Cysts can occur in a variety of organs, including the chest, ovaries, knee, head or kidneys. Often, they are only discovered during a routine examination because they cause no or only nonspecific symptoms. Cysts are usually safe, but may also degenerate in rare cases. Whether treatment is required depends mainly on whether the cyst causes discomfort or not. Learn more about different therapy options here.
What is a cyst?
A cyst is a cavity in the tissue filled with fluid. It can be blood, pus, tissue fluid or sebum. The fluid can not escape because the cavity is closed by a capsule. Each cyst may have one or more fluid-filled chambers.
Cysts can occur in different sizes as well as in different organs and tissues. Generally, a distinction is made between true cysts and pseudocysts. Pseudocysts are not lined with a cell layer, but only surrounded by a connective tissue envelope. Generally, cysts can occur at any age.
There are several causes for the development of a cyst. In the chest, ovaries and testicles they are often formed by the influence of hormones.
In addition, however, chronic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or other hereditary diseases may be the cause. For example, in cystic fibrosis, cysts are common in the lungs. Finally, tumors or parasites and a drainage disorder (such as sebaceous cysts) can lead to the formation of cysts.
Symptoms of a cyst
Cysts rarely cause symptoms, so they often remain undetected for a long time. Whether and, if so, which symptoms occur depends largely on their size and their location. Some cysts are easily visible or palpable. This is usually the case when they are close to the skin, for example in the chest or in the knee.
On the other hand, if the cysts are located in internal organs, they are often discovered by a routine examination. They are particularly common in organs of the abdomen, such as the liver or kidney. Such cysts are usually only noticeable if they are greatly enlarged or burst. This can cause severe pain and sometimes bleeding.
Some cysts obstruct the duct of an organ (retention cyst). This is often the case, for example, at the paranasal sinuses. If the exit duct is blocked here, the mucus can no longer drain properly. As a result, germs can settle more easily and it can lead to repeated sinusitis.
Diagnosis is often done at random
Cysts in internal organs are often discovered by chance during a routine ultrasound scan. If further examinations are necessary, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or X-ray examination can be performed.
Cysts are benign, but in rare cases you can degenerate. If there is any doubt about the benignness, a cyst puncture can be performed. In the process, some fluid is removed from the cyst to allow it to be examined more closely in the laboratory.
If there is a benign cyst that causes no discomfort, no treatment is needed. Often it simply forms itself back on its own. However, if the cyst is too big or causes discomfort, it should be removed.
Cysts directly under the skin can be easily punctured and the contained fluid removed. However, it can happen that they fill up with liquid again over time. If this is the case, the cyst should be removed by a small operation. An operation is also recommended if healthy tissue is damaged or pain occurs.
Cysts in internal organs often need not be treated - always provided that they do not cause any problems. Nevertheless, they should be checked regularly by a doctor to detect changes. Some cysts can degenerate and develop into malignant tumors.