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Nabothian cyst

Definition

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

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

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.

Signs and tests

During a pelvic exam, the doctor will see a small, smooth, rounded lump (or collection of lumps) on the surface of the cervix. Rarely, a colposcopy is necessary to distinguish nabothian cysts from other bumps and sores that can occur on the cervix.

Sometimes the cyst is opened to confirm that it is a nabothian cyst.

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 examinations more difficult.

Expectations (prognosis)

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

Complications

Rarely, cysts become so numerous or enlarged that the cervix becomes enlarged or blocked, making it difficult to take a Pap smear.

Calling your health care provider

This condition is usually discovered during a routine pelvic examination.

Prevention

There is no known prevention.

References

Lentz GM. History, physical examination, and preventive health care: general, gynecologic, and psychosocial history and examination, health care maintenance, disease prevention. In: Katz, VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 7.

Review Date: 11/1/2009
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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