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Nabothian cyst

Definition

A nabothian cyst is a lump filled with mucus on the surface of the cervix.

The cervix is located at the lower end of the womb (uterus) at the top of the vagina. It is about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) long.

Causes

The cervix is lined with glands and cells that release mucus. The glands can become covered by a type of skin cells called squamous epithelium. When this happens, the secretions build up in the plugged glands. They form a smooth, rounded bump on the cervix. The bump is called a nabothian cyst.

Symptoms

Each nabothian cyst appears as a small, white raised bump. There can be more than one.

Exams and Tests

During a pelvic exam, the health care provider will see a small, smooth, rounded lump (or collection of lumps) on the surface of the cervix. Rarely, magnifying the area (colposcopy) may be needed to tell these cysts from other bumps that can occur.

Most women have small nabothian cysts. These are detected by vaginal ultrasound. If you're told you have a nabothian cyst during a vaginal ultrasound exam, don't be concerned, as their presence is normal.

Sometimes the cyst is opened to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

No treatment is necessary. Nabothian cysts do not cause any problems.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Nabothian cysts do not cause any harm. They are a benign condition.

Possible Complications

The presence of many cysts or cysts that are large and blocked can make it hard for the provider to do a Pap test. This is rare.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Most of the time, this condition is found during a routine pelvic exam.

Prevention

There is no known prevention.

References

Choby BA. Cervical polyps. In: Pfenninger JL, Fowler GC, eds. Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2011:chap 135.

Dolan MS, Hill C, Valea FA. Benign gynecologic lesions: vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, oviduct, ovary, ultrasound imaging of pelvic structures. In: Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 18.

Hertzberg BS, Middleton WD. Pelvis and uterus. In: Hertzberg BS, Middleton WD, eds. Ultrasound: The Requisites. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 23.

Malpica A. Cervical benign and non-neoplastic conditions. In: Mutter GL, Prat J, eds. Pathology of the Female Reproductive Tract. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2014:chap 8.

Mendiratta V, Lentz GM. History, physical examination, and preventive health care. In: Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 7.

Review Date:9/28/2017
Reviewed By:John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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Health Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

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