Nabothian cysts are tiny cysts that form on the surface of the cervix. The cervix is a part of the female anatomy that connects the vagina to the uterus. It is sometimes called the cervical canal.
Nabothian cysts are filled with mucus, which is secreted by the cervical glands. Sometimes, the tiny bumps are also called mucinous retention cysts or epithelial cysts. Nabothian cysts are fairly common.
Nabothian cysts are not dangerous to your health. They are not a sign of cervical cancer.
Nabothian cysts form when the mucus-producing glands in the cervix are coated with skin cells and become clogged. The skin cells plug the glands, causing mucus to accumulate. The result is a cyst.
According to the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, childbirth and physical trauma to the cervix can cause nabothian cysts in some women (Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2011).
Nabothian cysts can range in size from just a few millimeters to four centimeters wide (Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2011). They appear white or yellow in color and are smooth. Your doctor may notice one or more cysts during a routine pelvic examination.
Most women do not experience any symptoms associated with nabothian cysts. You should contact your doctor if you experience bleeding between your periods, unusual discharge, or pelvic pain. These symptoms may indicate an infection or other abnormality that requires attention, such as cervical cancer.
Most nabothian cysts do not require treatment. However, in rare cases, the cysts may be large enough to distort the shape and size of your cervix. A cervical examination can be difficult or impossible with severe distortion. In this situation, your doctor must remove the cyst so that he or she can examine the cervix. Visual examination of the cervix is an important way to ensure your reproductive health.
Nabothian cysts that require treatment can be removed through an excision or an electrocautery ablation. Excision refers to the removal of a growth with a scalpel or blade. Electrocautery ablation uses an electric current to remove the cyst. The electric current produces heat that your doctor runs back and forth over the cyst.
The outlook for nabothian cysts is extremely positive. Since they are benign and usually very small, the growths do not pose a health threat.