How to Tell If a Cyst Is Infected and What You Can Do About It

Dealing with skin blemishes becomes tricky when your skin gets infected. This is the problem behind acne and some other skin conditions. Clogged pores invite infections, and the result is painful and unappealing.

But infected cysts are a different issue. Cysts are sacs that are filled with liquid, and they can form due to blocked ducts. Which they’re usually non-cancerous, they get dangerous when they become infected.

For this reason, it is important to learn how to recognize a cyst. You also have to make sure you know how to tell if a cyst is infected. Here’s what you need to know about identifying and treating cysts.

Recognizing Cysts

First, it’s important to point out that cysts can grow anywhere in the body. Many cysts develop right under the surface of the skin, which can happen on the face or on other areas. These types of cysts are especially prone to infections.

Do you always take note of the fact that you’ve developed a cyst? What are some signs to look for?

1. Cysts on Internal Organs

In some cases, it’s difficult to tell that you have a cyst because it’s located deep inside the body.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a typical example. This is a painful hormone disorder that appears in 1 out of 10 women of childbearing age. It can have some dangerous complications, and it’s impossible to notice the problem until it starts impacting your reproductive health. Most women notice they have PCOS after they start having irregular periods or growing excess body hair.

Cysts may also develop on the kidneys, the testes, the lungs, and liver. In newborns, the membrane of the brain can develop cysts too.

These conditions all have different symptoms. If your doctor suspects that you may have a cyst, they’ll run diagnostics such as X-rays, ultrasound, MRIs, or CAT scans.

2. Cysts Directly Under the Surface of the Skin

Cysts can also form close to the surface of the skin. These can be just as dangerous and often need professional care. In many cases, they grow in the hair follicles or in the sebaceous glands.

It’s not always easy to tell if a lump on your skin is a cyst. Small ones can be mistaken for acne.

But when the size and location of the lump seem out of the ordinary, it’s usually because there’s a cyst present. They can form in some unusual places, such as the back of the knee. Skin cysts can be painful, but that’s not always the case.

Do You Need to Seek Medical Attention If You Have a Cyst?

Some cysts don’t require medical care, but the ones that become red or infected do need treatment. Here is how to tell if a cyst is infected:

  1. Pain in the affected area
  2. Increased redness or swelling
  3. Abscesses oozing with blood or pus
  4. An unpleasant odor

One or more of these is enough to tell that you need to speak to a doctor. But since cysts can grow in many different places, the symptoms vary a great deal. For example, sometimes you only know you have an infection because of occasional stabs of pain.

Medical observation is also required for ruptured cysts. A rupture isn’t always easy to notice, but it can be very painful. In the case of ruptured ovarian cysts, painkillers may be required.

On the skin, cysts may burst or rupture for many reasons. When they do, the risk of infection becomes significant. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of this and prefer to pop their skin cysts. This can cause a great deal of damage, so you should always turn to a dermatologist for treatment.

What Kind of Treatments Can You Get for Cysts?

Instead of trying to remove a cyst yourself, you can have it removed by your doctor in safe and sterile conditions. Medical professionals use a local anesthetic to make the process as painless as possible.

A sharp surgical instrument is used to cut the cyst out before it can rupture or develop an infection. In the case of small cysts, lancing and draining can be enough. These procedures can leave a small scar. When the cyst isn’t infected or painful, dermatologists advise against surgical interventions.

What kind of treatment can you expect when the cyst is infected? Sometimes, doctors drain the cyst and prescribe a course of antibiotics. In other cases, they simply wait a month until the infection subsides. Additional options include laser treatment and injecting the cyst with medicine.

When it comes to treating internal cysts, doctors usually focus on reducing the symptoms. But in case of infections or ruptures, antibiotics are usually the only form of treatment available.

Are There Any Ways to Prevent Cysts?

Unfortunately, cysts are impossible to prevent in most cases. They have many different causes, and there is a genetic factor at play. If people in your family have had to deal with cysts, you may be at risk of the same type of cyst developing in your body.

But the good news is that there are a few conditions where prevention is possible.

1. How to Prevent Mucous Cysts

These form around the lips and can be very painful. You can lower the risks by maintaining good dental hygiene. Additionally, you should avoid biting your cheek and lips. Lip piercings can cause mucous cysts too.

2. How to Prevent Chalazia

Chalazia are cyst-like growths that develop on the upper or lower eyelid. They can be painless but are still at high risk of infection.

To stop these cysts from forming, it’s important to keep the oil ducts around your eye unblocked. You can do this by cleaning the eyelid regularly. Use a gentle cleanser and make sure to always go to bed with clean eyelids.

3. How to Prevent Pilonidal Cysts

Pilonidal cysts develop at the top of the buttocks. They often form during puberty, and they can be very painful when infected. These cysts can come from poor hygiene, but sitting in one place for too long can also lead to this condition. It’s usually possible to prevent them by keeping the cleft at the top of the buttocks clean.

A Word of Warning About Cyst Infections

If you’ve ever googled anything to do with skin cysts, odds are that you ran into cyst-popping videos on YouTube. This is a popular trend right now, and people who follow it are at risk of infection. Only use reputable sources if you want to learn more about cyst removal.