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Vaginal Cysts

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Vaginal Cyst Symptoms

Vaginal cysts usually don't cause symptoms. If you have one of these cysts, you might feel a small lump along the vaginal wall or on the lips. Often, your gynecologist will discover the lump during your annual exam. The cyst might stay the same size or grow larger. 

The cyst shouldn't be painful. However, some larger cysts -- especially Bartholin's gland cysts -- can cause discomfort when you walk, have sex, or insert a tampon. 

Cysts are more likely to cause pain when they get infected. Vaginal cysts can become infected by the normal bacteria found on the skin or by a sexually transmitted infection. Infected vaginal cysts can form an abscess -- a pus-filled lump that can be very painful.

Vaginal Cyst Treatments

Vaginal cysts usually don't need to be treated. Often they will remain small and not cause any problems. Your health care provider may just want to monitor the cyst's growth during routine exams. 

You might need to have a biopsy of the cyst to rule out cancer. During a biopsy, your health care provider removes a piece of tissue from the cyst. That piece of tissue is examined under a microscope to see if it is cancerous. 

To relieve any discomfort you're having from a vaginal cyst, sit in a bathtub filled with a few inches of warm water (called a sitz bath) several times a day for three or four days. 

To treat an infected vaginal cyst, you may need to take antibiotics. 

If a vaginal cyst is large and filled with fluid (like a Bartholin's cyst), your health care provider can insert a small tube called a catheter to drain it. You will have to keep the catheter in place for about four to six weeks. You could also have a procedure in which a small incision is made in the cyst to drain the fluid (called marsupialization). 

It's also possible to have surgery to remove the entire cyst if you're very uncomfortable or the cyst keeps returning. Some health care providers recommend that women over age 40 have surgery to remove a vaginal cyst because of the possibility that it might be cancerous. Cysts that are treated with surgery usually don't come back.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on February 21, 2013
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