Dermoid Cyst Definition and Meaning :- It is a pouch like growth present at birth which contains debris like teeth, hair, liquid, or extra skin glands that are found in the skin.
What is Dermoid Cyst?
It is an abnormal growth or a benign tumor which is also called a teratoma. It is made up of structures like teeth, hair, skin glands or fluid.
It can be found in different organs or parts of the body like ovaries, spine, nasal canal, brain or the neck and can start growing much before the baby is even born. It can grow in the womb itself and cannot be prevented.
It is a very slow growing cyst and can go unnoticed until a child grows into an adult. Some Dermoid cysts require treatment depending upon the location of occurrence and effects while some do not cause any problems and can be left untreated.
Types of Dermoid Cysts
Based on the location of growth, a dermoid cyst can be of the following types:
- Dermoid cyst in the brain :- Though very rare, a dermoid cyst can also grow inside the skull in the brain. In such cases, a neurological surgery may be required if the cyst starts causing trouble or symptoms.
- Dermoid cyst in the nasal passage :- This type of cyst is also very rare. Only 10-20 such cases are reported every year and their surgical removal is often very complicated.
- Dermoid cyst in the ovary :- An ovarian dermoid cyst can grow inside a woman in her reproductive phase of her life and can cause severe complications like ovarian torsion, rupture, infection and cancer. This type of dermoid cyst is removed either by conventional surgery or laparoscopy in which a small cut in made in order to enter the pelvic region and remove the cyst by drainage or surgery.
- Dermoid cyst in the spinal cord :- Spinal dermoid cysts are single or multilocular cystic tumours aligned by squamous epithelium. These types of cysts are highly prone to infection and their removal is very difficult. It is usually incomplete but the result is very useful.
Size of a Dermoid Cyst
The size of a dermoid cyst can range from a few centimetres to up to 50 centimetres in diameter. In case of ovaries, sometimes these cysts are so large that they can cause the ovary to twist (torsion) and block its blood supply.
Characteristics of a Dermoid Cyst
- This type of cyst starts growing as the foetus begins to grow inside the womb.
- They grow gradually and are noticed when the child grows into an adult.
- Dermoid cysts are painless (unless ruptured) and tender.
- They are not attached to the skin layer covering them.
Dermoid Cyst Symptoms
Most of the dermoid cysts do not show any symptoms. However, the list of symptoms widely depends upon the location of occurrence of the cyst. Some possible symptoms are:
- Abdominal, pelvic or lower back pain
- Difficulty while urinating
- Urine retention
- Abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding
- Severe menstrual pain
- Pain sensation during sexual intercourse
- Sudden weight gain
- Severe abdominal pain
Dermoid Cyst Causes
A dermoid cyst forms from a totipotential germ cell that is retained within the ovary. This particular cell is responsible for the formation of all sorts of mature tissues and body structures like bone, hair, tissue and body fluids.
Dermoid cysts can be diagnosed at any age, but the time of development is during the childbirth phase.
Which doctor treats a Dermoid Cyst?
The first doctor that you will visit, after discovering your dermoid cyst will most likely be your general physician or family doctor. However, after diagnostic tests and other findings, you may be referred to a specialist based on the location of occurrence of the cyst. For the brain, you may be referred to a neurologist, for the spine, you may be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon and for the ovary you may be referred to a gynaecologist. In case of a nasal cyst, an ENT surgeon will be the right choice.
When to visit a doctor?
You may need to visit a doctor immediately if any of the symptoms are seen:
- An extremely painful cyst
- An inflamed cyst
- A cyst that is growing rapidly
- A cyst that is changing colour
- If removal is required for cosmetic reasons
- In case the cyst ruptures
How to prepare yourself for the appointment?
Your first appointment can take place at your general physician’s clinic. Follow the below instructions that maybe helpful for a fruitful appointment:
- Note down your symptoms including those which are not directly related to the dermoid cyst
- Prepare a short note of your medical history and on-going treatment (if any)
- Make a list of medicines and supplements that you are currently taking
- Make a list of questions that you may want to ask your doctor about your dermoid cyst like:
- What caused the cyst to grow?
- Does the presence of the cyst increase my risk of any sort of cancer?
- What kind of tests will I be asked to undergo?
- Does the cyst required treatment?
- Are there any points that I have to follow?
- Meanwhile, also be ready to answer the following questions that your doctor may ask you:
- When did you first notice the symptoms?
