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Nabothian cyst


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

The cervix is part of the female body. It is at the lower end of the womb (uterus) at the top of the vagina. It is about 1 inch long.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cervix is lined with glands and cells that release mucus. The glands can become covered by a type of skin cells called squamous epithelium. When this happens, the secretions build up in the plugged glands. They form a smooth, rounded bump on the cervix. The bump is called a nabothian cyst.


Each nabothian cyst appears as a small, white raised bump. There can be more than one.

Signs and tests

During a pelvic exam, the health care provider will see a small, smooth, rounded lump (or collection of lumps) on the surface of the cervix. Rarely, magnifying the area (colposcopy) may be needed to tell these cysts from other bumps that can occur.

Sometimes the cyst is opened to confirm the diagnosis.


No treatment is necessary. Nabothian cysts do not cause any problems.

Rarely they may be opened and drained if they are large enough to cause problems with the shape of the cervical canal, which can examinations more difficult.

Expectations (prognosis)

Nabothian cysts do not cause any harm. They are a benign condition.


Rarely, cysts become so numerous or enlarged that the cervix becomes enlarged or blocked, making it difficult to take a Pap smear.

Calling your health care provider

This condition is usually discovered during a routine pelvic examination.


There is no known prevention.


Lentz GM. History, physical examination, and preventive health care: general, gynecologic, and psychosocial history and examination, health care maintenance, disease prevention. In: Katz, VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 7.

Review Date: 11/7/2011
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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