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What Is a Cervical Cyst?

A healthcare professional may call for tests for a cervical cyst, but most require no treatment.
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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 July 2014
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A cervical cyst is a lump that forms on the cervix, most often appearing in adult and older women. Most cysts are completely benign growths and usually require no treatment. They are usually discovered during a routine pelvic exam and may lead a healthcare professional to call for tests to get further information about the problem.

The cervix is part of the female reproduction system and joins the lower part of the uterus to the vagina. One of the main functions of this area is the production of mucus, which assists in allowing fertilization and also prevents bacteria from entering the uterus during pregnancy. If the epithelium, or exterior tissue, of the cervix grows over these areas, the mucus becomes trapped and results in a cyst.

In most cases, cervical cysts cause no pain and will disintegrate over time without treatment. Many women are not even aware of the cysts until they are discovered through a pelvic exam. Some women who regularly test their cervical mucus for fertility monitoring may notice the cysts during self-exams. Though they are almost always benign, gynecological testing may be recommended if a cyst appears to be growing.

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A cervical cyst may, on rare occasions, be a sign of cervical cancer. A medical professional will typically test a cyst for cancer by performing either a biopsy or a colposcopy. In a biopsy, a sample of the tissue, or sometimes the entire cyst, is removed and tested for cancer. A colposcopy is the use of an insertable microscope that allows a close up view of the cervical area and any cysts. While colposcopy may not give a definite diagnosis, it can show if there are things about the cyst that appear characteristic of cancer.

If a cyst is noted during a self-exam, it is important for a woman to watch out for symptoms that may indicate a problem. Pain during intercourse, extremely heavy periods, or bleeding between periods can be signs of an overgrown cyst or a possible indication of cancer. Woman should see a healthcare professional right away if any of these signs occur.

Women who have been diagnosed with the human papillomavirus (HPV) should get any cysts checked out, on top of having regular gynecological exams. Although experts have not yet determined why, it is apparent that HPV plays a major role in increasing the risk for cervical cancer. The virus is generally contracted through sexual activity and may be protected against through use of barrier-method contraceptives and vaccines.

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anon335850
Post 6

I recently had a cyst removed from my cervix and it was the size of a cutie orange.

Mor
Post 5
@umbra21 - I think it depends on what country you are in as to whether or not you'll be enrolled in a program to get checked regularly.

I recommend if you are in the States and aren't already being checked by a family doctor, that you try the family planning clinics. They will be cheaper and less judgmental, in my experience.

umbra21
Post 4

@otatop - Generally, I think they recommend that you start getting yearly pap smears once you are over a certain age. I've in my 30's and I've been recommended to get them done once every two years. It might be different for people who have had an abnormal result come back though.

Abnormal results do come back fairly often. I've never had one (fingers crossed) but more than one of my friends has and they have always turned out to be nothing too important.

It is important to get checked regularly though since this is one of the big cancers that kills a lot of women and it's almost completely preventable if you get tested regularly. The doctor or nurse will do a visual exam at the same time, so they will be able to see if you've got any cysts.

otatop
Post 3

@Hannah77-I've had cervical problems for as long as I can remember. Everything from polyps and cysts to dysplasia. And I've never had any symptoms.

I've heard that some people have pain (especially during sex) or discharge, but I've never had those symptoms.

The best way to know if you have cysts is by getting regular Paps. Cysts can make the Pap come back abnormal. Also, during the exam the doctor can see or feel cysts. That's how she found mine. Always get a yearly Pap.

Hannah77
Post 2

How can I tell if I have a cyst or not? What are cervical cysts symptoms?

Othilia
Post 1

Years ago I developed a nabothian cyst on my cervix. My OB found it during my annual exam. He said it was the largest he'd ever seen, about the size of a grape. He lanced it and put me on antibiotics, but ever since then my Pap smears come back abnormal.

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