Let us begin with the epidermal cyst. It starts as a small lump underneath the skin, which can enlarge slowly over the years. On close inspection you can see a central pore. When squeezed, foul smelling white or oily material is drained. Squeezing these cysts is not recommended since this will increase the chance of infection. Epidermal cysts that are infected are very painful.
Infected cysts need to be drained by a doctor and an oral antibiotic prescribed. Once a cyst has become infected, application of warm compresses at home also helps with healing. This is an infected cyst draining some pus. If you think you have an infected cyst, then you should go to your nearest Urgent Care / Minor Injury Clinic for treatment. You may also contact a Telephone Advice Nurse and request a same day appointment. A few people carry the gene that makes their bodies form multiple cysts.
If a cyst reaches a size that causes discomfort, usually the size of a golf ball, you should discuss its removal with your physician. When appropriate your doctor can arrange a referral to the Medical Dermatology Clinic for its removal. On the other hand, if the cysts are small, they are best left alone. If a small cyst is located in a visible area, though not causing problems, then the Dermatology Cosmetic Clinic is the appropriate place to make an appointment to have it removed. Removing cyst for cosmetic reasons, will be done on a fee-for-service basis. Remember, do not squeeze cysts as this can lead to pain and infection. If you suspect a cyst is infected, go to the Urgent Care / Minor Injury Clinic for surgical drainage and antibiotics or call the Telephone Advice Nurse for a same day appointment.
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