Understanding and treating smegmatic pseudocysts

A fluffy white ball of smegma sits calmly between the shells of a mussell on a beach.

A smegmatic pseudocyst is an accumulation of smegma tucked up between the clitoral hood (the prepuce) and the clitoris, which can become infected or inflamed1.

This smegma buildup is so named because it may present like a cyst (a little lump) but is actually just a collection of smegma that can’t drain, thus not a true cyst. The contained smegma appears to bulge up like a cyst or abscess might.

If the pseudocyst gets infected, it could become an abscess requiring drainage and antibiotic treatment.

Clitoral adhesions (phimosis)2 can drive this buildup of smegma inside the little gap between the two structures, which may result in smegmatic pseudocysts and even a loss of clitoral sensitivity.

Smegmatic pseudocysts may appear more frequently in those diagnosed with lichen sclerosus due to the tissue changes and fusing related to this condition.

Treatment for smegmatic pseudocysts

Treatment will depend largely on the person’s presentation. It will include manual removal of the smegma buildup, which is performed in a medical clinic.

It’s best to get medical treatment and support for this type of smegma buildup to avoid any worsening of issues and to make important diagnoses where necessary.


  1. King M, Rubin R, Goldstein AT. Current uses of surgery in the treatment of genital painCurr Sex Health Rep 2014;doi: 10.1007/s11930‐014‐0032‐8. E‐pub 2014 Oct. ↩︎
  2. Patient with Severe Clitoral Phimosis and Smegmatic Cyst: A Case Report and Review of the Literature The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 21, Issue Supplement_1, February 2024, qdae001.259, https://doi.org/10.1093/jsxmed/qdae001.259 ↩︎

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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)