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Nabothian cyst

Definition

A nabothian cyst is a mucus-filled lump 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 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.

Sometimes the cyst is opened to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

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

Rarely, they may be opened and drained if they are large enough to cause problems with the shape of the cervical canal, which can make pelvic exams more difficult.

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 health care provider to do a Pap smear. 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

Lentz GM. History, physical examination, and preventive health care. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 7.


Review Date: 11/10/2013
Reviewed By: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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