Vaginal Cysts, Polyps and Warts

The vagina has a lining that can form cysts, polyps and warts. Although these occur often, they are not harmful.

Cysts are made when a gland or duct is clogged and liquid collects in a sac. Inside the vagina, they are usually painless, round lumps that can get to be the size of a plum before you notice them. Many are found along the sides of the vagina but they rarely get larger than a dime. Most of these are Gartner's Cysts that formed when women were babies. They do not need any treatment unless they get larger. Rarely, painful cysts, from a disease called endometriosis, can form. These may need treatment with medicine, laser or other surgical procedures.

Polyps are small skin tags found in the vagina that usually are not noticed. Treatment is not needed unless they become painful or bleed.

Warts in the vagina are similar to the warts on our hands but are caused by different viruses. They are small, pebbly growths that can be felt with a finger. Sometimes they can be noticed at the opening of the vagina. Use a mirror to help you check the area. Warts may be harder to feel inside the vagina. There is no pain with these, though some women notice mild itching.

Sometimes warts may be discovered during a pelvic exam. If you think you have been exposed to warts, let your healthcare provider know. The virus that causes these warts, Human Papilloma Virus, is passed during sex, and is considered a risk for a cancer. Freezing, laser surgery, drug or chemical treatments are used. Your partner may also need treatment.

Your partner may not know he has this virus or may have tiny warts that are difficult to see or feel. It's difficult to protect yourself by just asking if he has warts. You can help protect yourself, however, by using a latex or plastic condom. This will also help prevent the spread of other sexually transmitted diseases.