NABOTHIAN CYSTS: WHEN CERVICAL FLUID GETS TOO COZY
SOUNDS GROSS. WHAT IS IT?
Fear not, these sound much worse than they actually are! Nabothian cysts form when the mucus-producing glands located on the cervix get coated with skin cells and become clogged.(1) Sounds not great, but it’s actually a pretty normal feature of the adult cervix that forms after childbirth or around childbearing age. These lil’ guys are tiny (a few millimeters to 4 centimeters in diameter) and look like white, yellow or translucent colored bumps on the surface of the cervix or cervical canal (quick refresher—the cervix is the opening between the vagina and uterus). Since the cysts are on the cervix, they are hard to see on your own unless you get a flashlight and speculum... #NancyDrew
Most of us have housed these bad boys and there is not much we can do to avoid them. Luckily, these cysts are typically benign, fairly common, and don’t require treatment—often clearing up on their own.(2) Since these cysts are typically symptomless, they’re usually discovered during routine pelvic examinations.
CAN IT GET SERIOUS?
In some not-so-common cases nabothian cysts can grow to an abnormally large size, which can sometimes lead to pain during sex, abnormal bleeding, or discharge. If you are experiencing any of these things, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with your practitioner! If during your pelvic exam, your doctor notices an enlarged nabothian cyst, you have several *optional* methods to go about removing the growth. The most common is having your practitioner use a scalpel to remove the cyst, however there is also the option of electrocautery ablation,(3) which involves a doctor using electric currents to produce heat over the cyst to remove it or cryosurgery,(4) in which a surgeon uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and shatter the cyst. The three methods definitely range in invasiveness so discuss with your doctor the best treatment option for you. #nabothiancystOUT.
TO SUM IT ALL UP
Put simply, if it’s not hindering your ability to have pleasurable sex and you’re not experiencing any other symptoms, let the cyst live and pass on. You may not even notice you have them!
Written by: Sarah Edo, Toronto
(1,2,3,4) Roth, E., Higuera, V. and Jewell, T. (2019). Nabothian Cyst: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/nabothian-cyst#causes [Accessed 31 Jan. 2019].