Urachal Cyst: What My Experience Taught Me

Last June 2012, I experienced recurring and disturbing pain around my navel area, and a few days later, my navel started giving off clear smelly discharge. I decided to consult a doctor, and I was given a seven-day course of clindamycin. I hoped that the medication would make me feel better, instead, the pain escalated and my navel started giving out yellowish liquid—pus. That alerted me, and I decided to rush myself to the emergency room. The attending doctor checked my navel and requested a whole abdomen ultrasound. I was encouraged to stay overnight so they can examine me closer, but I refused. I was sent home and was given metronidazole and ciprofloxacin since they are uncertain what causes the infection. I was also told to wait revisit them once the result of the ultrasound is released. The result of the ultrasound confirmed her suspicion: I have a urachal cyst.

Urachal cyst is a congenital birth defect characterized by a sinus remaining from the allantois during embryogenesis—that is, there is a small fluid-filled cavity remains between the umbilicus and the bladder. (Allantois is the structure that removes waste during fetal development.) People with urachal cyst may remain asymptomatic until a problem develops—or so in my case, a bacterial infection contracted in the inner area of my umbilicus and tapped the cyst. I was told by my attending physician that it in itself, the urachal cyst is harmless unless it becomes the breeding ground of infection of whatever kind.

Once the urachal cyst is infected, the patient may experience abdominal pain, swelling and/or tenderness, discharge around the umbilicus, and difficulty urinating. An ultrasound examination will reveal the fluid-filled cavity in a location where one should not be. Another serious concern is the risk of rupture. As long as the urachal cyst remains anchored in place, the patient should remain relatively stable, although infections can cause tissue death and complications like organ failure. If the structure breaks open, it can compress other organs and may potentially be fatal if internal bleeding occurs. In cases of rupture, the patient typically reports an acute onset of pain and discomfort, and may go into shock as a result of internal bleeding.

The typical treatment for a urachal cyst is surgery to address the abnormality. In patients with infections, the patient may need to remain on antibiotics to stabilize before the surgery can take place. In cases where neighboring tissue dies as a result of the infection, the surgery will include debridement to take this tissue out so it does not cause problems for the patient.

In my case, I was scheduled for a surgery, but due to financial reasons, it was and is still postponed. I was admitted in the hospital for four days, where I was treated with IV antibiotics (ertapenem sodium) once a day, which costs around ninety-three (93) US dollars per administration. The infection was subdued, and m condition is still under observation (lest I need an emergency surgery); and fortunately, my condition seems to be good.

The reasons for urachal cyst formation remain obscure. There do not appear to be any steps people can take during pregnancy to prevent cysts from growing, and they often appear independent of other fetal abnormalities. In cases where a baby has structural anomalies in the urinary tract, the doctor will conduct an ultrasound to check for problems like urachal cysts and kidney malformations, to rule out any associated complications. A pediatric urologist often takes charge of care for this condition, providing parents with advice and information on how to proceed. If the condition is not diagnosed until adulthood, the patient can see a regular urologist to discuss treatment options.

However, I was told by the doctor that since I am a menopausal baby (my mother conceived me after her menopause) and was born prematurely at seven months, the reason of the birth defect is very obvious. These days, whenever I feel a simple pain near my navel area, I do not hesitate to rush to the doctor and demand to have an ultrasound request. Better safe than sorry, and besides, these steps are covered by our company insurance, while sadly, congenital conditions, such as my urachal cyst, are not covered.

Common Symptoms of Urachal Cyst:

  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Pain on urination
  • Persistent umbilical discharge
  • Fever
  • UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)
  • Lump
  • Hematuria

7 thoughts on “Urachal Cyst: What My Experience Taught Me

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  1. My 3 year old daughter had a urachal cyst 3 years ago now. When it was removed it weighed 2lbs and was 20cm x 10cm. 20% has been left in on the bladder dome which could not be removed.

    1. It’s nice that most of her urachal cyst has been removed. Mine is still here, and it gives me occasional paranoia, especially when I feel pain near or around the area. 😦

  2. i have a cyst and was hospitalized for 6 days with antibiotics. after they let me out they told me to get a follow up with a urologist, but that freaking doctor is not responding back for an appoinment to neither me or my family doctor!! its been three weeks with this cyst, and more than 1 week without any medications and i am dying with pain!!! i have a quick question, how long do they make you wait until to get the surgery?

    1. The doctors in our local hospital wanted me to undergo the surgery as soon as possible. had it not been for all the financial issues, they would have sliced my navel open and removed the cyst immediately.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story with this. It’s so rare that there isn’t a ton of info out there. I’m 30 and mine started acting up 4 months ago. After 63 days of oral and IV antibiotics, I’m finally having surgery in 3 weeks.

    ‘Sad’ I would encourage you to go back to hospital if urologist or family dr isn’t helping. These are so rare, many drs don’t know to look for them, and left untreated can be very serious! ESP if it is getting infected… Some bacterias are deadly if not caught in time. My mom is a nurse and says you just treat your health like shopping… Look around and get lots of opinions/ insight.

    All the best.

    Aaeg

    1. Thank you very much. Yes, it is true. Mine was not noticed until the infection was on its worse condition. I still go back to my doctor every once in a while, but I do not have the needed money for the surgery. I hope yours get better as well. God bless with the surgery. 🙂

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