Bartholin’s Gland Cyst

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.

How does it occur?

You may get a cyst if the duct of one of the glands becomes blocked. Injury, irritation, or infection may cause the Bartholin’s gland duct to become blocked, causing a buildup of fluid and swelling.

Sometimes the problem is caused by a sexually transmitted disease, such as gonorrhea or Chlamydia.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are:

  • redness or swelling on one or both sides of the opening of the vagina

  • tenderness

  • discomfort during sex

  • feeling of pressure around the vagina

  • sometimes pain

How is it diagnosed?

Your Reddy Urgent Care healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms 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 gland is causing problems, your Reddy Urgent Care healthcare provider may treat it in one of several ways:

    • o.A small cut may be made over the gland, making an opening so fluid can drain out from the cyst. Your provider may then put stitches in the area of the opening in a way that leaves it open to help prevent it from tearing and getting bigger. This is usually done with a local anesthetic so that you won’t feel discomfort during the procedure. This treatment is called marsupialization.

    • o.A tiny cut may be made in the cyst so that a catheter (a very small tube) can be put into the cyst for a few weeks. The catheter helps form an opening for fluid made by the gland. Ask your healthcare provider about any precautions you should take while the catheter is in place. Your provider will remove the catheter in 4 to 6 weeks. The opening is intended to stay open after the catheter is removed and prevent another cyst.

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

How can I help take care of myself?

  • Follow provider’s instructions, and return to Reddy Urgent Care for a recheck if:

    • o.you have any swelling on the outside of the vagina.

    • o.redness around the cyst

    • o.fever over 100.5°F (38°C)

    • o.increased pain

How long will the effects last?

  • With the treatment of warm compresses, the cyst may go away in 3 to 5 days. Sometimes the cyst does not go away with this treatment.

  • The cyst usually goes away very soon after your healthcare provider makes a cut for drainage.

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

  • Make sure you keep the area of the vagina clean with mild soap and warm water.

  • Avoid hard or deep rubbing in the area around the opening of the vagina.

  • If you take long bike rides or ride horses a lot, try to protect your genital area by cushioning it with soft padding. If you sit a lot, take frequent breaks to avoid putting constant pressure on your genital area.