Although childbearing is a very beautiful event, carrying a baby causes a variety of changes to occur in a woman's body, some of which can cause other issues long after the baby has been born. One issue is the development of vaginal cysts, which are small growths filled with fluid, air, or other debris that form on or in the vagina. Here are two types of cysts that can develop after childbirth.
Gartner's Duct Cysts
During fetal development, a special tube called the Wolffian or Gartner's duct form that helps drain the baby's kidneys. This duct typically disappears after the baby is born, but sometimes remnants of the tube stick around. Over time, these remnants collect fluid and causes cysts to form along the vaginal wall.
In general, Gartner's duct cysts are small and don't cause problems. However, they can grow very large, large enough to interfere with vaginal birth and cause painful sex. Occasionally, the cysts may protrude through the vaginal opening if they get too big. For the most part, through, these growths are asymptomatic, and you may not know you have one until you undergo a pelvic exam.
Another structure that forms during fetal development is Mullerian ducts. In female babies, these ducts eventually form the uterus, cervix, uterine tubes, and upper portion of the vagina. In male babies, however, these tubes are usually lost. In either case, material from the Mullerian ducts can be left behind in the mother's body after birth.
Like Gartner's duct cysts, the extra material can become embedded into the vaginal wall, collect debris, and cause cysts to form. The cysts may fill with pus if they become infected and may contain cancer cells. They are usually small but can grow and obstruct the vaginal canal in rare cases. The growths can also irritate the urinary tract, cause bloody urine, and cause rectal pain.
Most of the time, these cysts don't cause trouble and, thus, don't need to be treated. A small percentage of the time, they can become infected. You may experience pelvic pain and discharge if that occurs. Your gynecologist will typically prescribe antibiotics to combat the infection and surgically remove the growths if infection becomes a recurring issue. The doctor may also remove the cysts if they grow too large and negatively impact vaginal functioning.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with vaginal cysts, it's essential that you monitor the growths by getting regular exams. This is particularly important with Mullerian cysts because they can contain cancer cells that may lead to the development of the disease. For more information about these growths or to get treatment for them, contact your gynecologist.