Nabothian Cyst: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Nabothian Cyst

What Is a Nabothian Cyst?


  1. Nabothian cysts are very small cysts that develop on your cervix. They’re also known as cervical cysts, mucinous retention cysts, or epithelial cysts.
  2. They’re benign, which means they’re noncancerous, and they aren’t a sign of cervical cancer. In fact, they’re fairly common.
  3. Your doctor will typically discover them during a pelvic examination. They usually don’t require treatment.

Nabothian cysts are tiny cysts that form on the surface of your cervix. Your cervix connects your vagina to your uterus. It’s 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 cervical cysts, mucinous retention cysts, or epithelial cysts. Nabothian cysts are fairly common.

Nabothian cysts aren’t a threat to your health, and they aren’t a sign of cervical cancer. Keep reading to learn what causes these types of cysts, ways to identify them, and the treatment options your doctor may recommend.

Causes of Nabothian Cysts

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Nabothian cysts form when the mucus-producing glands in your cervix are coated with skin cells and become clogged. The skin cells plug the glands. This causes mucus to accumulate. The result is a cyst on the cervix that looks like a small, white bump.

According to the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, childbirth and physical trauma to the cervix can cause nabothian cysts in some women.

Signs and Symptoms of Nabothian Cysts

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Nabothian cysts can range in size from just a few millimeters to 4 centimeters in diameter, according to Mayo Clinic Proceedings. They appear white or yellow in color and are smooth. Your doctor may notice one or more cysts during a routine pelvic examination. Since these cysts don’t cause pain, discomfort, or other symptoms, it’s most likely that your doctor will discover any cysts while examining your cervix to look for other problems.

You should contact your doctor if you have bleeding between your periods, unusual discharge, or pelvic pain. These symptoms may indicate an infection or other abnormality that requires evaluation.

Diagnosing Nabothian Cysts

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A pelvic examination is the only screening test to diagnose nabothian cysts. After discovering these small, white bumps on your cervix, your doctor may break a cyst to confirm the diagnosis.

Your doctor can also use a colposcopy to make an accurate diagnosis. This involves magnifying the area to distinguish nabothian cysts from other types of bumps.

Treatment for Nabothian Cysts

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Nabothian cysts are benign and usually don’t require treatment. In rare cases, the cysts may become large and distort the shape and size of your cervix. If this is severe, it can make a routine cervical examination difficult or impossible. In this situation, your doctor may recommend removal of the cyst in order to examine your cervix.

It’s important that your doctor can perform a complete examination of the cervix during routine visits. These examinations can ensure your reproductive health and help your doctor identify problems with your cervix early.

Nabothian cysts that need treatment can be removed through an excision or through a process called “electrocautery ablation.” During an excision, your doctor uses a scalpel or blade to remove the growth. During electrocautery ablation, your doctor uses an electric current to remove the cyst. The electric current produces heat that your doctor runs back and forth over the cyst. In some cases, your doctor may drain fluid from a cyst.

What Is the Long-Term Outlook for Nabothian Cysts?

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The outlook for nabothian cysts is extremely positive. These growths are benign and usually very small. They don't pose a health threat. Unfortunately, there’s no known way to prevent nabothian cysts. 

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