What is Cortical Cyst?
The cortical cyst is a common condition that affects people of different ages and genders. The name of the cyst is given by its location, meaning the renal cortex. The renal cortex is situated outside the kidney, being responsible for the filtering of the blood and removal of toxins from the body. The cortical cyst appears as a sac that is filled with liquid. The important thing to understand is that a person can have just one cortical cyst or several. Also, it can appear on just one kidney or it can affect both kidneys.
The severity of the cortical cyst varies according to the existence of an underlying condition. If the patient has kidney problems, then the appearance of the cortical cyst can impair the kidney function even more. If there are no underlying conditions, the cortical cyst is a benign condition and it does not cause complications. The correct diagnosis of the cortical cyst is essential to choose to right treatment. For diagnosis, the doctor might decide to perform an imagining investigation such as an ultrasound, MRI or CT.
If you have been diagnosed with a cortical cyst, then the prognosis is not worrying and the treatment is easy to follow. This is because the cyst is located outside the kidneys and not inside the actual organ. Cortical cysts are more common in older people and they have the tendency to grow with the passing of time. In a lot of people, they do not cause symptoms.
Cortical Cyst Symptoms
These are the most common symptoms of the cortical cyst:
- If the cortical cyst becomes large enough, a palpable mass can be felt in the kidney area.
- As the cortical cyst might have an impact on the function of the kidneys, the person might feel the need to urinate frequently.
- The cortical cyst can lead to pain. The pain can radiate from the kidney area to other parts of the body, such as the back, abdomen, ribs or hip. The pain can range from mild to severe, being often described by the patients as dull.
- The color of the urine can change – if there is a blood in the urine, the color can change to a darker shade (hematuria). The urine can also contain large quantities of protein, a condition known as proteinuria.
- High-running fever.
- High blood pressure – as the kidneys are known to regulate blood pressure, a renal cyst that is larger in size can lead to high BP. This is because the cyst can lead to ischemia in the kidneys, with increased renin secretion.
What are the Causes of Cortical Cyst?
Despite the advancements in the medical field, the causes that lead to the appearance of cortical cysts are yet to be identified. Patient studies performed on controlled groups have suggested that the glomeruli in the kidneys might have an abnormal structure that favors the appearance of the cortical cyst (congenital modification). In certain patients, the renal tubules are structured abnormally as well. These abnormal modifications predispose these patients to infections, among other problems.
There are two predisposing factors that contribute to the appearance of cortical cysts, meaning the age and the gender. The incidence of cortical cysts increases as one advances in age and it seems that there are more men diagnosed with this problem than women. Aging is not necessarily a factor for appearance, as many of these cortical cysts appearing in middle-aged people but they evolve with age. They become obvious in patients who are older, as they have grown to a considerable size to cause upsetting symptoms.
Cortical Cyst Treatment
The treatment recommended for the cortical cyst depends on the size. Small cysts do not cause any symptoms and they are often detected by accident. If the doctor will identify a cortical cyst that has less than 3 cm in diameter, then no treatment will be prescribed. However, you will have to visit the doctor’s office on a regular basis, to have the cortical cyst monitored. If the cyst becomes enlarged, causing upsetting symptoms, then the doctor might re-consider and prescribe treatment for your condition.
Surgical removal is recommended in cases of cortical cysts that have reached a considerable size, causing a wide array of symptoms. The procedure is simple and it is often done with local anesthesia. The doctor will use a special needle, guided through ultrasound, in order to reach the cortical cyst and extract the fluid. After the fluid has been completely extracted from the cyst, alcohol will be applied inside the cyst to prevent secondary infections.
If you are interested in natural remedies that can help you reduce the size of your cortical cyst, be sure to use herbs. Herbal treatments applied locally to the kidney area will not solve the problem completely, but they will help with the size reduction and they will improve the symptoms experienced.
As the exact causes of the cortical cyst are not known, the doctor might recommend that you make several lifestyle changes. These are related to quitting unhealthy habits such as smoking and alcohol drinking. You will be recommended to follow a healthier diet, based on fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, the doctor will indicate you to be physical active. All of these changes can prevent the cortical cyst from becoming larger and causing more upsetting symptoms. Also, they can help you keep the condition under control and delay surgery as much as it is possible.
One of the most important changes that you need to make is reduce your intake of sodium. Sodium is known to have a negative effect on the blood pressure; if you are already suffering from a cortical cyst, then a large intake of sodium will only contribute to increasing your blood pressure even more. Choose a diet that is low on sodium and you will also protect your kidneys; if the kidneys are protected, then the cortical cyst will be kept under control as well. If you are in a lot of pain, the doctor might prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to relieve the symptoms.