The pancreas is a big organ behind the stomach that’s a vital element of the digestive process. It produces hormones, like insulin, to help control blood sugar, as well as enzymes that help break down food in the small intestine. Pancreatic cysts are pockets of fluid that are on — or in — your pancreas. They can be difficult to diagnose due to the fact that they have minimal symptoms. They’re often discovered by chance when carrying out an image test (such as a CT scan) for another problem.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the majority of cysts on the pancreas are not cancerous.
Often the result of pancreatitis or an abdominal effect injury, a pancreatic pseudocyst is formed by a collection of tissue and fluids that are various from the tissue in a real cyst. A pseudocyst is less likely to be deadly (cancerous) than a real cyst.
What Are the Symptoms?
Pancreatic cysts do not normally exhibit lots of symptoms. In the rare case that they do, signs can include:
- relentless abdominal pain
- the feeling of a mass in the upper abdominal area
- vomiting or nausea
If you have a fever in addition to these signs (particularly relentless abdominal pain), contact your doctor immediately, as this may be the indication of a pancreatic cyst infection.
Another uncommon complication that can occur is a ruptured cyst or ruptured pseudocyst. The fluid that is launched can trigger huge internal bleeding and infection of the abdominal cavity. Seek instant emergency attention if you’re experiencing any of the indications of shock or internal bleeding, such as:
- serious abdominal pain
- fainting or absence of consciousness
- rapid or weak heartbeat
- vomiting blood
Types of Pancreatic Cysts
There are 2 main types of pancreatic cysts: serous and mucinous. The main difference between them is the kind of fluid they include. Serous cysts have a thin fluid, whereas mucinous cysts have a stickier and thicker fluid.
Your age, sex, and the characteristics of the cyst assistance identify what type of cyst you’re most likely to have.
The majority of pancreatic cysts are noncancerous (benign), nevertheless, there are numerous mucinous cysts that can be more concerning. This includes:
- Mucinous cystic neoplasm (MCN) are primarily found in women and consist of ovarian tissue.
- Main-duct intrapapillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) involve the main duct of the pancreas and includes intestinal tract villus (small protrusions that look like fingers).
Risk Factors and Causes
While the primary reason for pancreatic cysts is unidentified, there are a number of risk factors including:
- Von Hippel-Lindau illness. This genetic disorder affects the pancreas.
- Pancreatitis. When enzymes that help with food digestion are active too soon, it can cause inflammation of the pancreas, which can lead to cysts.
- Gallstones and heavy alcohol use. These are both danger factors for pancreatitis, so in turn, they’re risk factors for pancreatic cysts.
- Abdominal injury. Cysts are more likely to form after abdominal trauma, such as after a car mishap.
How Do I Treat or Prevent a Pancreatic Cyst?
There are few noninvasive treatments for pancreatic cysts, with the only real choice being watchful waiting. This is since a benign cyst, even a large one, does not require any kind of treatment as long as it does not trouble you. However, you must still see carefully for any indications or signs that develop.
The more invasive treatment alternatives include:
- Drainage. In this procedure, an endoscope (small tube) is positioned in your mouth and directed to your small intestine. The small tube contains an endoscopic ultrasound, in addition to a needle to drain pipes fluid from the cyst. Sometimes, drain through a needle in your skin may be the only practical choice.
- Pancreatic cyst surgery. This surgical option is mainly used for enlarged, agonizing, or cancerous pancreatic cysts.
There are numerous actions you can take to prevent a pancreatic cyst from occurring again, including:
Pancreatitis is normally the outcome of gallstones and/or heavy alcohol use.
- Removing the gallbladder can lower the danger of pancreatitis for individuals with gallstones.
- Lowering alcohol intake can reduce the risk of pancreatitis.
Another cause of pancreatitis is hypertriglyceridemia. If you have this condition, you have a higher-than-normal triglyceride level. Raised triglycerides of greater than 1000 mg/dL boost an individual’s threat for pancreatitis. Hypertriglyceridemia is the 3rd most typical causeTrusted Source for acute pancreatitis after gallstones and alcohol.
Hypertriglyceridemia can be genetic (primary) or due to other causes (secondary) such as diabetes, medications, alcohol, or pregnancy.
Following a Low-fat Diet
Restricting your day-to-day fat intake to 30 to 50 grams can likewise reduce your danger of pancreatic cysts. A low-fat diet includes:
- baked, broiled, grilled, or steamed meat
- low- or nonfat dairy
- meat and dairy alternatives (like almond milk, tofu).
- whole grains.
- fruits, with the exception of avocado.
You must also avoid sugary sodas and drinks with cream (like eggnog), and fried foods (including fried vegetables).
If you’re concerned about a possible pancreatic cyst, contact your doctor. Together with examining your medical history, they can run a variety of tests, including CT scans, MRI scans, and endoscopic ultrasounds.
After screening, your doctor may take a sample of the fluid in order to determine whether the cells are cancerous. It’s likewise essential to note that cysts might return if you have an ongoing case of pancreatitis.