If you have a sac-like pocket of tissue containing fluid, pus, gaseous or other substances then you are likely to have a cyst. There are several forms or types that can occur almost any place in your body including the vulvar. Most of them are benign, that is to mean they are non-cancerous. Here, you’ll discover the causes, symptoms, types and ways to get rid of vulvar cysts.
In many circumstances, cysts are usually neither harmful nor painful. They can also be so minute that necked eye can`t see them. Majorly, they form when a duct or a gland is blocked causing the liquid, pus or other substances to collect inside a sac-like closed pocket. Their causes are many and thus there are different types.
In the following section, we will learn about the various types of vulvar cysts, causes, symptoms, and treatments but before this, let us know what vulvar is.
What is vulvar?
Vulvar is defined as the outer part if the female genitals. It includes vagina opening (vestibule), labia majora, labia minora, and clitoris. It has glands called sebaceous glands and Bartholin glands that can get blocked to form it. So they are grouped into two major categories namely, vulvar sebaceous and inclusion epithelial cysts.
Types and causes
As we had said, there two types that can occur at vulvar. Here we discover detailed information about these two common types.
Sebaceous vulvar cysts
Also called sebaceous gland or epidermal inclusion cysts are the types of benign vulvar cyst that are formed when the sebum-producing glands (sebaceous glands) of the vulvar get blocked following a number of conditions of factors.
They are common in aged women but can also affect young girls as well. I mean there is no age limit or racial preference.
One important point to note, cysts are not cancerous and cannot be transmitted through sexual activity. They are due to blockage of the oils glands. This can be due to one or combination of the following factors:
- Hormonal disorders that trigger an increase or decrease in levels of certain hormones such as androgen and testosterone hormones. This will lead to excessive production of oil.
- Skin trauma that may lead to swollen hair follicles or displaced epithelial tissue
- Waxing and shaving of the areas of vulvar
- Skin build-ups such as dead skin cells, dirt and some cosmetics can also clog the sebaceous glands.
- Certain medications can also trigger hormonal shifts
- Genetic conditions
- Chronic inflammatory skin conditions
Epithelial inclusion cysts of vulvar
This is the most common one that develops in vulvar or vagina. Just like sebaceous ones, they are small sacs that form on the surrounding epithelial tissue. Other names for this condition are the vulvar epithelial inclusion or squamous inclusion cysts of the vulva. They are also common in adult women.
Literally, they are caused when epithelium tissue if displaced due various conditions. The following are some of the factors that can result to this kind of cyst but also bear in mind that some may also occur on their own.
- Vulvar trauma experienced during childbirth or during surgical procedures.
- Unusual congenital epithelial remnants during fetal growth and development
In many cases, they are asymptomatic. I mean they may present no significant symptom. They are sometimes so minute that a necked eye cannot notice them. Whether epidermal or epithelial inclusion cyst, the symptoms are usually similar. Here are some of the symptoms that can develop alongside them
- Sac-like pocket filled with fluids which in many cases are more than one
- Usually, they will vary in size. Many are very small but can also grow bigger. They range between ¼ to 2 inches in diameter. They also tend to grow slowly
- The vulvar skin may redden or tender
- They are smooth to touch especially when they rolled under the skin
- Smelly discharge when they are drained
- In severe circumstances that victim may experience pain, itchiness or discomfort during sex, urination, walk or while sitting. But many are painless
- When they burst or drainage vulvar sores may emerge
- Sometimes blood vessels may be visible on them.
Cysts are usually innocent swellings that are symptomless especially when not infected. But in some cases, they can be a great source of panic. Usually, it is very hard to experience complication since they are benign condition however, there are also frightful linked complications that we must be extra keen on. They include the following:
- There may be the development of vulvar cyst abscess especially is infection is involved. This may accompany other symptoms such as fever etc.
- A victim may also experience extreme pain during sex in case of infected painful cysts
- They may also rupture and this can open the gate for secondary infections
- Severe ones that involve surgery may lead to damage to crucial nerves, blood vessels, and muscles
- Severe bleeding may result in case of rupture of huge cysts
- After surgery, the resultant wounds also are parts of complications
- Vulvar cyst removal procedures may also damage the vulvar skin resulting in other developing
Diagnosis for vulvar is very fundamental to define the appropriate treatment. Remember many clinical conditions bear similar symptoms and thus comprehensive diagnosis for each case is important.
The foremost diagnostic test is an examination of the medical history of the victim. Thereafter, physical examination of the vulvar may be done. To rule out sexually transmitted diseases, several tests can be carried out including vulvar biopsy. This will involve the excision of the lesions especially in the case of the epidermal vulvar cyst. A fine needle aspiration biopsy can also be done since cysts involve the accumulation of fluids. This will also determine whether there is an infection or not.
Your health service provider may also carry out more differential diagnostic tests to come out with a conclusive diagnosis.
This a kind of epithelial vulvar or vaginal cyst that is formed when the bartholin gland is blocked. Usually, Bartholin gland located on vag lips secretes a small amount of fluid that lubricates the vag lips. Actually, there are normally invisible and can`t be felt.
Bartholin usually results when the Bartholin glands are blocked with things such as thick mucus or a virginal discharge, infection (or sexually transmitted diseases) or swelling may be due to vulvar or vaginal trauma.
These are usually small and painless cysts but if infected, they can be big and present significant symptoms such as Bartholin gland abscess cyst that will definitely need treatments. For more symptoms, you can review the already explained symptoms.
Treatment for vulvar cysts
Can they be treated? Of course yes, they can be treated. Usually, vulvar cysts are small, painless and asymptomatic and thus no treatment may be necessary, however, my opinion tells me that this depends. In case the underlying cysts are not rendered good care or get infected, the resultant symptoms definitely will require treatment.
There are a lot of medications that can be applied to manage the symptoms of vulvar cysts. They can include antibiotics, antibacterial or topical/oral corticosteroids. In severe cases, surgical intervention may also be employed. The doctor or dermatologist always have a wide range of medications to prescribe. Visit a GP if you suspect your symptoms can’t be managed at home.
2. Home remedies for vulvar cysts
There are many home solutions that can be applied before, during or after the development of vulvar cyst to help manage the condition. They include home ingredients as well as don’t-do-operations. Below are the effective home solutions:
- Apply home ingredients such as aloe vera, Castor oil, witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, hot compress, potassium iodide and etc. This product will help to clear infections, tighten the pores, regulate the amount of oil production, soothe and moisturize the skin, relieve itching and inflammation as well as quickening the healing process.
- Wear cotton inner wears and at the same time avoid synthetic and tight-fitting undergarments
- Avoid the use of soaps with strong chemicals
- Do not pop or drain it at home
- Avoid rough sex or avoid sex completely in case of secondary infections
- Maintain standard genital hygiene
- Attend regular medical screening together with scans and physical evaluation
Not all therapies are fit for everyone, therefore if the cysts become a source of concern and OTC or home remedies are not meaningful, see your GP. They may be due to underlying health complication that can threaten your life. Your GP will always have many treatments for your case depending on the severity of the symptoms as well as the causes.
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