Cysts are normal bumps and lumps that can appear anywhere on the human body. Their size can vary from microscopic to the size of an orange and are usually painless. These small sacs are normally filled with either fluid, air, or other various materials and will not harm the surrounding area. When they occur in the vaginal area, they can usually be found on the inner folds or on the vagina.
The Different Types of Vaginal Cysts
There are four main types of vaginal cysts that are
- Inclusion Cysts: These are not only the most commonly occurring vaginal cysts, they are also some of the smallest. These harmless cysts normally appear on the lower back of the vaginal wall.
- Bartholin’s Gland Cysts: Located on Bartholin’s Gland, these cysts are normally filled with fluid. These glands can be found on either side of the vaginal opening, and are responsible for producing the lubricating fluid for the labia.
- Gartner’s Duct Cysts: These cysts occur during and after pregnancy. After childbirth, small ducts that are supposed to disappear after the pregnancy can accidentally remain behind. Small cysts can then begin to grow in the vagina as the woman begins to age. Like other cysts, these are not harmful and only occur in some women.
- Mullerian Cyst: These cysts can also develop after childbirth, and commonly contain a type of mucus. They can appear more frequently than Gartner’s Duct cysts and also are able to grow anywhere on the vaginal wall.
Causes of Cyst Causes
Vaginal and other types of cysts form when either a duct or a gland becomes clogged. Liquid, mucus or other materials can become trapped inside causing a cyst to form. The type of cyst will depend on what caused the cyst to original form. Inclusion cysts are formed when some type of trauma occurs to the vaginal walls.
This can include surgical incisions and childbirth. Other traumas can be caused by sports-related injuries and other accidents. The cyst will normally from where the vaginal wall has been injured or torn.
Bartholin’s gland cysts are formed when one or both of the glands become blocked. This is usually caused by a loose fold of skin that can cover the gland. Fluid can then begin to build up, causing a cyst to form. Abscesses can also be found on the glands, and are caused by exposure to bacteria. Sexually transmitted diseases and intestinal tract infections can also cause Bartholin’s gland cysts to appear.
Symptoms of Vaginal Cysts
While vaginal cysts do not have any identifiable symptoms, other than possibly being able to feel the lump during a routine exam. Cysts also are not known to cause pain, but Bartholin’s gland cysts can interfere with sexual intercourse and some exercises over time. If a vaginal cyst does become painful, it might be an indication of a vaginal infection. If the infected vaginal cysts are left untreated, they can become painful abscesses.
Treatment for Vaginal Cysts
In most cases, the vaginal cysts do not need to be treated since they tend to remain small and will not affect everyday routines. For some women though, it might be necessary to have a small part of the cyst removed for screening. This is only to ensure that the cyst is not cancerous. In most cases, simple home remedies are more than sufficient in treating and relieving any of the minimal discomforts the vaginal cysts might cause. Some of these are,
- Filling a Bathtub with several inches of warm water and soaking in it a few times a day can help to relieve any discomfort a cyst may be causing.
- Cysts that have become infected and painful are often treated with antibiotics, while other cysts may need to be drained. There are two basic methods for draining a cyst, one includes having a catheter inserted to remove the built-up fluid and the other is a simple surgical cut that will quickly drain the fluid from the cyst. The most common type of cyst to need additional draining and treatment are normally found on Bartholin’s glands. Most women choose to have the cyst surgically drained, instead of having a catheter implanted. The catheter can be left in place for up to six weeks, making certain daily activities difficult.
While cysts commonly occur all over the human body, vaginal cysts can become a concern for some women. While they are usually small and do not effect a woman’s daily life, they can occasionally cause problems.
If a cyst is noticed on or around the vaginal area, it is always a good idea to have it examined by a health care provider. In some rare instances, it might be necessary to remove or to drain the cyst.