Skene’s duct cysts or abscesses

Skene’s duct cysts develop in the female prostate gland ducts that open out to the outside of the body. They are very close to the urethral opening (meatus).

These cysts form when the gland or duct becomes blocked, which can be because the gland or duct is infected, but not always. This is almost always a problem that occurs in adult women.

Cysts may grow to form abscesses and cause recurrent urinary tract infections or block the urethra, or they can come and go.

Skene's Gland Diagram

Symptoms of a Skene’s duct cyst or abscess

  • Discharge
  • Painful sex (dyspareunia)
  • Problems urinating – obstruction, dribbling, hesitancy
  • Abscess formation
  • Recurrent UTIs
  • Pain

Diagnosis of a cyst or abscess

Cysts are less than 1cm and often asymptomatic. Larger cysts may cause painful sex. Abscesses are likely to be quite painful, red, swollen and tender.

A physician can diagnose a cyst or abscess usually from the appearance and symptoms, and from a physical examination. Further testing may be required to rule out a urethral diverticulum.      

Treatment of cysts or abscesses

Surgery is so far the most effective medical option for completely removing the cyst if symptoms are problematic and recurrent.

You should get them checked and make sure it is indeed what you suspect, because you can also get Skene’s gland or duct cancers that need to be detected and treated early.

Abscesses are most often treated first with antibiotics to clear up any infection, and then surgically removed or marsupialised.  

Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)