Vaginal Cysts

A cyst is a pocket of tissue that may contain fluid, pus, air, or other material. A vaginal cyst may grow under or on the lining of the vagina. It may develop when a gland or duct is blocked and traps liquid inside. Most vaginal cysts are not painful but they may cause discomfort depending on their size and location.

What are the different types of vaginal cysts?

There are several types of vaginal cysts:

  • Vaginal inclusion cysts — These usually small cysts may develop after surgery or after a woman gives birth; they result from trauma to the vaginal tissue.
  • Gartner duct cysts — These cysts may develop in a duct that develops as a baby is growing. If the duct does not go away after birth, a cyst may form later in life.
  • Bartholin cyst or abscess — The Bartholin glands lie on the outside of the vagina, and provide lubrication. If a gland is blocked, fluid or pus may build up inside. These types of cysts may grow large and may be painful.
  • Müllerian cysts — These are created from structures left behind when a baby develops. These cysts can grow anywhere on the vaginal walls and they often contain mucus.
  • Skene's gland cysts — These are cysts that form by the urethra when the opening to the gland is blocked.

How are vaginal cysts diagnosed?

Vaginal cysts appear as bulges in the vaginal tissue. Most are small and do not need to be treated, but your doctor may want to rule out infection, cancer, benign tumors or endometriosis (when tissue that normally grows inside the lining of the uterus grows outside of it).

Our female pelvic medicine specialists will talk with you about your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and may perform a biopsy in which a small tissue sample from the cyst may be taken to check for cancer and other possible causes of your symptoms.

What is the treatment for vaginal cysts?

Vaginal cysts often don't need to be treated. But if they are uncomfortable or painful or getting in the way, you may choose to have them surgically removed.

For More Information

For more information about pelvic floor disorders and incontinence, including definitions of terms, causes, symptoms, diagnoses and treatments, visit our Educational Resources page.