Most people experience no symptoms from liver cysts, but when symptoms occur, they include upper abdominal fullness, discomfort or pain, according to Cleveland Clinic. Sudden and severe pain can occur in the upper right quadrant and right shoulder if the patient bleeds into the cyst. This bleeding stops without treatment, and the pain resolves during the next few days.
Simple liver cysts are benign and do not affect the liver's ability to function properly, explains Cleveland Clinic. Because these cysts usually cause no symptoms, doctors often only discover them when conducting imaging tests such as ultrasounds or CT scans.
Liver cysts usually require no treatment unless they become large or painful, or block bile from reaching the intestine, states the American Liver Foundation. In these cases, a doctor drains the cyst or removes it surgically. Draining the cyst is not the best option since the cyst typically fills with fluid again within a few days, notes Cleveland Clinic.
Polycystic liver disease occurs when multiple cysts develop on the liver causing enlargement of the liver, abdominal swelling and discomfort, states Cleveland Clinic. This is a hereditary condition, and when it begins to impact liver function or causes pain, surgical intervention is necessary, according to the American Liver Foundation. Cysts often recur after surgery. The only long-term solution is a liver transplant, advises Cleveland Clinic.