Types Of Cysts
Types of Cysts and When to Worry
There are literally hundreds of places in the body where a cyst can develop, and at least as many different types of cysts.
A cyst is simply a sac of abnormal tissue that develops somewhere in the body. Often, cysts are not harmful but in some cases are dangerous and even deadly. They can be microscopic, they can be extremely large, or they can be just about anywhere in between.
So, how does a cyst develop? There are a lot of ways you could end up with a cyst in your body; they are much more common than you might think. Some of the things that can cause cysts are:
- Genetic abnormalities
- Fluid producing ducts become blocked
- Parasites (like tapeworms)
- Injury resulting in broken blood vessels
- Chronic Inflammatory Disease
- Abnormal fetal development
There are many places in the body where a cyst can form. The following are some types of cysts named for where they occur in the body.
- Baker cyst (behind the knee)
- Chalazions (in eyelid)
- Sebaceoous cyst – (in a sweat gland)
- Epidermal cyst – (in epidermal layer of skin)
- Bartholyn cysts – (at glands around vagina)
- Pineal cysts – (affecting pineal gland in brain)
- Ganglion cysts (joints and tendons)
- Tarlov cysts – (also called meningeal or perineural cysts, located in the sacrum)
- Thyroid cyst
Cysts can develop in other places, too, such as the breasts or kidneys. Developing a tumor in an organ can be dangerous. Anytime you feel a lump or sudden unexplained tenderness in any area of the body, see your doctor.
Treatment of Cysts
Cysts are usually surgically removed, or “lanced.” Often, the fluid inside is drained using a large needle. Once they cyst has been deflated this way, it can be removed much more easily and through a smaller opening. Sometimes, doctors are only able to remove part of the cyst. In such cases, a laser might be employed to burn away the remaining cystic tissues.
If any infection is present, a regimen of antibiotics will be prescribed. Topical antibiotic and antibacterial solutions will be used before, during, and after the procedure.
If a tumor is found to be malignant, or cancerous, a doctor will work with you to figure out the best method of treatment. Often, this includes removal followed by radiation or chemotherapy to stop further wrong cell growth. You’ll be monitored carefully to check for “spreading,” where you begin to develop more malignant cysts in other areas of the body.
Did you know?
- The word cyst is actually a simple anatomical term for any enclosed sac in the body. The bladder is technically a cyst. Usually, though, when we talk about cysts, we’re referring to abnormal growths.
- If a sac contains pus and bacteria, it is considered to be an abscess rather than a cyst.
- Etymologically speaking, the word cyst is derived from the Greek “kystis” which simply means “pouch” or “bladder.”
- Cysts of the skin are the most common, and will usually go away on their own. Some people have had success in using heating pads on these types of cysts. Heat can help to change the consistency of the substance inside the sac so that the bloodstream can reabsorb it. Note that this only works on sebaceous cysts.
- Many types of cysts can develop in your pet’s body. As with humans, if you feel an odd lump or your animal seems to be sore and tender at a certain spot, see your veterinarian right away.
- If a cyst is cancerous, early detection can save a life.