announcement

Help someone with useful health advice.

Pineal Gland Cyst

Pineal Gland Cyst

Pineal gland cysts are sac-like structures that develop in the pineal gland which is located in the center of the brain. Generally, these cysts do not cause any health problems as such, but if they grow big in size, there might be some visible symptoms, for which corrective measures may need to be taken.
Chandramita Bora
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
The Esoteric Vision
Philosophical and spiritual experts call the pineal gland the 'third eye', since they believe that this is where the soul of the body lies. It helps us with inner vision, acting as a mediator between the spiritual and physical world. On the other hand, modern science has shown that this gland regulates the quality and pattern of a person's sleep.
The exact cause(s) that lead to the development of pineal gland cysts are not known, besides they are benign and harmless. They often do not produce any symptom(s), i.e. they are asymptomatic. However, at times, a pineal cyst may also become big, in which case it can produce a few symptoms. Pineal cysts are one of the four types of pineal lesions, the other three being germ cell tumors, pineal parenchymal tumors, and metastases.
The pineal gland is also known as 'pineal body', and is an endocrine gland that is located at the center of the brain, just between its two hemispheres. The most important function of this gland is to produce melatonin, which is a hormone that mainly regulates and maintains sleep pattern and how well one sleeps. It is a photosensitive gland, as its functions are affected by light. Therefore, the secretion of melatonin by the pineal gland is also regulated by darkness and light, wherein darkness stimulates and light inhibits its secretion.
Possible Symptoms
Generally, these cysts are asymptomatic, and only the cysts that are larger than 0.5 cm in size might produce
common symptoms like:

» Headaches
» Vertigo
» Nausea
» Vomiting
» Lethargy
» Visual disturbances
» Increased sensitivity to light
» Lack of muscle coordination
» Sleep disturbances
Sometimes, an enlargement of the cyst, which is quite rare, can lead to a condition known as hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus refers to the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of the brain. This condition is caused by the obstruction of cerebral aqueduct by the growing pineal cyst(s). Due to this, pressure builds up in the brain, and this too, many a time, leads to the above-mentioned symptoms, along with ataxia and coma in severe cases.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
As these cysts are often asymptomatic, they are mainly discovered in CT and MRI scans, that are usually carried out to diagnose some unrelated condition or disorder. They are more frequently detected in autopsies performed after an individuals demise. However, larger cysts that produce symptoms may require neurological evaluation, and can be detected with the help of a brain scan. Usually, pineal cysts can be easily distinguished by their characteristic difference in appearance from the tumors that develop in the pineal region.
Unless the cysts are growing and are large enough to cause hydrocephalus by blocking the cerebral aqueduct, they do not require any treatment. This is because these cysts are harmless and benign or non-cancerous. However, in rare cases, surgical removal may be required if they are big in size, and are producing severe symptoms that can affect the health and well-being of an individual. However, like any other brain surgery, this process also involves some risks. For a conditions that can be controlled, medications are prescribed to alleviate the symptoms.
Only in rare cases do pineal gland cysts cause any serious health problem. No specific reasons behind the formation of these cysts have been discovered till now. But it is important to regularly monitor the size of these cysts once they have been detected. This will help find out if the cysts are growing in size and posing any health hazard to that individual.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is purely for informative purposes, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.