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Symptoms and Signs of Cyst (Cysts)

Doctor's Notes on Cyst (Cysts)

Cysts are abnormal sac – like structures that usually contain gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substances and have an outer wall termed a capsule. Cysts can be found anywhere in the body and may range in size from microscopic to very large; cysts are usually named according to their location; for example, ovarian cysts, breast cysts, skin cysts – other cysts have special names such as Baker’s cyst, pilonidal cysts, ganglion cysts and many others as there are hundreds of different cyst types. Signs and symptoms of cysts generally are as follows: painless lumps or bumps just underneath skin, lumps or bumps that when touched may be hard or soft, with some small cysts producing no symptoms. The signs and symptoms of other cysts depend on the location, type and extent of the disease process the cysts may be associated with. For example, disease processes such as infections, tumors, chronic inflammatory conditions, and others, can lead to cyst development with variable signs and symptoms. Such cyst development itself can be a sign or symptom of an underlying disease process.

Causes of cysts can range from defects in embryonic development, normal wear and tear on joints and ligaments. Any organ or underlying disease process where the flow of body tissue fluid may be intermittently or permanently blocked can be the cause of cyst development.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Cyst (Cysts) Symptoms

  • Small cysts or cysts in internal structures of the body may not produce symptoms.
  • Cysts in the skin or in tissues just beneath the skin may be recognized as painless lumps or bumps.
  • Cysts which can be felt may be hard or soft.
  • Sometimes it is possible to notice an increase in size of a cyst while in other cases, the size will remain constant.
  • It is often not possible to distinguish a cyst from some other cause of tissue swelling simply by physical examination.
  • If cysts arise due to a serious infection, tumor, or chronic disease, the symptoms depend on the location, type, and extent of the disease.

Cyst (Cysts) Causes

Cysts are very common abnormalities that can occur in people of any age. There are literally hundreds of different types of cysts, and they may arise through a variety of mechanisms. Defects in embryonic development can result in cysts that are present from birth. Normal "wear and tear" or small blockages in the flow of body fluids can also result in cyst formation.

What Are Uterine Fibroids? Symptoms, Treatment, Pictures Slideshow

What Are Uterine Fibroids? Symptoms, Treatment, Pictures Slideshow

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow along or within the walls of the uterus. They are primarily made up of smooth muscle cells, along with small amounts of other tissues. They range dramatically in size. Some fibroids are microscopic, whereas others may be eight or more inches across. On average, these tumors range from about the size of a large marble to a bit smaller than a baseball.

Sometimes fibroids are found alone, and other times they grow in clusters. Many of them grow, but others shrink or remain the same size as time passes.

To understand this most common noncancerous tumor in women of childbearing age, read along as we provide medically-reviewed information about symptoms, treatments, and pictures. Along the way you will learn sometimes surprising facts about these growths, arming yourself with useful information.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.