A cyst is an abnormal growth consisting of a closed sac filled with fluid or solid material. The material within the cyst is usually produced by the cells that make up the lining, or wall, of the cyst. Cysts form for a variety of reasons, depending to some degree on the tissue involved. Some cysts that form in the adrenal glands are caused by bacterial infections or by parasites.

The most common type is the sebaceous cyst. Also called epidermoid, pilar, and vulvar cysts, they are harmless, slow-growing bumps under the skin, often appearing on the scalp, face, ears, back of the neck, back, upper chest or groin area (typically the vulva or labia). They are usually rounded, non-tender and of varying size.

Any redness, tenderness, or increased temperature of skin over area may indicate an infection. Grayish white, cheesy material from the cyst (if drained or squeezed) may have a bad odor. The cause is usually unknown.


Risk factors for Cysts

Symptoms - Immune System  

History of benign tumors/cysts

Recommendations for Cysts



Alkalizing Agents/Diet

Some doctors believe that a tendency to form cysts occurs more frequently in those with an acidic body pH. If so, an alkalizing diet may help.

Lab Tests/Rule-Outs  

Test for Food Allergies

Generalized cysts may be due to allergies. Allergy testing may be useful only if there are other allergy symptoms also.



Sebaceous cysts are usually ignored unless they become bothersome or infected. An infected cyst can form into a very painful abscess for which surgical incision and drainage is usually necessary for pain relief. Excision of the cyst and the surrounding sac may be necessary to prevent recurrence. Sebaceous cysts may disappear spontaneously, or remain in place without causing any problems.


Strong or generally accepted link
May do some good
Likely to help



A closed pocket or pouch of tissue; a cyst may form within any tissue in the body and can be filled with air, fluid, pus, or other material. Cysts within the lung generally are air filled, while cysts involving the lymph system or kidneys are fluid filled. Cysts under the skin are benign, extremely common, movable lumps. These may develop as a result of infection, clogging of sebaceous glands, developmental abnormalities or around foreign bodies.


An organism living in or on another organism.

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