What is the definition of Urachal Cyst?
A urachal cyst is a sac-like pocket of tissue that develops in the urachus, a primitive structure that connects the umbilical cord to the bladder in the developing baby. Although it normally disappears prior to birth, part of the urachus may remain in some people. Urachal cysts can develop at any age, but typically affect older children and adults. Urachal cysts are often not associated with any signs or symptoms unless there are complications such as infection. In these cases, symptoms may include abdominal pain, fever, pain with urination and/or hematuria. Urachal cysts may be monitored, or they may be treated with surgery to drain the cyst and/or remove the urachus.
What are the causes for Urachal Cyst?
A urachal cyst occurs when a pocket of air or fluid develops in the urachus. Before birth, the urachus is a primitive structure that connects the umbilical cord to the bladder in the developing baby. The urachus normally disappears before birth, but part of the urachus may remain in some people after they are born. This can lead to urachal abnormalities such as urachal cysts.
What are the symptoms for Urachal Cyst?
In most cases, urachal cysts are not associated with any signs or symptoms unless there are complications such as infection. Possible symptoms vary, but may include:
- Lower abdominal pain
- Abdominal lump or mass
- Pain with urination
- Urinary tract infection
In some cases, there is also an open connection between the bladder and the umbilicus (belly button), which is called a urachal sinus. This may cause drainage of urine from the belly button.
What are the current treatments for Urachal Cyst?
Treatment of a urachal cyst may depend on whether or not the person is experiencing any symptoms. Sometimes these cysts are not treated but are monitored, particularly if there are no symptoms. In some cases, the urachal abnormalities resolve on their own without treatment. Because there is a small risk that a urachal cyst may become cancerous, surgery may be performed to completely remove the urachus. You can talk to your doctor about the risk of the urachal cyst causing infection or developing into cancer and balancing that with the risks associated with surgical removal.
What is the outlook (prognosis) for Urachal Cyst?
The long-term outlook (prognosis) for a urachal cyst is generally good. In most cases, urachal cysts are not associated with any signs or symptoms unless there are complications such as infection. There are instances where urachal abnormalities resolve on their own. Because there is a small risk of urachal cancer, the entire urachus may be surgically removed. You can talk with your doctor about the risks associated with surgery. There is usually no need for follow-up or evaluation if the urachus is removed.
How is Urachal Cyst diagnosed?
The diagnosis of a urachal cyst may be suspected based on the presence of characteristic signs and symptoms. The following tests may then be ordered to confirm the diagnosis:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI scan)
- Computed Tomography (CT scan)