Nabothian Cyst

Nabothian cysts are harmless lumps found in the cervix. They are common, and in most cases, no treatment is necessary.

Last Updated: February 21, 2024

Nabothian cysts on the cervix are common in women who have already given birth. They also happen in older women whose cervical skin has thinned due to menopause

No current studies indicating the prevalence of Nabothian cysts. But 30 years ago, prevalence was estimated to be around 12%.

Cervical glands create mucus. Sometimes, healthy cervical skin cells cover these glands, trapping mucus inside. When mucus cannot escape the gland, they become what is called a Nabothian cyst.

Nabothian cysts frequently lack any noticeable symptoms until they are identified during a routine colposcopy. Symptoms like dyspareunia, pelvic pain, irregular vaginal bleeding, and vaginal discharge are typical, but when the cyst becomes large and complex, it could press on an organ. Large Nabothian cysts may cause pressure symptoms such as the inability to defecate normally, tenesmus, urine retention, absent periods, and lower abdomen pain.

Nabothian cysts are so frequent that a doctor may notice them during a pelvic exam. When a doctor is not sure, other tests are done such as the following:

  • MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound;
  • A procedure to see the inside of the cervix called colposcopy. This method enlarges the cervix from the inside to determine if the lump is a Nabothian cyst or anything else;
  • A physician may drain some of the cyst fluid and submit it to the lab for analysis. This test will tell if the bulge is malignant or not.

Treatment

Asymptomatic, noncancerous Nabothian cysts require no treatment. When pain is present or when cancer cannot be ruled out, therapy is recommended. If treatment is needed, most of it is just draining. 

When the cyst becomes a barrier to birth, simple drainage can also be done to let a normal vaginal delivery happen. If the diagnosis cannot be made or if the cyst is deep or large and causing symptoms, it needs to be removed so that the nature of the cyst can be looked at and other cervical tumors and adenoma can be ruled out.

Other ways Nabothian cysts are destroyed are through electricity and cold. Electrocautery ablation involves directing electric currents at the cyst in order to destroy it. The currents heat the cyst, which kills it in the end. In cryotherapy, the cyst is killed by freezing it using liquid nitrogen.

Nabothian cysts are unavoidable, but you should not worry if you develop them. Make sure to schedule appointments with your gynecologist for any cervical growth.

References

AlJulaih GH, Puckett Y. Nabothian Cyst. [Updated 2022 Jun 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559047/

Cleveland Clinic (2022). Nabothian Cyst. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22653-nabothian-cyst

Last Updated: February 21, 2024