Vaginal cysts; Gartner’s duct cyst
A vaginal cyst is a closed sac on or under the vaginal lining that contains fluid or semisolid material.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
There are several types of vaginal cysts, which can range in size from the size of a pea to that of an orange. Vaginal inclusion cysts are the most common. These may form as a result of trauma sustained by the vaginal walls or following an obstetric or gynecologic procedure, when the lining of the vagina doesn’t heal to its normal smoothness.
Gartner’s duct cysts develop in the space occupied by the Gartner’s duct, usually on the side walls of the vagina. This duct is active during fetal development but ordinarily disappears after birth. In some cases, however, portions of the duct may collect fluid and develop into a vaginal wall cyst later in life.
Benign tumors of the vagina are uncommon and are usually made up of cysts.
Vaginal cysts usually do not cause symptoms, although there may be a soft lump felt in the vaginal wall or protruding from the vagina. Some women with vaginal cysts may have discomfort during sexual intercourse.
Signs and tests
Upon pelvic examination, a mass or bulge of the vaginal wall may be seen or felt by the examiner. A biopsy may be necessary to rule out vaginal cancer, especially if the mass appears to be solid.
If the cyst is located under the bladder or urethra, X-rays may be required to be sure the cyst does not involve these structures.
Routine examinations and observation of the cysts (for growth or other changes) may be the only treatment needed. Surgical excision (removal) may also be elected or possibly required if the cyst is causing symptoms.
The outcome is generally good. Frequently cysts remain small and require no treatment. When surgically removed, the cysts usually do not return.
There are usually no complications.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if a lump is felt inside the vagina or protruding from the vagina.
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.
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.