Cyst in Urethra – Causes Symptoms and Treatment Options for Skene Duct Cyst
Women of reproductive age experience various conditions, some of them are very common, and some are rare but can potentially hinder the lifestyle. One of them is formation of cysts in the reproductive organs. Cysts are common in women but some cysts rarely occur in and around urethra, the duct or canal through which the urine passes. This condition is also known as Skene Duct Cyst. Let’s know about it.
Skene Duct Cyst
In terms of female anatomy, skene glands are the organs located on the front of the vaginal wall or below the urethra. They are also called as paraurethral glands. The duct in the skene glands can sometimes get blocked resulting in fluid accumulation. This can lead to swelling and eventually, the formation of a cyst. In medical terminology, this condition is known as Skene Duct Cyst or with various other names such as Cyst of Skene’s Glands or Paraurethral Cysts.
What causes cyst formation in Skene Duct?
Skene glands serve a special purpose of secreting a fluid that helps in lubrication of the urethral opening. This helps the women have better sex, ejaculation as well as prevent urinary tract infections. When the duct in these glands gets clogged, fluid starts getting accumulated and this leads to the formation of cysts.
The condition causes enlargement and swelling of these glands and in worst cases, the cyst may turn into a painless abscess which can form due to bacteria or pathogens. Skene duct cyst is typically small and might look like a lump in the vaginal region. The condition can render a woman uncomfortable with walking, sitting or discomfort during sex.
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Who gets Skene Duct Cyst?
Skene duct cyst mostly occurs in adult women. In exceptional cases, the condition has been found in female infants.
Signs and Symptoms of Skene's Duct Cyst
Small skene duct cyst are typically asymptomatic, means a women will not experience any symptoms. In some other cases, signs and symptoms may include:
- Painless and tender lump or mass around the vaginal opening
- Painful sex
- Discomfort in sitting and walking
- When the cyst get infected and form an abscess, it can cause fever
- Cysts larger in size may block the urethra causing painful urination
What is the size of Skene Duct Cyst?
In most of the cases, the size of the cyst is less than 1 cm in diameter. Some may be larger that can cause pain during sex.
Diagnosis of Skene Duct Cyst
The doctor can simply spot the skene duct cyst on physical examination of genitalia. But before that you would be asked about your medical history. The doctor may also want to rule out other conditions such as urethra diverticulum, a condition in which a pocket or sac containing urine or pus, forms in the urethra. For more details, you shall have to undergo ultrasonography.
Other option may include fine needle biopsy which involves inserting a thin needle into the cyst and extract its contents. Then this sample would be sent for lab testing. For women aged 40 years and above, the biopsy would also help determine the presence of any cancerous cells.
There are many conditions which might resemble symptoms of skene duct cyst. So, your doctor can order you additional test for ruling out any other potentially harmful conditions.
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What are the Treatment options for Skene Duct Cyst?
The treatment would depend on various factors such as symptoms, size of the cyst or if the cyst is infected. In most of the cases where cysts are small and are not causing any symptoms, you won’t need any treatment. In other cases, following treatment options are available.
- Sitz bathing – This is a home-based treatment method in which you have to sit in a warm water-filled bathtub for about 15-20 minutes per session. This should be repeated several times a day. If conducted for 3-4 days, the cyst might rupture and cause the fluid to drain. This method might be suggested to a patient with minor skene duct cysts.
- Surgical draining of the cysts – This option is for those women with larger cysts or abscess. The doctor will make a small cut in the cyst and drain the entire fluid inside. You might also be given antibiotics if there is an infection in the cyst or abscess caused by bacteria.
- Marsupialization – This method is usually performed under local anesthesia. It is used in cases where skene duct cysts occur regularly or when surgical excision is not desirable. The doctor will first give you a local anesthesia and make a cut into the cyst or abscess and place stitches on each side. A catheter will be placed in the opening to allow drainage of the fluid. This will be a small permanent opening so that fluid can drain freely. You would be suggested to have minimum activity to give time for healing.
- Surgical excision – In cases of large cysts or abscess or if the doctor seems that it has to be removed entirely, the cysts and some part of surrounding tissues will be removed surgically.
Skene duct cyst can recur in future, but this happens less commonly. Most of the women after drainage feel relieved. Maintaining good genital hygiene and undergoing regular screening can avert the chances of getting skene duct cyst right to some extent.