Gartner's Duct Cyst

Definition - What does Gartner's Duct Cyst mean?

A Gartner's duct cyst is a closed pouch or sac-like fluid-filled structure that develops on the wall of the vagina, either in childhood or adulthood. It originates from the Gartner’s duct, which is a derivative of the Wolffian duct – a duct that forms some of the reproductive organs in female embryos before birth but later regresses. However, in approximately 25 percent of cases, remnants of the duct might remain and nearly 1 percent of these remnants can evolve into a cyst. Large vaginal Gartner's duct cysts can cause problems during sex and vaginal delivery; however, they do not appear to affect fertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Gartner's Duct Cyst

A Gartner’s duct cyst can be present since birth or develop in later life due to reasons like vaginal trauma during childbirth, benign vaginal tumors, or procedures involving the female genital tract, such as colposcopy, episiotomy, and colporrhaphy. The cells of the Gartner’s duct continue to multiply, and contain fluid, yielding a Gartner's duct cyst. The Gartner's duct cyst is lined with epithelium.

Classically, the cysts are small and asymptomatic; however, rarely they can grow large enough to cause pain during menstruation, intercourse, and/or urination. Affected women might also experience difficulty inserting a tampon. Large cysts can protrude from the vagina, causing pressure and itching. Although exceptionally rare, Gartner’s duct cysts might also show a cancerous potential.

When a woman presents with a vaginal lump indicative of a Gartner’s duct cyst, a doctor usually performs a biopsy of the mass. Imaging of the pelvic area is also done to detect any associated anomalies of the urinary tract.

Women with large and problematic vaginal cysts are candidates for surgical removal. If the cysts interfere with vaginal delivery, they can be drained to facilitate delivery.

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