Cysts: Type, Cause, Symptom, Diagnosis and Treatment

Cysts are fluid-filled sac that can be seen in many body parts, most commonly the breast, ovary, kidney, liver, etc.. They have particular names in certain areas. For instance, a cyst in the knee area is called Baker’s cyst.

The exact cause for most cysts are unknown. Most of the cysts are benign and need no special treatment. For those that cause symptoms, surgical removal or aspiration of the fluid may be helpful.


Cysts are generally named according to their location, examples including ovarian cyst, kidney cyst, liver cyst, pancreatic cyst, breast cyst, Baker’s cyst, ganglion cyst (cyst in the hand joint) and branchial cleft cyst.

Ovarian cyst

Ovarian cysts are extremely common. Most of them are caused by endometriosis. Some cysts are actually tumorous. Ovarian cysts can be seen in both children and adults.

Symptoms of ovarian cysts include lower abdominal pain, tenderness and abdominal bloating.

Ovarian cysts can be diagnosed by an ultrasound scan. The treatment depends on what causes the ovarian cyst in the first place. For instance, if the ovarian cyst is caused by endometriosis, treatment will involve medications like birth control pills. If your doctor suspects that your ovarian cyst is caused by a tumor, then surgical removal may be considered.

Kidney cyst

Kidney cyst is most commonly seen in the elderly. The number of kidney cysts can vary greatly. In conditions like polycystic kidney disease, the kidney is filled with numerous cysts. The size of the cysts can also vary.

In most cases, kidney cysts cause no symptoms and are detected incidentally when the individual is undergoing tests for other conditions. In some cases, it may cause mild lower back or abdominal discomfort. In general, kidney cysts entail no treatment for the majority of cases. For very large cysts, your doctor may recommend surgery to cut open the cysts.

Liver cyst

Liver cysts generally cause no symptoms. They are detected by a CT or ultrasound scan. They rarely need any special treatment.

Breast cyst

The exact cause for a breast cyst is unknown. It may be related to breast trauma or accumulation of breast milk, in some cases.

Breast cysts are most often detected during palpation, after you notice a lump within your breast. They are usually benign and will not turn into breast cancer. No treatment is required.

Baker’s cyst

This cyst here specifically refers to one that occurs in the back of your knee. It causes a lump behind the knee and will cause knee tightness and pain. It is most frequently caused by knee degenerative changes, such as arthritis and cartilage injury. It can be either left untreated or surgically removed, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Ganglion cyst

Ganglion cyst specifically refers to a round and cystic lump that occurs most commonly in the hand or feet joints. It is most frequently caused by repetitive use and injury of the hand or feet tendons. In most cases, it is asymptomatic. Otherwise, it may cause pain and swelling. It generally needs no special treatment. If the symptoms bother you, aspiration of the fluids and injection with steroids may be helpful.

Branchial cleft cyst

This is a congenital anomaly that is most frequently found in children and adolescents. It appears as a lump under your jaw and above your collar bone on one side of your neck. The most common complication of this cyst is secondary infection. Rarely will the cyst turn into cancer. Surgical resection of the cyst is curative.

Skin cyst

Most of the skin cysts are called epidermoid cysts, cystic sacs that are filled with skin debris. It is caused by a buildup of keratin and skin trauma. It appears as a small lump under your skin. Once the cyst gets infected, it gets red, painful and swelling. It generally needs no treatment.

Cystic acne

This is a severe form of acne that most commonly appears on the face. The acne becomes enlarged and cystic in appearance. The involved skin becomes red and bumpy. The cyst is filled with fluid or even pus. If left untreated, it may leave scars that may be disfiguring. It is treated by isotretinoin and/or oral antibiotics.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.