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Bartholin's Gland Cyst

Dr. Rajalakshmi VK (AIIMS)MBBS

March 16, 2022

June 04, 2022

Bartholin's Gland Cyst
Bartholin's Gland Cyst

What is a cyst in the Bartholin gland?

The Bartholin glands are located on either side of the vaginal opening. These pea-sized glands make a fluid that retains moisture in the vagina. The fluid travels through a duct (tube) to the vagina. If these tubes become blocked, the fluid builds up in the tube itself and this causes swelling, which is called a cyst. Doctors call this condition a cyst in the Bartholin gland. These cysts usually do not cause any problem and are non-cancerous.

(Read more: Vaginal Cysts)

Symptoms of a Bartholin gland cyst

If a Bartholin's cyst is small and not infected, you may not have symptoms. But a lump may be felt around the opening of the vagina as the cyst grows. However, this cyst does not cause pain. In a few days, the infection in the cyst starts spreading. If the cysts become infected, the following conditions may be experienced:

  • Lumps around the opening of the vagina with pain or a feeling of pain when touched
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Pain during sex
  • Fever
  • A Bartholin cyst or abscess usually occurs on one side of the vaginal opening.

Bartholin gland cyst causes

Doctors do not yet know why these glands sometimes become blocked, but in some rare cases, it is a sexually transmitted infection such as gonorrhea (one of the most common STDs, which spreads from person to person during sexual activity) or chlamydia (this infection is caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis). About two out of 10 women can be affected by a cyst in the Bartholin gland at any one time. This disease usually occurs after the age of 20.

(Read more: Sexually transmitted infections in women)

Diagnosis of Bartholin gland cysts

Usually, a doctor can diagnose Bartholin's gland only after seeing it. Doctors will also be to tell whether this cyst is infected or not.

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Bartholin's gland cyst treatment

If you have an STI or your cysts have become infected, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Apart from this, they can also give certain creams or gels to apply. If you are less than 40 years of age and the cyst is not causing you any problem, then usually there is no need for treatment. Taking a simple sitz bath can also help in healing the cyst. For a sitz bath, fill a tub with 3 to 4 inches of warm water (to cover the affected area) and sit in it. Do this several times a day for three to four days. This can lead to the cyst breaking on its own.

If the symptoms of the cyst can’t be controlled by medicines (antibiotics and warm compresses), a Bartholin cyst surgery will be needed. These symptoms include:

  • Swelling, which is associated with pain and tenderness and causes difficulty in sitting and walking
  • Dyspareunia i.e., painful sexual intercourse
  • The cyst becomes infected, i.e. it turns into an abscess (pus-filled swelling). Fever along with extreme tenderness is seen.
  • Recurrence of the cysts

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