Cyst 101: Causes, Types, & Treatment Options

Cysts occur within tissue and can affect any part of the body. They are extremely common and usually benign. Below, we will discuss everything you need to know about cysts including what they are, common types of cysts, and how to treat cysts.   

What is a cyst?

A cyst is a sac or pocket of tissue that contains fluid, air, or other substances. Cysts can grow almost anywhere in your body or under your skin. There are many different types of cysts, and most cysts are benign, or noncancerous. 

Common Types of Cysts

Cysts occur commonly in many different tissues and organs and are often named according to where they occur. For example: ovarian cysts, bladder cysts, breast cysts, liver cysts, kidney cysts, pancreatic cysts, vaginal cysts, skin cysts, thyroid cysts, etc. Some of the most common cysts include:

  • Vaginal cyst: Vaginal cysts are closed pockets of air, fluid, or pus located on or under the vaginal lining.

  • Ovarian cyst: Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on one or both of the ovaries. They may develop as a normal part of the female reproductive cycle or be pathologic.

  • Cystic acne: This is the most severe type of acne, and it develops when cysts form deep underneath your skin.

  • Thyroid cyst: These cysts occur in the thyroid nodules and are usually benign. These can be less and a centimeter or very large.

  • Ganglion cyst: Ganglion cysts form near a tendon, most commonly occurring at the wrist.

  • Pilonidal cyst: Pilonidal cysts arise in the tissue at the base of the tailbone between the buttocks.

  • Dermoid cyst: A type of benign tumor of the ovary that contains multiple cystic spaces and various tissue types. 

Cyst Treatment

As we mentioned, cysts are usually not dangerous and oftentimes can go away on their own. Whether a cyst needs treatment depends on a number of factors, including:

  • the type of cyst

  • the location of the cyst

  • if the cyst is causing pain or discomfort

  • whether the cyst is infected

Pilonidal Cyst Treatment

Some cysts, like pilonidal cysts, may require actual treatment due to the discomfort they cause patients. Recommended pilonidal cyst treatment involves a skilled surgeon or colorectal specialist making an incision on the cyst and then draining it.

If you discover a cyst somewhere on your body, call your doctor to schedule an appointment. Our colorectal specialists have years of experience in diagnosing and treating pilonidal cysts, so call today!