of different types of cysts, some of them visible and some of them not, your physician will ensure that you are utilizing the right preventative techniques and receiving the proper testing. If you have identified a new or abnormal growth, it is essential that you tell your physician to ensure early detection in the event that it is something more serious. At Gwinnett Medical Center we offer an extensive array of specialists that can provide the testing, treatment and care you need. 


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