Dermoid Cyst

Dermoid Cyst Basics

Dictionary Medical

According to, a cavity lined with epidermal tissue is called a dermoid cyst. It is one of the teratomas.

What is a dermoid cyst?

The dermoid cyst is a germ cell tumor. Germ cell tumors start from the germ lines. This means that they originate in the ovaries of women or the testicles of men. Germ cell tumors can be both benign and malignant. The benign tumors are much more common. They are called dermoid cysts.

One of the typical features of a dermoid cyst or dermoid is that it is equipped with completely developed tissue such as skin, teeth, parts of glands or hair. In some cases, there is a risk that a benign teratoma could develop into a malignant tumor. Women who are of childbearing age are particularly affected by dermoid cysts.

It is not uncommon for the cysts to form on both sides of the body. Dermoid cysts make up between 10 and 20 percent of benign ovarian tumors.


A dermoid cyst forms from tissue that has split up during embryonic development. The cysts often have parts of tissue from all three cotyledons. The contents of the cyst are oily or pasty. Hair is also often present.

There is also the possibility that the dermoid cyst contains cartilage, bones, blood, sebum, nails, teeth and even thyroid tissue. Neuroectodermal tissue such as glial cells is also not uncommon. A teratoma arises from a stem cell. These cells can develop into very different cells. The stem cell from which a teratoma such as a dermoid cyst is formed is part of the embryonic or germinal tissue.

It is believed that the teratomas are present before birth and are therefore congenital. However, since they do not cause any discomfort for a long time, they can only be diagnosed late. As mentioned earlier, the dermoid cysts are most commonly found on the female ovaries or male testicles. Sometimes, however, they also show up in other parts of the body such as the rump.

Symptoms, ailments & signs

A dermoid cyst does not initially cause any noticeable symptoms. Only when the teratoma reaches a certain size, bulges or abdominal pain are possible. If the pressure on the neighboring parts of the body increases, there is a risk of problems with bowel movements or urination. If the capsule ruptures or the teratoma is twisted, this leads to an acute abdomen, which is accompanied by severe abdominal pain.

Furthermore, it can lead to irregularities in the female cycle and menstrual cramps. In addition, the body size increases and the affected people suffer from a poor general condition. Effects on other parts of the body are also conceivable. In some cases, the thyroid gland is overactive.

A dermoid cyst is actually benign. Sometimes, however, a malignant tumor emerges from it, but this only rarely happens. Malignant expression occurs in only one percent of all cases. Just as rarely does women develop a teratoma, which is malignant from the start. In contrast, all teratomas in men are malignant.


If a dermoid cyst is suspected, the doctor will first talk to the patient. He asks about the point in time from which the complaints began. He then palpates the abdomen as part of a physical examination. In addition, an X-ray examination and a sonography (ultrasound examination) take place on the abdomen.

To determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant, a tissue sample is taken and examined under a microscope in a laboratory. Surgical intervention is usually required to take the tissue sample. In most cases, the dermoid cyst takes a favorable course because the teratoma is easy to remove.

Even if the tumor is malignant, the prognosis is better than that of other types of tumor. Successful elimination is usually possible in this way.


Most often, a dermoid cyst is diagnosed late. It leads to bulging pain and cramps in the stomach in the patient. Difficulties or discomfort when urinating and defecating can also occur. These activities are not infrequently associated with burning pain. This reduces the quality of life.

In some cases, patients drink less to prevent frequent urination, which leads to dehydration. Women can experience increased menstrual cramps due to the dermoid cyst. This also includes strong mood swings that can have a negative effect on the psyche.

In the worst case, the dermoid cyst can develop into a malignant tumor that has to be removed. Malignant tumors occur more frequently in men, women usually suffer almost exclusively from benign tumors. The tumor is removed surgically and does not lead to any further complications if it has not spread widely or has infected other tissue.

Chemotherapy is usually necessary after the operation. The earlier the dermoid cyst is discovered, the less consequential damage or complications are. Successful removal will not reduce life expectancy.

When should you go to the doctor?

If a dermoid cyst is suspected, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. The typical symptoms usually only appear in the later stages of the disease. Therefore, you have to react immediately to complaints. For example, anyone who experiences stabbing abdominal pain or suddenly has problems with bowel movements or urination must have these symptoms medically clarified and, if necessary, treated. If irregularities in the female cycle are noticed, this also indicates a dermoid cyst. Basically, the disease manifests itself through a variety of different symptoms.

It is therefore advisable to pay close attention to the signals from the body and to make an appointment with the gynecologist if there are any abnormalities. A medical explanation is advisable at the latest when weight gain is determined for which there is no other cause. The dermoid cyst is usually harmless and can be treated without complications. However, if it is left untreated, a malignant tumor can form, which leads to further complications. Therefore, the following applies: at the first signs of a dermoid cyst, consult a doctor and have the cause determined.

