Nabothian Cyst Definition:- It is a mucus-filled growth on the surface or the exterior part of the cervix.
What is a Nabothian Cyst?
It is a cyst or a mucous filled lump that develops on the surface of the cervix, which is the connecting body part between the vagina and the uterus located at the lower end of the uterus, at the top of the vagina. It is approximately one inch long, has a structure like that of a canal and is connected to the cervical gland. The dull yellow colored mucous secreted by the cervical gland is filled with the nabothian cysts and hence these cysts are also known as mucinous retention cysts or epithelial cysts.
They are benign in nature and do not pose any potential risks to an individual.
Size of a Nabothian Cyst
The size of these cysts can range from a few millimeters to up to 5 centimeters in diameter. A nabothian cyst bigger than 5 centimeters has not been reported anywhere till date.
Duration and Prevention
There is not set duration for which a nabothian cyst can last. It can stay with you lifelong or vanish itself within few days or months.
There is no known prevention method for these cysts.
Nabothian Cyst Symptoms
These cysts are usually asymptomatic and exhibit very few peculiar symptoms that can be really helpful in their diagnosis. They are:
- A lump approximately 10 millimeters to 5 centimeters in size
- White or pale yellow color of the cyst
- Smooth surface of the cyst
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- A raised bump
- Pelvic congestion
- Pressure on the pelvic region
Causes of Nabothian Cyst
The causes of these cysts are:
Clogging of mucous producing cervical gland :- Nabothian cysts can form when mucous producing glands in the cervix get blocked and coated with skin cells. The skin cells clog the gland that cause mucous collection to take place forming the mucous-filled lump on the cervix that appears white or pale yellow in color.
Childbirth :- During childbirth surplus skin cells can form on the mucous glands on the cervix and block them causing mucous accumulation to take place. This leads to the formation of mucous-filled cysts.
Physical trauma:- Physical trauma can cause surplus tissue to develop on the surface of the mucous gland, trapping the mucous inside, leading to the formation of mucous-filled nabothian cysts. These cysts are mostly formed during recovery from chronic cervicitis in which the cervix tissues become swollen.
Which doctor do you need to consult for a Nabothian Cyst?
Doctors specializing in the area of female reproductive system, female genital organs and nabothian cysts are called gynecologists. If you doubt that you have a nabothian cyst on your cervix, then you must consult a Gynecologist immediately.
Nabothian Cyst Diagnosis
These cysts can be seen and diagnosed during the pelvic examination. They can also be seen during an MRI, CT scan or a routine pelvic ultrasound. Once the doctor notices a cyst on your cervix, he/she may break one of the cysts open from proper diagnosis.
Colposcopy is another procedure that your doctor may use to identify the cyst. This procedure involves magnifying the affected area to distinguish it from other possible cysts that can grow on the cervix.
During examination, if the doctor suspects that the cyst formation is associated with neoplasia affecting mucous product, he/she may conduct a biopsy of the cyst. This condition is called adenoma malignum and is a very rare condition.
Nabothian Cyst Treatment
These cysts are benign in nature and mostly do not require any treatment. In very rare cases, the cyst may become big in size and distort the shape and size of the cervix. In some cases, it can also make routine cervical examination difficult. In such cases, the doctor may recommend removal of the cyst in order to free the cervix and conduct proper examination.
These cysts can be removed surgically using excision or procedures called electro cautery ablation and cryotherapy.
Excision :- During the excision, the doctor may use a scalpel or a blade to remove the cyst.
Electrocautery Ablation :- During electrocautery ablation, the doctor will use an electric current to remove the cyst. The electric current generates heat that your doctor uses to melt the cyst. Your doctor may also drain fluid or mucous from the cyst during this procedure. This procedure is highly recommended by doctors these days due to the minimum blood loss that takes place during it.
Cryotherapy :- In this procedure, the doctor will use liquid nitrogen to freeze the cyst and break it. It is less invasive as compared to excision and electrocautery ablation and most preferred by patients.
Though surgical procedures are the best solution for these cysts, herbal home remedies for nabothian cysts can also come handy in providing relief from infections and inflammation. Aloe Vera, a natural antiseptic and anti-microbial remedy can be of great use in prevention of infections of the cervical cyst. You can take Aloe Vera juice or have a few spoonful of freshly scooped Aloe Vera gel. A mix of organic turmeric juice with ginger and cucumber can also be taken to reduce inflammation of the area surrounding the cyst.
Nabothian cyst- Risk factors
Women who are either pregnant or of childbearing age are mostly like to develop a Nabothian cyst.
Also, women who have a condition called adenoma malignum are at a risk of developing this cyst at some point of life till the onset of menopause. Adenoma malignum is a type of neoplasia that affects the mucous production in the cervix. If you are having a Nabothian cyst, you must consult your doctor about being screened for adenoma malignum.
Complications of Nabothian Cysts
There are usually no complications associated with Nabothian cysts. They are form as a complication of hysterectomy but pose no potential threat to life.
In very few cases, pap smear tests can be painful or next to impossible because of the presence of abnormally large cysts or more than one cyst on the surface of the cervix. If you get stuck in a situation like this, seek medical help and get the cysts removed immediately.
In one rarest of rare case, an abnormally big Nabothian cyst was mistaken for a malignant tumour because of which the patient was referred for hysterectomy. Fortunately for the patient, the cyst was rightly identified as a nabothian cyst using a pelvic ultrasound and was drained and removed successfully. Hence, a nabothian cyst has never really caused any potential harm or risk to the patient in any way.
Pregnancy and Nabothian Cyst
More than 50% of these cysts are diagnosed during routine pregnancy examinations. It is very common for these cysts to form during the pregnancy period.
In a normal reproductive environment, the cervix opens to allow blood during menstruation to flow from your vagina and the male sperm to enter uterus from the vaginal path. During pregnancy, the cervix shuts to keep the developing embryo intact in the uterus. After the child is born, a new tissue develops on the mucous glands and skin cells block them which results in formation of mucous-filled cysts over a period of time. This process is called metaplasia.
If you have a hint that a nabothian cyst developed in your cervix during pregnancy, then you must consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor will then suggest a proper course of treatment and surgery, if required.
Nabothian Cyst Pictures
Browse through these pictures, that will help you understand what they are and how they look like.
Picture 1 – A cervical nabothian cyst
Picture 2 – Normal cervix vs a cervix with a cyst
Picture 3 – Early pregnancy with nabothian cyst
Picture 4 – Surgical removal of a cervical cyst