Cysts: Types, symptoms, causes, and treatment

Cysts are closed sac-like structures that can form in various parts of the body and may contain fluid, pus, or other materials. Understanding the types, symptoms, causes, and treatments of cysts is vital to ensure proper care and management. This article will provide comprehensive insights into cysts, covering everything you should know about this topic.

Cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs, can vary in size from microscopic entities to large structures capable of displacing internal organs. The growth of cysts is influenced by the type of tissue they develop in, as well as an individual’s unique genetic factors. Understanding these factors is crucial in comprehending the complexity and potential impact of cysts on the human body.

Types of Cysts

Various types of cysts can develop in different areas of the body. While the complete list is extensive, here are a few commonly encountered ones:

Epidermoid cysts:

These are the most common types of cysts, often referred to as epidermoid cysts. They are typically found on the face, neck, and chest, arising from the accumulation of dead skin cells and trapped keratin. These cysts are generally harmless and non-cancerous, causing minimal discomfort to individuals. However, in some cases, they may require medical attention for removal or treatment.

Acne Cystic:

Acne cysts are a severe form of acne that causes large, painful bumps on the skin. These types of cysts develop when oil and dead skin cells clog the hair follicles and lead to infection or inflammation. Acne cysts can occur in various areas of the body, such as the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders.

Ganglion cysts:

Ganglion cysts

These cysts usually form on the joints or tendons of the hands and wrists, causing pain and discomfort. They are typically filled with a thick, sticky fluid that resembles gelatin. While they can go away on their own, some may require medical treatment if they cause significant discomfort or hinder movement.

Ovarian cysts:

Ovarian cysts

These cysts form on the ovaries and can be either functional or complex. Functional ovarian cysts occur during the menstrual cycle and often resolve on their own without causing any symptoms. However, complex ovarian cysts may require further examination and treatment as they can potentially become cancerous.

Breast cysts:

Breast cysts, fluid-filled sacs, are frequently found in women aged 35-50 during routine breast examinations. These benign growths can cause tenderness, swelling, or discomfort in the breasts. Although most cysts are harmless and don’t require treatment, in some cases, medical intervention may be necessary to alleviate symptoms and ensure peace of mind. Regular breast self-exams and screenings are crucial for early detection and effective management of breast health.

Breast cysts are often responsive to hormonal changes, causing them to fluctuate in size and even disappear over time, particularly during the menstrual cycle. If they grow significantly or persist, a healthcare provider may suggest a procedure to drain the cyst or perform further diagnostic tests to rule out malignancy.

Chalazion cysts:

These cysts develop on the eyelid due to a blocked oil gland. They may cause swelling, redness, and tenderness in the affected area but are typically painless and non-cancerous. In most cases, chalazion cysts resolve on their own within weeks or months without any treatment. However, if they become bothersome or interfere with vision, a healthcare provider may recommend medical intervention.

Sebaceous cysts:

Sebaceous cysts

These are non-cancerous, slow-growing cysts that form under the skin and are filled with a yellowish, smelly fluid. They can occur nearly anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the face, neck, or trunk. While sebaceous cysts typically do not require treatment, they may be removed if they become infected or cause discomfort.

Pilonidal cysts:

These cysts form near the tailbone and are common in people who sit for prolonged periods. They can become inflamed, painful, and filled with pus, requiring medical attention for drainage and antibiotics to treat any infection. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the cyst and prevent recurrence.

Hydatid cysts:

These cysts are caused by a parasitic infection and can occur in various organs, most commonly the liver and lungs. Hydatid cysts can cause severe symptoms and complications if left untreated. Treatment usually involves surgical removal of the cyst followed by medication to kill off any remaining parasites.

Besides these types, there are several other types of cysts that can develop in different parts of the body, such as:

  • Pancreatic cysts
  • Thyroid cysts
  • Dermoid cysts
  • Mucous cysts (mucocele)
  • Tarlov cysts
  • Bartholin’s gland cysts
  • Renal cysts

Symptoms of Cysts

The symptoms of a cyst can vary depending on its location, size, and type. Some cysts may be asymptomatic and go unnoticed, while others can cause significant discomfort or impact organ function. Common symptoms of cysts include:

  1. The presence of a discernible lump or swelling beneath the skin.
  2. Pain or tenderness in the affected area
  3. Redness and swelling around the cyst
  4. Fever (if the cyst is infected)
  5. Changes in appearance, such as discoloration or texture of the skin
  6. Difficulty moving or performing normal activities (depending on the location of the cyst)

If you encounter any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek advice from a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and accurate diagnosis.

Causes of Cysts

Cysts can form due to various reasons, including:

  • Blockages in ducts that carry fluid out of a section of the body
  • Long-term inflammation or injury that causes a buildup of fluid or debris
  • Genetic factors
  • Hormonal changes
  • Parasitic infections
  • Certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

It is also possible for cysts to form spontaneously without any known cause.

Treatment of Cysts

The treatment of a cyst depends on several factors, including its location, size, and type. In most cases, small or asymptomatic cysts do not require treatment and may even

Sometimes, the exact cause of a cyst remains unknown. In such instances, it is often safe to leave the cyst untreated unless it starts causing discomfort or complications. However, if the cyst becomes symptomatic or problematic, there are several treatment options available:

  • Drainage: A healthcare provider may drain the fluid from the cyst using a needle or catheter.
  • Medication: Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat any infection associated with a cyst. Hormonal birth control may also be prescribed to regulate hormonal imbalances that can contribute to cyst formation.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgical removal of the cyst may be necessary, particularly if it is large, causing discomfort or impacting organ function.

It is essential to follow any treatment plan advised by a healthcare provider and attend regular check-ups to monitor the cyst’s progress and any potential complications. In some cases, cysts may recur even after treatment and require further intervention. Therefore, ongoing communication with a healthcare provider is vital for the proper management of cysts.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you tell if a bump is a cyst?

If you notice a lump or bump under the skin, it is essential to consult a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and diagnosis. They may perform imaging tests, such as ultrasound or MRI, to determine if the bump is a cyst. or another type of growth.

Can cysts turn into cancer?

Most cysts are benign and do not pose any risk of developing into cancer. However, in rare cases, certain types of cysts may increase the risk of developing cancer. It is essential to consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment if you notice any suspicious or changing cysts.

What happens if you pop a cyst?

Popping a cyst can cause it to become infected, leading to further complications. It is essential to consult a healthcare provider for proper treatment and avoid popping or squeezing cysts at home.

Can you prevent cysts?

While some cysts may be caused by genetic factors, hormonal changes, or medical conditions that cannot be prevented, certain lifestyle modifications may help reduce the risk of developing cysts. These include maintaining good personal hygiene, avoiding prolonged pressure on the skin, and managing any underlying medical conditions. It is also essential to consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment at the first sign of a cyst to prevent complications.


Cysts are common benign growths that can occur nearly anywhere in the body. While they typically do not require treatment, some types of cysts may cause discomfort or other complications that may require medical intervention. It is essential to consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment of cysts to prevent any potential complications. With timely and appropriate management, most cysts can be effectively treated, allowing individuals to live a comfortable and healthy life. So, it is crucial to pay attention to any changes in your body and seek medical advice if you notice the development of any lumps or bumps. Remember, prevention and early intervention are key to maintaining optimal health and well-being. So, stay vigilant and prioritize your health!

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