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Bartholin's Gland Cyst


 What is a Bartholin's gland cyst?
 What is the cause?
 What are the symptoms?
 How is it diagnosed?
 How is it treated?
 How can I take care of myself?
 How can I help prevent a Bartholin's gland cyst?

Bartholin's Gland Cyst: Illustration
Bartholin's Gland Cyst: IllustrationClick here to view a full size picture.

What is a Bartholin's gland cyst?

A Bartholin’s gland cyst is a fluid-filled swelling of a Bartholin's gland. The Bartholin's glands are 2 small glands located in the lower area of the labial skin folds at the opening of the vagina (birth canal). There is 1 on each side of the vaginal opening. Each gland has a small duct (tube) that allows fluid to leave the gland and moisten the outer vagina. The fluid made by the glands helps protect the tissues around the vagina and provides lubrication during sex. Normally these glands cannot be felt or seen.

What is the cause?

You may get a cyst if the duct of one of the glands becomes blocked. Injury, irritation, or infection may cause swelling that blocks the duct and causes a buildup of fluid.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine you. The swelling will be diagnosed as a cyst if it is not painful. If it is painful and infected, it is called a Bartholin's gland abscess.

How is it treated?

Sometimes the cyst will go away if you put warm, moist cloths (compresses) on it or sit in warm baths. The moist heat may help unblock the opening so that the fluid can drain out.

If the cyst keeps causing problems, your healthcare provider may treat it in one of several ways, including:

A cyst may get infected. It may form an abscess and be very painful. If a cyst is infected, your healthcare provider may drain it and prescribe an antibiotic.

How can I take care of myself?

Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

How can I help prevent a Bartholin's gland cyst?

healthinformatics info

References

Lentz, G. et al, Comprehensive Gynecology 6th ed,  Mosby Elsevier 2012.

Schorge, J., et al. Williams Gynecology. 1st ed. The Mcgraw Hill Companies, Inc. 2008.



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Last Modified: 2014-02-07

Last Reviewed: 2014-01-30

Website Updated: October 2014

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This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.


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