Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Skene Gland Cyst

(Skene's Gland Cyst; Skene's Duct Cyst)


Charlie Kilpatrick

, MD, MEd, Baylor College of Medicine

Reviewed/Revised Feb 2023 | Modified Nov 2023
Topic Resources

Skene gland cysts develop near the opening of the urethra when the ducts to the Skene glands are blocked.

  • Skene gland cysts are very rare.

  • Many people with Skene gland cysts have no symptoms or only minor irritation.

  • Large cysts may cause pain during sexual activity or sometimes during urination.

  • Doctors can usually diagnose these cysts during a pelvic examination, but sometimes ultrasonography or cystoscopy is done to confirm the diagnosis.

  • Cysts that cause symptoms can be removed.

  • Very rarely, abscesses develop and are treated with antibiotics, then removal of the cyst or creation of a permanent opening in the cyst.

Skene glands, also called periurethral or paraurethral glands, are located around the opening of the urethra.

External Female Genital Anatomy

At the center of this image is the vagina, a canal composed of smooth muscle. The small opening directly above it is the urethra, which is the opening from the bladder. Below the vagina is the anus. Above the urethra is the clitoris, a body of erectile tissue that is homologous to the penis. The vagina is surrounded by the labia minora, which are surrounded by the labia majora. The pubic bone is at top. The purple tissue is a continuation of the clitoris, the crus of clitoris. The bulb of the vestibule (blue) also consists of erectile tissue. Below the bulb is a Bartholin gland, which secretes mucus to lubricate the vagina.


External Female Genital Anatomy

Skene gland cysts are rare. They form if the duct to the gland is blocked, usually because the gland is infected. If these cysts become infected, urinary tract infections may develop.

Symptoms of Skene Gland Cyst

Most Skene gland cysts are less than 1/2 inch (about 1 centimeter) in diameter and do not cause any symptoms. Some cysts are larger and cause pain during sexual activity. Sometimes cysts cause pain during urination. If large enough, a cyst may block the flow of urine through the urethra. In such cases, the first symptoms may be a hesitant start when urinating, dribbling at the end of urination, and retention of urine. If a urinary tract infection develops, women may have a frequent, urgent need to urinate, and urination may be painful.

Very rarely, Skene gland cysts become infected and form an abscess. Abscesses are tender, painful, and swollen. The skin over the ducts appears red. Most women do not have a fever.

Diagnosis of Skene Gland Cyst

Treatment of Skene Gland Cyst

  • Removal of the cyst

  • For abscesses, antibiotics, then removal of the cyst or creation of a permanent opening in it

If Skene gland cysts cause symptoms, they are removed, usually in a doctor’s office or in an operating room. In the office, a local anesthetic is usually used. Or marsupialization may be done. For this procedure, doctors make a small cut in the cyst and stitch the inside edges of the cyst to the surface of the vulva. Marsupialization creates a permanent opening in the cyst so that the cyst can drain as needed. This procedure is done in an outpatient operating room. Sometimes general anesthesia is needed.

For abscesses, antibiotics are given by mouth for 7 to 10 days. Then, the cyst is removed. Or marsupialization is done.

quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!