- When did you first notice the dermoid sac?
- How long has the cyst been there?
- Is it painful?
- If yes, what is the severity of the pain?
- What sort of changes do you notice during your periods?
- Are you periods normal/heavy?
- Are they very painful?
- Do you have nausea?
- Do you have a family history of dermoid cysts?
- Have you undergone any kind of diagnostic tests before coming for the appointment?
- Do you have any record of the cyst since your birth?
Dermoid Cyst Diagnosis
Once your doctor is sure that you have a dermoid cyst, you will be asked to undergo proper screening which may include a series of diagnostic tests and findings. Your doctor may ask you questions related to your family history, past medical difficulties and list of current medications. Based on the results of initial medical tests and examination, your doctor may recommend further testing and treatment:
- CBC or Complete blood count
- CT Scan
Treatment of a Dermoid Cyst
Once the doctor confirms the presence of a dermoid cyst, further treatment may not be required in some cases. However, if the cyst becomes painful and causes discomfort or one of more severe symptoms mentioned above, your doctor may recommend the following treatment:
Surgical removal is required when the symptoms are severe and the cyst is accompanied by one or more complications. Surgery should be carried out very carefully as the fatty content of the cyst may spread to the surrounding tissues causing severe infection in case the cyst is affected by bacteria.
In case of occurrence of dermoid cysts in complicated areas like the tongue or the lower part of the mouth, minimal invasive surgeries have been successful.
Ovarian dermoid cyst, spinal dermoid cyst and dermoid cysts in the brain are most difficult to treat. Highly experienced gynaecologists or neurologists are appointment to carry of the removal surgery in such cases.
Home Remedies for Dermoid Cyst
There are numerous home remedies that are really helpful in getting rid of dermoid cyst without surgery. They are:
Garlic and Margosa leaves :- One of the most effective ways of getting rid of dermoid cysts is a paste of garlic and margosa leaves. The paste has fabulous anti-inflammatory properties from garlic and magical anti-bacterial properties from margosa leaves.
Rice Hot Compress :- This is another popular home remedy for dermoid cysts that are present superficially.
How to use:
- Put a spoon on uncooked rice in a sock and seal the open end by tying it
- Warm this sock over a pan
- Gently apply the rice compress on the affected breast
- Repeat 2-3 times a day to get rid of the cysts and avoid recurrence of more dermoid cysts
Cabbage Leaves :- Over the years, cabbage leaves have proved to be a very helpful remedy for treating superficial dermoid cysts. It helps in reducing the size of the dermoid cyst and pain.
How to use:
- Take two clean cabbage leave
- Cut them according to the size of your breast
- Tie them over the breast
- Leave for 30-45 minutes
Tea Tree Oil :- This can be used to reduce the size of the cyst and protect it from any sort of bacterial infection. The concentration of tea tree oil should be at 5%. It is also effective in case of other cysts like pilonidal cyst, ganglion cyst and pilar cyst.
Apply Heat Compress :- You can use hot water bottles or heating pads to provide relief from pain. Also, warm water showers can be really helpful in reducing pain and discomfort. This remedy is also helpful in case of pilonidal cysts and ganglion cysts.
Homeopathic Measures :- Homeopathic medicines like Silicia and Hedpar Sulph are used to treat almost all cysts naturally. They cause the cyst to shrink and disappear without the need of any medicine or surgical procedure.
Complications of Dermoid Cyst
There are several possible complications of dermoid cysts. Some of them are:
- In case of patients with a ruptured spinal dermoid cyst, fatty content from the cyst can enter the cerebrospinal fluid and central canal of the spinal cord.
- Spinal subdural abscess is also a possible complication if the fatty content causes spread of bacterial infection.
- In case of dermoid cysts present in the nasal passage or mouth, the patient can face difficulty in breathing and speech problems
- Nasal dermoid cysts can also be a social complication for young children
- Ovarian dermoid cysts can cause torsion of the affected ovary, blocking the blood supply and resulting is severe pain.
- In very rare cases, on being left untreated, ovarian dermoid cysts can also transform into carcinomas which are malignant in nature.
Dermoid Cyst Pictures
Check out these pictures of a dermoid cyst that will help you understand what it exactly is and how it appears.
Image 1 :- A superficial dermoid cyst on the left eyebrow of a young child
Image 2 :- Bilateral dermoid cysts
Image 3 :- Contents of a dermoid cyst
Image 4 :- Ovarian Dermoid Cyst Picture