What is a Nabothian Cyst and When Does it Require Medical Intervention?

Page content

Problem Definition

Nabothian cysts develop on the surface of the cervix, and typically appear as very small bumps that are usually white or pale in color. A nabothian cyst is usually between two and ten millimeters in diameter, and is filled with pale-colored mucus.

For most women, nabothian cysts develop after childbirth, when new tissue grows on the cervix after the physical trauma of the birth. The growth of new tissue can block the mucus-secreting nabothian glands of the cervix, which prevents mucus from being secreted, and causes the formation of a nabothian cyst.

The appearance of a nabothian cyst, or several cysts, is absolutely normal in women who give birth. Nabothian cysts are also common in women who have reached menopause, because the skin of the cervix begins to thin, and this can prevent mucus secretion by nabothian glands.

Women who have an infection of the cervix called chronic cervicitis may also develop nabothian cysts.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Nabothian Cysts

Unless they grow extremely large in size, nabothian cysts cause no symptoms – there is no pain, abnormal discharge, or any other sign associated with the development of a nabothian cyst. Most women don’t know they have nabothian cysts until their presence is revealed during a pelvic exam.

Nabothian cysts are usually diagnosed during a routine gynecological examination. In virtually all cases they are considered normal, and no treatment is needed.

Treatment for Nabothian Cyst Development

Because the formation of these cysts is normal for most women, treatment for nabothian cyst development is not usually considered to be necessary. Treatment may be carried out if a cyst grows very large, or if there are a very large number of cysts (as may occur in women with chronic cervicitis).

If your gynecologist decides that treatment for nabothian cyst formation is needed, one of two methods will typically be used:

  • Electrocautery: the use of a heated probe to destroy and cauterize the cyst.
  • Cryotherapy: the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the cyst.


Nabothian Cyst Overview at the University of Maryland Medical Center

Medline Plus: Nabothian Cysts

Intelliheath at Aetna: Nabothian Cyst Information