A lump on the cervix should cause you some concern. To most women, such a lump is immediately a sign of cancer. This is not always the case. Other serious diseases and health conditions can be responsible. All the same, some lumps in this area are not life-threatening.
It is important to have a doctor check the lump and decide whether it should be treated or not. Online information has its advantages but should not be used to make major health-related decisions. In this article, you will learn the common causes of cervical masses, their symptoms, and available treatment options.
Small lump on cervix; Nabothian cysts
The most common cause of cervical masses is cysts, Nabothian cysts in particular. They usually develop after childbirth when tissue growth blocks Nabothian glands. The blockage leads to mucus accumulation and formation of mucus-filled small bumps on the surface of the cervix. On average, these cysts measure 2-10 millimeters. They are non-cancerous and harmless. In fact, they are considered normal.
Most Nabothian cysts develop after childbirth. It is for this reason that they are often found in women who have had children. After menopause, the cervix gradually thins with age. This can also contribute to blockage of Nabothian glands. Another possible cause of these cysts is physical injuries. The scar tissue that forms on injured tissues may end up blocking Nabothian glands.
Most Nabothian cysts are yellow or white in color. It is very unlikely that you will experience any symptoms. In fact, most cases are discovered during routine pelvic examinations.
Diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosis is usually done during a pelvic examination. This involves imaging tests with MRI, CT scans and ultrasounds. Your doctor may also perform a biopsy if infections are suspected.
Nabothian cysts do not require treatment. Very rarely will they grow large enough to cause cervical problems. If necessary, they can be removed by freezing them with liquid nitrogen or using a hot probe.
Routine pelvic examinations are helpful. It is during such that your doctor may discover not only Nabothian cysts but other types of cervical masses.
Red, elongated, smooth lumps on cervix with discharge
Red and finger-like tumors that grow on the cervix are known as cervical polyps. It is possible to have up to three polyps in the cervix but most occur singly. They are usually noncancerous.
It is not clear what causes cervical polyps. Increase in levels of estrogen is considered a cause. The tumors may also be encouraged by inflammation of the cervix.
Cervical polyps do not develop in women before they reach menstrual age. They are more common in women who have had multiple births.
Some cervical polyps will not cause any symptoms. If vaginal bleeding and discharge are present, however, the polyps will likely have something to do with these symptoms. Seek medical attention if bleeding or discharge occurs after sexual intercourse, after menopause or between periods.
Doctors easily recognize cervical polyps. If too large or bleeding, they can be easily removed during a pelvic examination. Removal methods include tying a string around the stalk, twisting it or removing it with ring forceps. Laser surgery, cryotherapy or electrocautery methods can also be used.
Hard lump on or near cervix
A hard lump on the cervix or near the area can be a sign of cervical cancer.
- Adenocarcinoma – This type originates in the cells of the tube-like section of the cervix.
- Squamous cell carcinoma- This type originates in the cells of the part of cervix that marks the start of vagina. It usually forms a hard lump on the cervix.
Most cancers are caused by gene mutations. In the cervix, the mutation that later leads to cancer is usually encouraged by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are many types of HPV. Some cause genital warts and symptoms like a fleshy lump inside lip, some cause cervical cancer, while others do not cause any symptoms. HPV is transmitted through sexual intercourse with an infected person.
Risk factors include weakened immunity, STDs and many sexual partners. Other general factors that encourage gene mutation can also contribute to cervical cancer. Such factors include smoking and exposure to carcinogens. It has recently been suggested that women who take birth control pills for more than 5 years have increased risk of developing this type of cancer.
Like other types of cancer, cervical cancer will cause almost no symptoms in its early stages. Most cases start with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. These growths are noncancerous but will almost always turn into cervical cancer. In later stages, the following symptoms may occur:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding especially after sex, between periods and after menopause
- Pain when having sex
- Heavy vaginal discharge
- Pain in the pelvic area
Diagnosis, treatment and prevention
A pap test is usually done to diagnose cervical cancer. Here, the doctor will scrape some cells from your cervix and check for any cell changes. Imaging tests may also be done. If necessary, a biopsy will confirm diagnosis.
Early stage cancer can be treated through chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Advanced tumors require surgical removal, a hysterectomy in most cases. A hysterectomy may include removal of ovaries, Fallopian tubes and lymph nodes in the pelvic area. It is quite intensive.
Cervical cancer can be quite upsetting. The good thing is that there are some measures that can help reduce the risk of developing this disease. They include:
- Routine pap smears – cervical cancer is slow-growing. With regular pap tests, your doctor will probably catch it before it even turns into a typical cancer tumor.
- Consider HPV vaccines – girls and women younger than 25 years can get vaccinated against HPV.
- Learn about causes of cancer – while HPV is thought to be the main risk factor, learning about other causes of cancer can help.
- Keep safe when having sex – safe sex is very important. It will save you from many complications such as HPV infections, STDS and so on. Wear condoms, avoid early sex and avoid having many sexual partners. Get treatment for STDs and signs such as a blister-like lump on and near anus.
Hard, pea-sized lump on cervix
A hard pea-sized lump on the cervix is probably an adenoma. Adenomas are benign tumors that originate in glandular tissues. They are more common in the stomach and intestines.
On the cervix, a rare disease known as adenoma malignum can develop. As well as being rare, the disease is also quite hard to diagnose. Its cells are located deep in the affected tissue and are often taken for a cyst.
Other causes of lump near or on cervix
Cervix inflammation can be caused by diseases such as pelvic inflammatory disease. The disease usually causes no symptoms. If they occur, they may include vaginal bleeding, infertility and foul vaginal discharge or odor.
Adhesions are linings that occur inside scar tissues. They are normal and everyone will develop them when recovering from a wound. Cervical adhesions can form a hard lump near the cervix. If occurring in other reproductive organs, these benign growths can cause infertility. See your doctor if you notice a hard lump on or near your cervix after surgery or injury.
When to see a doctor
There are perhaps too many causes and types of body masses today to keep up with all of them comprehensively. Most are harmless but chances should never be taken with the few that are harmful. For example, a lump in scrotum after vasectomy can be a harmless hematoma but it can also be a sign of testicular cancer. A similar example can be given in the case of cervical cancer.
Since most cervical masses are only discovered during pelvic exams, the best approach is to keep up with the routine. See your doctor if you notice symptoms such as pelvic pain, abnormal vaginal discharge and bleeding between periods, after sex or after menopause.
Consider learning more about causes, types and symptoms of lumps on your body. While lumps are mostly associated with cancer, almost 90% of all cases are not cancerous. However, some like an epididymis hard lump or ovarian cysts can cause infertility. A lump on baby head may be taken for a simple cyst while in reality it is an infected congenital cyst. The good news is that chances are high that diagnosis reports will be positive. For example, a painful lump at base of skull that has recently caused you concern or worry can turn out to be a harmless swollen lymph node. The bottom line is that seeing your doctor is the smartest move you will make in the end.
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