Do you have persistent abdominal pain? There are many possible causes for your symptom. This health blurb offers information about just one, pancreatic cysts.
A pancreatic cyst is a collection of fluid enclosed in a membrane on or in your pancreas. Cysts of the pancreas are classified as true or pseudocysts. The difference is true cysts have cells in the lining that secrete fluid into the cyst, whereas with a pseudocyst these specialized cells are not present.
In most cases, a pancreas cyst is the pseudocyst type. The most frequent cause for these fluid filled sacs to develop is pancreatitis. And excessive intake of alcohol, trauma to abdomen and gallstones are causes for an attack of pancreatitis.
Pancreas cysts are further differentiated by the type of fluid they contain. For instance, pseudocysts may contain digestive enzymes and mucinous cysts contain mucus. Occasionally, pancreatic cyst fluid contains cancer cells. As such, your health care provider may request your cyst fluid be tested.
Frequently a cyst on your pancreas will go unnoticed because it causes you no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they typically involve some combination of:
- abdominal pain
- nausea, vomiting
- radiating back pain
- digestion problems
- palpable mass where pancreas lies
The symptoms of pancreatic cysts largely depends on its size and location.
Cysts can become infected, leading to fever, chills and potentially sepsis. Also, a pancreatic cyst or pseudocyst may rupture and release its fluid into your abdominal cavity. This complication can cause peritonitis, which requires emergency medical treatment.
There’s a couple of treatment options for a cyst on or in your pancreas. A benign cyst may require no special treatment and in time they resolve on their own. If your cyst caused symptoms are bothersome, then draining it could offer relief. Surgical removal treatment of a cyst may be required when symptoms are unbearable, fluid contains cancer cells or the type of cyst poses a risk for cancer.