Nabothian Cysts


What Is It?

Nabothian cysts are mucous glands that look like tiny bumps on the surface of the cervix. They are usually 2 millimeters to 10 millimeters in diameter, and they contain mucus that ranges in color from pale yellow to amber.

In most cases, nabothian cysts occur when new tissue regrows on the cervix after childbirth. This new tissue blocks the openings of the cervix’s nabothian glands, trapping their mucous secretion in tiny pockets under the skin. Nabothian cysts are a normal finding on the cervix of women who have had children. They also are seen in menopausal women whose cervical skin has thinned with age. Less often, nabothian cysts are related to chronic cervicitis, a long-term infection of the cervix.

Nabothian cysts also are called nabothian follicles, epithelial inclusion cysts, and mucinous retention cysts.


Nabothian cysts do not cause any symptoms.


In most cases, your doctor discovers that you have nabothian cysts during a routine gynecological exam. They almost always are considered to be normal.

Rarely, when there is something unusual about the cyst’s size or appearance, your doctor may perform colposcopy, a procedure that uses a magnifying instrument to examine the surface of the cervix closely. If the cyst still looks abnormal during colposcopy, your doctor may perform a biopsy to rule out rare forms of mucus-producing cancer. In a biopsy, a small piece of tissue from the cervix is removed to be examined in a laboratory.

Expected Duration

Nabothian cysts are usually a long-term condition. Over time, some cysts may get bigger.


Because nabothian cysts are considered to be normal, it is not necessary to prevent them.


Usually, no treatment is needed. However, in selected cases, your gynecologist may opt to remove the cyst. This can be done with electrocautery, which uses a heated probe to destroy the cyst, or with cryotherapy, which freezing the cyst with liquid nitrogen.

When To Call A Professional

Because nabothian cysts are normal and do not cause any symptoms, you probably will not know they are there. However, if you are an adult woman who is sexually active, it is important to visit your gynecologist at least once a year for a routine check-up.


The prognosis is excellent.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised:

Diseases and Conditions Center

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.