Rathke’s Cleft Cyst: What You Need to Know

Rathke’s Cleft Cyst: What You Need to Know

A Rathke’s cleft cyst is a benign growth situated on the pituitary gland within the brain, particularly a cyst filled with mucin located in the back part of the anterior pituitary. This condition appears when Rathke’s pouch fails to develop correctly, with its size ranging from 2 to 40 mm in diameter.

Silent cysts often surface posthumously, discovered incidentally in 2 to 26 percent of those who have passed away because of unrelated reasons. There’s a notable gender distinction, with females facing twice the likelihood of cyst formation by comparison to males. Should a cyst exert pressure on the optic chiasm, it has the power to induce visual disruptions, instigate headaches, and trigger pituitary malfunctions.

What are the symptoms of Rathke’s Cleft Cyst?

Rathke’s cleft cysts exert pressure on the neural pathways that bridge the eyes and the brain, which will lead to alterations in the individual’s vision. The most prevalent signs encompass:

  • Nausea
  • Alterations in vision
  • Recurrent headaches
  • Sensations of drowsiness or weariness

Furthermore, these cysts can impinge on the pituitary gland, a scenario that will lead to the disruption of the hormone output it oversees. This disruption can lead to symptoms manifesting across various life stages, such as:

  • Stunted growth or delayed puberty in children
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessively dry skin
  • Challenges in regulating body temperature
  • Obesity
  • Low blood pressure
  • Digestive concerns like constipation
  • Menstrual irregularities or absence
  • Abnormal milk production and leakage from breasts unrelated to pregnancy or childbirth
  • Diminished or absent sexual drive

Surgery could be an option if you have Rathke’s Cleft Cyst

Addressing Rathke’s cleft cysts hinges on the specific symptoms they manifest. Small cysts might not require intervention. In the case of larger cysts, professionals might recommend surgical measures, encompassing procedures to drain and extract the cyst.

There is no known way to definitively prevent the development of Rathke’s cleft cysts, unfortunately, or not. These cysts are often considered to be congenital, meaning they emerge during fetal development and are typically present at birth. They are thought to result from abnormal development of Rathke’s pouch, which is a structure in the early development of the pituitary gland.

Pituitary gland: the basics

The pituitary gland, where Rathke’s Cleft Cyst develops, is also referred to as the hypophysis, and it’s a minute, pea-sized gland situated beneath our brain’s hypothalamus. Positioned within a dedicated compartment known as the sella turcica, the gland takes up residence at the brain’s base. The pituitary gland constitutes a vital component of a person’s endocrine system, overseeing the production of numerous crucial hormones. Moreover, the pituitary gland plays the role of a conductor, instructing other glands within the endocrine system of our bodies to unleash their own array of hormones.

You can consider a gland as an organism specialized in producing various substances, ranging from hormones to sweat, digestive enzymes, or tears. In the case of endocrine glands, they dispense hormones directly into your bloodstream, orchestrating your body’s intricate symphony of regulatory functions.

The pituitary gland’s front section produces essential hormones, so let’s learn a bit about them, shall we? Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), for instance, guides stress response, prompting cortisol release by adrenal glands to regulate blood pressure, metabolism, and inflammation. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), on the other hand, is known for influencing sperm creation in assigned males and encouraging estrogen production, affecting egg development in assigned females. Growth hormone (GH) is responsible for supporting childhood growth and adult muscle, fat distribution, bone health, and metabolism. Luteinizing hormone (LH) has the role of triggering ovulation in assigned females and testosterone in assigned males, overseeing gonadal roles. Prolactin is able to aid lactation post-birth and affects adult fertility and sexual functions. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is known for stimulating thyroid hormone production for managing metabolism, energy, and the nervous system.


Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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