Cysts can form in different areas of the body. For example, most people are familiar with skin cysts, which are dome-shaped sacs of tissue filled with fluid or pus that grow on the skin. They are usually noncancerous but can be painful and uncomfortable.
A vaginal cyst has similar attributes, except it grows under or on a woman’s vaginal lining and can affect vaginal health. There are at least six variations of vaginal cysts you should know exist. They are as follows:
Vaginal Inclusion Cysts
Most women with vaginal cysts have vaginal inclusion cysts. They usually occur when a woman’s vaginal walls suffer injury from a surgical procedure or during the birth of her child.
Gartner Duct Cysts
These cysts form on the vagina’s side walls while a woman’s unborn baby is still in the womb. Fortunately, Gartner duct cysts typically vanish after a woman’s child is born. But if portions of the duct don’t disappear, the duct could accumulate fluid again and regrow a painful vaginal cyst in the future.
A Bartholin cyst forms when a Bartholin gland accumulates too much fluid or pus, resulting in the formation of a lump. A woman’s Bartholin glands exist on both sides of her vaginal opening.
Be careful with Bartholin cysts because they are susceptible to infection, pain, and swelling.
Endometriosis is not a common type of vaginal cyst. But if you have endometriosis, it will look like tiny cysts inside the vagina.
Benign tumors are also not common in the vagina. But when they do occur, they will primarily consist of several cysts.
Cystoceles occur when the vaginal muscles and bladder tissues are weakened, usually from childbirth. It causes the vaginal walls to form bulges (not cysts), but they do appear as cystic-like masses.
If you have cystoceles, the bulging on the vaginal walls may hinder the ability to urinate (or defecate in some cases).
Vaginal Cysts Symptoms
Women don’t really have to worry about vaginal cysts because they are not known to cause symptoms in most cases. However, there are some cases where the cystic lumps are uncomfortable or painful as they protrude from the vaginal area. The cysts can grow as small as a pea or as big as an orange.
Overall, Bartholin cysts and cystoceles are what you have to watch out for the most. In addition, virtually all vaginal cysts reduce a woman’s comfort during sex. So keep that in mind too.
Getting Tested for Vaginal Cysts
If you see or feel any unusual cysts or bulges in your vaginal area, you should immediately seek an examination from a qualified doctor or urologist. They may want to give you a pelvic exam to verify the cyst or bulge on your vaginal walls. And to rule out the possibility of vaginal cancer, the doctor will want to perform a biopsy to collect a tissue sample from the bulging mass and study it in a laboratory.
Vaginal Cyst Treatment
Regular examinations and testing will allow your doctor to continuously monitor your vaginal cysts to see if they have changed in size or color. But when your cysts get too big, your doctor may want to perform a minor surgical procedure to drain the fluid from the cysts. This is especially necessary if you have a Bartholin cyst.
The only other treatment alternative is prescription antibiotics. However, you may need surgery to stop a cyst from growing too much. Even though there is always a small risk of complications from getting surgery, the success rate is usually high when surgically removing cysts.
The average woman with cysts won’t need treatment because they won’t grow big or cause any symptoms. And if a woman elects to remove her cysts surgically, they usually don’t grow back again unless they are Bartholin cysts. In those cases, the woman may need continuous treatment from her doctor for her reoccurring Bartholin cysts.
Consult a Physician
Your primary care physician or urologist can give you the proper medical advice for diagnosing or treating your vaginal cysts. Always consult them when you first notice cystic signs on your vaginal walls or nearby areas.