Treatment & Therapy

Surgical removal is generally recommended for dermoid cysts. For this purpose, usually a place laparoscopy (laparoscopy) instead. If the teratoma has settled in the abdomen, the doctor will give you general anesthesia. If a laparoscopy is not possible, an open abdominal incision (laparotomy) is performed.

Since the contents of the dermoid cyst can spill into the abdomen, the surgeon must be very careful during the operation. In some patients it is necessary to remove the entire ovary together with the teratoma. Like the benign dermoid cyst, a malignant teratoma is surgically removed.

If the surgeon cannot find any malignant cells during the operation, removal of the tumor is sufficient. If, on the other hand, malignant cells emerge, the surgical intervention must be expanded to include neighboring lymph node stations. In addition, chemotherapy is also carried out in which cisplatin is administered. In most cases, chemotherapy is very effective.

Surgery must also be done in the case of a testicular dermoid cyst because there is a risk of malignant tissue developing. Since the teratoma is growing rapidly, the procedure should be carried out as soon as possible. In this case, too, chemotherapy may be necessary after the operation. Surgical intervention is also required for a dermoid cyst on the tailbone. In most cases, treatment will result in a full recovery for the patient.

Outlook & forecast

The prognosis for the dermoid cyst is good if it is recognized, diagnosed and treated in good time. The germ cell tumor is usually removed under local anesthesia. Subsequently, with good wound care, the patient is symptom-free within a short time.

If complications arise during the procedure or in the subsequent healing phase, it is a delay in the healing process for most patients. Inadequate wound care rarely leads to blood poisoning. However, if it does occur, the patient is in a life-threatening condition. Failure to seek medical treatment for the dermoid cyst increases the risk that the cyst will mutate and become a malignant tumor.

Cancer can always be fatal. The prognosis must therefore be made individually in these situations. In severe cases, cancer cells detach from the mutated and therefore malignant cyst. They are transported via the blood to another location in the organism, where they can cause new metastases to form.

Despite the successful removal of the dermoid cyst, a new formation can occur at any time in the further course. Therefore, regular check-ups are essential for maintaining good health. If new dermoid cysts have formed, the prospect of a good prognosis is also good if the cysts are removed early.


There are no known preventive measures against a dermoid cyst. So the teratoma is already congenital.


In most cases, the person affected with a dermoid cyst has no special or direct measures and options for follow-up care available. The patient is first dependent on early detection so that there are no further complications or worsening of the symptoms. Only after a comprehensive diagnosis can further treatment be carried out to alleviate the symptoms.

Since self-healing cannot occur, the early detection of the disease is in the foreground with dermoid cysts. In most cases, those affected are dependent on taking medication that is supposed to relieve the symptoms with the help of hormones. It is important to ensure that it is taken regularly with the correct dosage.

If you have any questions, you should definitely consult a doctor. Surgical interventions are not uncommon for dermoid cysts. After the procedure, those affected should definitely rest and take care of their bodies. We do not recommend strenuous or stressful activities in order not to unnecessarily burden the body. As a rule, the dermoid cyst can be treated well, so that this disease does not lead to a reduced life expectancy.

You can do that yourself

When the congenital teratoma reaches a certain size, the symptoms become progressively worse. This significantly reduces the quality of life of the women concerned. In most cases, surgical removal must now be carried out. Nevertheless, those affected can take some measures to alleviate the symptoms.

Monk’s pepper and lady’s mantle help with existing menstrual disorders and hormone fluctuations. They have a balancing effect on the hormonal balance. The Homeopathy recommends the substances Apis melifica and Lachesis. Before self-treatment, however, you should seek advice from an experienced homeopath or alternative practitioner. With Bach flower therapy, inner restlessness and states of tension can be alleviated.

It should also be checked whether there is overacidification in the body. This can be responsible for many complaints. Alkaline baths and a diet rich in vital substances as well as the supply of sufficient fluids – especially still mineral waters – can counteract this. Furthermore, the renouncement of meat should prove to be beneficial. In general, nutrition is of particular importance. Numerous experience reports show that therapeutic fasting can help with existing cysts.

Also massages to stimulate the lymph assist the body to heal itself. Acupuncture, acupressure or foot reflex zone massages can alleviate pain, discomfort and anxiety. In some cases, an overactive thyroid also occurs. This should be treated by an endocrinologist. If there are mood swings, aromatherapy could be a possibility: Neroli, the oil of orange blossom, has a mood-enhancing and relaxing effect.

Dermoid Cyst