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Definition

A cyst is an abnormal pocket of fluid, like a blister, that can form in many different areas of the body including the skin, genitals and internal organs. Cysts are common and can occur anywhere in the body in persons of any age. Cysts usually contain a gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substance. 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.

There are different types of cysts are found, these are-

  • Ovarian Cyst
  • Ganglion
  • Baker's cyst
  • Sebaceous cysts
  • Branchial and thyroglossal cysts
  • Breast cysts

Causes

Causes depend on which type of cysts a patient has. Most cysts form for no apparent reason. A ganglion develops when a jelly-like substance accumulates in one of two places - a joint capsule or a tendon sheath - and causes it to balloon out. Oral contraceptive/birth control pill use decreases the risk of developing ovarian cysts because they prevent the ovaries from producing eggs during ovulation.
Some of the known causes of cysts include:

  • 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

Symptoms

The common symptoms are-

  • Pelvic pain shortly before your period begins or just before it ends.
  • Pelvic pain during intercourse (dyspareunia).
  • Nausea, vomiting or breast tenderness similar to that experienced during pregnancy.
  • Fullness or heaviness in your abdomen Sudden, severe abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Pain accompanied by fever or vomiting
  • Weight gain (symptom occurring in polycystic ovaries and endometrial cysts)
  • Severe menstrual cramps (symptom occurring in endometrial cysts)

 Treatment

The treatment for a cyst depends upon the cause of the cyst along with its location. If you have not yet gone through menopause, you may not need any treatment, unless the cyst is very big or causing pain. The need for treatment depends mostly upon the location and size of the cyst.  If the cyst is small, not disturbing surrounding tissue, and not causing symptoms, some doctors will refrain from treatment.

Cysts are treated by making a small surgical opening into the skin and removing the sac (excision biopsy). This is done under local anaesthetic and may require stitches, removed a few days later.

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