What Is A Dermoid Cyst And Common Symptoms

By: Rebecca Wincup

Dermoid cysts can occur in any person, regardless of race, sex, and age. They can grow on any part of the body but are often found on the face, neck or scalp. They are usually apparent at birth in these cases. Dermoid cysts can also develop in the ovary and, of course, this only occurs among women.
Totipotential germ cells can develop into a complex ovarian cyst known as a dermoid cyst. These cysts can contain solid tissue such as hair, teeth, or in some cases bone. They can occur at anytime in a women's life but are more common during the childbirth years (ages of 20 to 40). When dermoid cysts cut off the circulation to ovaries, they can cause intense pain that requires surgical removal. These cysts can also develop on a person's face, neck, or scalp.
The dermoid or mature teratoma is a tumor on the ovaries that is benign. Dermoids are a fairly common occurrence. They very rarely are cancerous, and make up approximately 50% of all benign ovarian tumors. One or two percent of all dermoid cyst occurrences prove cancerous, with the majority of these being in women older than forty.
The early stages of a dermoid cyst determine whether or not it will eventually lead to cancer. In general, ovarian dermoid cysts are not often cancerous -- cancerous dermoid cysts are labeled as immature teratomas. There is little to no chance of a dermoid cyst that has generated hair, muscle fibers or other matter becoming cancerous.
A typical dermoid cyst is asymptomatic but can normally be found during a routine pelvic exam. They are seen as growths on an ovary, sometimes twisting themselves or rupturing, both which can cause severe pain in the abdominal or pelvic area. When dermoid cysts are found in the ovaries, it is often best to have them surgically removed to avoid future complications. The irritation of the abdominal cavity, called peritonitis, is very painful and likely if the dermoid cyst keeps growing.
The most common and distinct symptom is strong abdominal or pelvic pain. This may indicate that an ovarian cyst has burst or is twisting. In this case, the ovarian cyst has to be surgically removed. A dermoid cyst must be identified as such by a qualified health provider. It does not always show symptoms different from any other type of ovarian cyst.
As is the case with any other type of complex ovarian cyst, a dermoid cyst requires repeated examination to avoid future complications. There are specific symptoms that women should be aware of and contact their health care provider if they experience them. Neither fertility nor risk of pregnancy complications are affected by removing a dermoid cyst. Patients should still use caution following surgery to reduce the risk of scar tissue formation.

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