Vaginal Cysts are closed pouch or sac-like structures that may contain fluid, air or gaseous substance. Generally, cysts are harmless and non-cancerous and does not cause any pain or discomfort.
Cysts can sometimes become infected with bacteria. These cysts can develop anywhere and on any part of the body including vagina. Some vaginal cysts are smaller in size and may not be visible by naked eye but in some cases vaginal cysts can grow to a much larger size.
Types and Causes of Vaginal Cysts:
Vaginal cysts are usually a result of an injury or damage to the vagina during birth of child or buildup of liquid in glands due to tumor growth.
There are numerous types of vaginal cysts. Some common types are:
- Bartholin’s gland cysts: Bartholin is a gland that is situated near vaginal opening. This gland helps in the production of fluid to lubricate outer lips of vagina. Vaginal cysts may develop if glandular opening is obstructed or clogged – thereby leading to the fluid buildup.
- Inclusion cysts: These are the most common form of vaginal cysts and usually develops on the outer wall of vagina due to an injury (such as surgical trauma or injury due to problematic child birth). These types of cysts are usually very small in size and are barely noticeable.
- Müllerian cysts: Mullerian cysts are usually filled with mucus and develop on the inner or outer vaginal wall. It may have a congenital association in some cases.
- Gartner’s duct cysts: Gartner duct forms during pregnancy. After the baby is born this duct vanishes. Though sometimes it does not disappear and results in the build-up of fluid which may later presents with cysts on the vaginal wall.
Generally vaginal cysts do not have any symptoms and are usually discovered incidentally during routine physical examination by doctor. However, one may notice a small bump on vagina which may cause localized discomfort or grows to a larger size and cause soreness and pain during sex, exercise or while walking.
Usually, these are not painful unless infected due to pus accumulation.
Complications as a result of vaginal cysts are rare. However, sometimes these cysts grow in size with the passage of time and accumulate pus and infection that becomes painful. In order to treat this infection pus should be drained.
Vaginal cysts require treatment only if the size of the cysts increases and causes pain or discomfort or if it becomes infected.
Here is how your doctor addresses vaginal cysts:
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics are prescribed if vaginal cysts are caused by an STD or if the cysts become infected and accumulate pus.
- Sitz baths: Sitz bath involves soaking the cysts area in lukewarm water multiple times a day for a period of three to four weeks or until the cysts burst. It helps to rupture the cysts and drain pus to relieve pain.
- Marsupialization: This technique helps in preventing the recurrence of cysts. This technique is reserved for cases in which cysts recur after initial treatment. To stop recurrence cysts are open and wash out completely before stitching the ends together in order to form a permanent opening to drain fluid easily. A tube made of rubber can also be inserted for some time to support the drainage.
- Gland removal: If the cysts are returning continuously and become painful then surgery is the way to get rid of cysts.
How to Prevent Vaginal Cysts?
The growth of cysts is not easy to prevent however we can minimize the chances of occurrence by maintaining optimal genital hygiene. In addition, practice safe sex to minimize the risk of developing sexually transmitted infections.
- Escudero, R. M., Martinez, M. N., & Castillo, O. A. (2014). Vaginal Gartner cysts: clinical report of four cases and a bibliographic review. Arch Esp Urol, 67(2), 181-184.
- Töz, E., Sancı, M., Cumurcu, S., & Özcan, A. (2015). Müllerian cyst of the vagina masquerading as a cystocele. Case reports in obstetrics and gynecology, 2015.