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Pancreatic Cysts: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

21 July, 2020 Ankita

What is the Pancreas?

The pancreas is a glandular organ. It is both an exocrine and endocrine gland. Its two main functions are digestion and blood sugar regulation. The exocrine part produces several pancreatic enzymes collectively called pancreatic juice. The endocrine part of the pancreas produces two main hormones: insulin and glucagon. Insulin lowers the blood sugar level and glucagon increases the blood sugar level. Both the hormones work together to maintain the blood sugar level.

What is the Pancreatic Cyst?

Pancreatic cysts are collections of fluid that could be formed within the head, body, and tail of the pancreas.

These cysts can be of two types:

Non-inflammatory cysts: These cysts are also called as true cysts, these are lined by a special layer of cells that secretes fluids into the cysts

Inflammatory cysts: These cysts are also called pseudocysts. These cysts are connected to pancreatic ducts and hence are filled by pancreatic juice.

These pancreatic cysts can range from several millimeters to several centimeters.

Pancreatic cysts can be small and show no symptoms or large and show symptoms. These can also be cancerous or precancerous. 3MEDS is the Best Online Pharmacy India that provides you 100% genuine medicines at your doorsteps.


Symptoms of pancreatic cysts

Usually, there are no symptoms of the pancreatic cyst, in rare cases when they do the symptoms include:

a) Continuous abdominal pain

b) The feeling of mass or lump in the upper abdomen

c) Nausea and/or vomiting

d) Fever

In rare cases when a cyst ruptures, the released fluid can lead to heavy internal bleeding and infection of the abdominal cavity. Symptoms of a ruptured cyst include

a) Severe abdominal pain

b) Fainting or lack of consciousness

c) Rapid or weak heartbeat

d) Vomiting blood

Under any of these circumstances, you should immediately seek medical help.


Causes of pancreatic cysts

There is no found cause of most pancreatic cysts. Some of the cysts are associated with polycystic kidney disease or Von Hippel-Lindau disease (a genetic disorder affecting the pancreas and other organs. Buy medicines online India from 3MEDS and get upto 23% discount.

If you consume too much alcohol, have gallstones you can develop pancreatitis which increases the risk of pseudocysts.

Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cysts

In most cases of the pancreatic cyst, there are little to no symptoms. Most of the pancreatic cysts are found due to abdominal scans for other problems.

Pancreatic cysts can be found by:

a) Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan: This provides a detailed image of the cyst and provides information about the size and structure of it.

b) MRI scan: This is also an imaging test and provides more details as compared to the CT scan. It can also help in knowing whether the cyst can be cancerous or not.

c) Endoscopic Ultrasound: This can also provide a detailed image of the cyst. Fluid from cyst can also be collected from the cyst through this to analyze the possible signs of cancer.

d) Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP): This is the most preferred choice for monitoring a pancreatic cyst. It is especially helpful in locating cysts in the pancreatic duct.


Treatment for pancreatic cyst:

Treatment of cyst can depend on the type of cyst, its size, characteristics, and symptoms. Treatments for pancreatic cyst include:

a) Watchful Waiting: Pancreatic cysts are monitored and noncancerous cysts are usually left untreated. A benign pseudocyst or a serous cystadenoma rarely becomes cancerous, these are usually left as long as it doesn’t bother the patient, causes symptoms or grows.

b) Drainage: A pseudocyst that is growing or bothering or causing symptoms can be detained. This is done with the help of endoscopic ultrasound. An endoscope  (small but flexible tube) is passed through the mouth pancreas via the stomach and small intestine. The endoscope along with the endoscopic ultrasound and a needle helps in draining the cyst. Sometimes the drainage is done through the skin.

c) Surgery: An enlarged pseudocyst or a serous cystadenoma with the potential of causing cancer or causing pain and other symptoms are required to be removed through surgery.


In a Nutshell

Since there is a lesser-known cause of the pancreatic cyst, there is also lesser-known prevention for it. The most one can do is avoid pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is mostly caused by gallstones or heavy alcohol consumption. If you have gallstone which is triggering pancreatitis, you might have to get your gallbladder removed. If the pancreatitis is being triggered by alcohol then you should stop the consumption of alcohol.

Since there are little to no symptoms of the pancreatic cyst, we have very little things to do in our hands. The most we can do is to not dismiss persistent abdominal pain and other symptoms.