Cysts and lesions may occur almost anywhere in your reproductive system. Sometimes they present no symptoms, but in other cases they can affect menstruation or cause pain and discomfort. Dr. Susanne Ramos and her team in Santa Barbara, California, can diagnose and treat or remove many of these typically benign masses in the office. Call today or book an appointment online.
Cysts, polyps, fibroids, and other masses may develop in different spots, from the vulva to the vagina and uterus, right through to the fallopian tubes and ovaries. In many cases, you won’t be aware of them, and they may even come and go without you ever knowing. Some of the more common growths are ovarian cysts, Bartholin gland cysts, cervical polyps, and vulvar inclusion cysts and epidermal cysts.
For the most part, ovarian cysts produce few symptoms. You may have them and be completely unaware. There is, however, a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, that isn’t named for the presence of cysts themselves, but for a collection of symptoms, including ovarian cysts.
Affecting up to 10% of women in the United States, PCOS is the most common cause of infertility. Women with PCOS typically display mild obesity, irregular menstrual flow, and an excess of androgen, which usually manifests in a number of symptoms, such as acne and unwanted hair growth.
These are the most common large cysts affecting the vulva. These cysts may cause irritation and problems walking, since the Bartholin glands sit on either side of the vaginal opening. When the duct of a gland gets blocked, it fills with mucus and grows, resulting in a cyst.
These cysts generally affected younger women. In rare cases, the cysts grow large and may form abscesses, requiring drainage and possibly antibiotic treatment.
Affecting up to five percent of women in the US, cervical polyps generally have no symptoms, but in some cases, they may become infected. They may also bleed between menstrual periods or after intercourse. Cervical polyps that are bleeding or infected may be removed with no need for anesthetic during a short visit to Dr. Ramos.
There are two types of common vulvar cysts: epidermal cysts and inclusion cysts. Epidermal cysts develop from sebaceous glands, much like whiteheads and pimples on the skin.
Although they can occur spontaneously, inclusion cysts often stem from trauma, such as cuts or episiotomy repair, where epithelial tissue has been sutured inside an incision. Inclusion cysts are more common, and may sometimes occur in the vagina as well.
Unless these kinds of cysts become infected, they typically have few symptoms, though they may occasionally cause irritation.