Bartholin’s cysts  – Know It All!


All you need to know about Bartholin’s cysts.

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Bartholin’s cysts

What are the Bartholin’s cysts?

On either side of the vaginal opening, Bartholin’s glands are located. Such glands secrete a fluid that allows the vagina to lubricate.

The openings of these glands often become blocked, causing fluid to back up into the gland. A relatively painless swelling called a Bartholin cyst is the result. You can produce a set of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue (abscess) if the fluid inside the cyst becomes contaminated.

A cyst or abscess from Bartholin is prevalent. The treatment of a Bartholin cyst depends on the extent of the cyst, the painful nature of the cyst, and the inflammation of the cyst.

Home care is often what you need. Surgical drainage of the Bartholin cyst is required in some situations. If an infection occurs, it may be beneficial to treat the infected Bartholin cyst with antibiotics.

Who gets the Disease?

  • A Bartholin’s cyst usually affects sexually active women aged between 20 and 30.
  • Bartholin’s cysts do not usually affect children because the Bartholin’s glands do not start functioning until puberty.
  • The cysts are also uncommon after menopause as this usually causes the Bartholin’s glands to shrink.
Bartholin’s cysts

What are the causes of Bartholin’s Cyst?

The glands of the Bartholin are a pair of pea-sized glands located just behind and on either side of the lips covering the vagina‘s entrance.

Generally, the glands are not visible because they are rarely larger than 0.4 inches (1 cm ) long.

The Bartholin’s glands secrete fluid that during sex acts as a lubricant. Into the vagina, the fluid flows down narrow tubes called ducts.

They will fill with fluid and grow to form a cyst if the ducts become blocked.

The reaction of the immune system to a bacterial infectious agent may cause the blockage and subsequent abscess. Examples of these agents include:

  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhea, a disease that is transmissible via sexual contact
  • Chlamydia trachomatis, which causes chlamydia
  • Escherichia coli, which can affect the water supply and cause hemorrhagic colitis
  • Streptococcus pneumonia, which can cause pneumonia and middle ear infections
  • Haemophilus influenza, which can cause ear infections and respiratory infections.

What are the risk factors of Bartholin’s cyst?

It is often unknown the exact causes of duct blockage, although bacteria have a part to play.

The following features, however, increase the risk of a person developing a Bartholin’s cyst:

  • Sexually active
  • Being between the ages of 20 and 30
  • Having had Bartholin’s cyst before,
  • In the affected area, having undergone physical trauma
  • Having undergone vagina or vulva surgery
Bartholin’s cysts

What are the complications of Bartholin’s cyst?

  • A Bartholin’s cyst or abscess may recur and again require treatment. The abscess can develop rapidly. A person may notice the following symptoms in the area around the abscess:
  • redness
  • tenderness sensation of heat from the area
  • pain during sexual activity
  • fever
  • rupturing and leakage

What are the symptoms of Bartholin’s cyst?

You can feel a painless, gentle lump. Normally, this should not trigger any issues.

But it may become visible and painful if the cyst grows very large. When you walk, sit down, or have sex, you can feel discomfort in the skin surrounding the vagina (vulva).

The outer pair of lips that cover the vagina (labia majora) may often be affected by the cyst. There could be one side that appears bloated or wider than average.

It may cause a painful accumulation of pus (abscess) to grow in 1 of the Bartholin glands if the cyst becomes infected.

Signs of an abscess include being red, swollen, tender, and hot in the affected region. A high temperature of 38C or above may also be induced.

How is Bartholin’s cyst diagnosed?

Your doctor might be able to identify a Bartholin cyst:

  • Ask questions about your medical history
  • Conducting a vaginal test
  • To monitor for a sexually transmitted infection, take a sample of secretions from your vagina or cervix.
  • A mass examination (biopsy) is recommended to scan for cancerous cells if you are postmenopausal or over 40 years old.
  • Your doctor may refer you to a gynaecologist who specializes in cancers of the female reproductive system if cancer is a concern.
Bartholin’s cysts

What is the treatment for Bartholin’s cyst?

Your physician will prescribe an antibiotic if your test reveals you have an STI, or if your cyst is contaminated. Topical drugs can also be recommended to be placed on the skin. You probably won’t need medication if you’re under 40 and your cyst isn’t causing problems.

  • A simple sitz bath will cause the cyst to go away on its own:
  • Place 3 to 4 inches of water in a tub (enough to cover your vulva), and sit gently.
  • Do this for 3 or 4 days several times a day.
  • On its own, the cyst can burst and drain.
  • You would need to see the doctor if Bartholin’s cyst causes problems — or if it transforms into an abscess. In one of three ways, they’ll treat it.Bartholin's cyst
  • Surgical drainage. A tiny cut in the cyst will be created by the doctor. To allow it to drain, they will put a tiny rubber tube (catheter) into the opening. For up to 6 weeks, it may remain in place. After the fluid is gone, you’ll feel better right away. But for several days afterward, you might need to take pain medicine. Bear in mind that a cyst or abscess from Bartholin can come back and require care again. Pain or discomfort — particularly during sex — are side effects. You can also experience labia swelling (lips around the vagina), inflammation, bleeding, or scarring.
  • Marsupialization. This procedure can help if cysts bother you or come back. The doctor cuts open the cyst, then stitches the skin around it to make a tiny pouch. This helps it to pump out the fluid. In order to soak up the fluid and any blood, the doctor will pack the area with special gauze. It takes less than half an hour to do the operation, and you can go home on the same day. Afterward, your doctor can prescribe painkillers. The possibility of infection, bleeding, and abscess coming back is also present.
  • Removing the gland. If others have not worked or you keep on getting Bartholin’s cysts and abscesses, your doctor might prescribe this alternative. It takes about an hour for this process. During the treatment, you may get anesthesia to put you to sleep and you will be able to go home afterward. Bleeding, bruising, and infection are potential concerns.
  • Antibiotics. If your cyst is infected or if testing shows that you have a sexually transmitted infection, your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic. But you do not need antibiotics if the abscess is drained properly.
  • Carbon dioxide laser: A highly focused laser is used to create an opening that helps drain the cyst.
  • Needle aspiration: A needle is used by the surgeon to remove the cyst. Sometimes they fill the cavity with a 70 percent alcohol solution for a few minutes before drainage, after draining the cyst. The risk of bacteria entering the wound is minimized by this solution.


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Gopala Krishna Varshith,

Content Developer & Editor,