Q:

What causes liver cysts?

A:

Quick Answer

According to the American Liver Foundation, the cause of most liver cysts in unknown, although a small proportion of them are caused by the echinococcus parasite. Some liver cysts are present at birth, whereas others develop at some point during life.

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What causes liver cysts?
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Full Answer

Liver cysts are thin-walled growths on the liver that contain fluid. These growths sometimes lead to pain or feelings of fullness as they apply pressure to internal organs. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these cysts do not affect liver function and are almost always benign, with very few of them requiring medical care.

Most liver cysts produce no symptoms or extremely mild symptoms, so they are often not apparent until a CT scan or ultrasound is done. In most cases, these cysts do not require treatment as they do not impact body functions. However, if they are blocking bile's path to the intestines or if they are causing undue pain, doctors may drain or surgically remove the cysts, according to the American Liver Foundation.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, simple liver cysts cause the same symptoms as cystic tumors. These tumors, also known as cystadenocarcinomas, are malignant growths that sometimes lead to cancer and must be surgically removed to prevent malignancy.

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