Nabothian cyst

A nabothian cyst is a mucus-filled cyst on the surface of the uterine cervix.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cervical canal is lined by glandular cells that normally secrete mucus. These endocervical glands can become covered by squamous epithelium in a process called metaplasia.

These nests of glandular cells (nabothian glands) on the cervix may become filled with secretions. As secretions accumulate, a smooth, rounded lump may form just under the surface of the cervix and become large enough to be seen or felt upon examination.

Each cyst appears as a small, white, pimple-like elevation. They can occur singly or in groups, and they are not a threat to health. The cysts are more common in women of reproductive age, especially those who have already had children.


There are no observable symptoms.

Signs and tests

Pelvic examination reveals a small, smooth, rounded lump (or collection of lumps) on the surface of the cervix. Rarely, a colposcopic examination is necessary to distinguish nabothian cysts from other types of cervical lesions.


No treatment is necessary. However, nabothian cysts do not spontaneously clear. They can be easily cured through electrocautery or Cryotherapy. Both procedures can be done in the doctor’s office.

Expectations (prognosis)

This is a benign condition.


Rarely, cysts may become so numerous or enlarged that the cervix becomes clinically enlarged.

Calling your health care provider

This condition is usually discovered during a routine pelvic examination.


There is no known prevention.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Brenda A. Kuper, M.D.

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