Bartholin’s Cyst

What Is Bartholin’s Cyst?

Girls and women have two Bartholin glands that are located just inside the opening of the vagina. The glands produce fluid that lubricates the vagina. A Bartholin gland cyst forms when the opening of the gland becomes blocked and the fluid cannot get out.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Bartholin’s Cyst?

Women with a Bartholin gland cyst may notice a lump or bulge in the vulva. This may or may not be painful. If the cyst becomes infected, it is called a Bartholin's gland abscess. This may cause pain, swelling, redness or fevers.

What Is the Treatment for Bartholin’s Cyst?

Some women with a Bartholin gland cyst do not need treatment. If this cyst is not painful or bothersome to the patient, the provider may recommend no treatment.

If this cyst is painful, the provider may recommend draining the cyst. This is a minor procedure where the provider makes an incision in the cyst and drains the fluid. Sometimes a small balloon catheter (Word catheter) is placed within the cyst to keep the incision open and allow the fluid to completely drain.

Taking over-the-counter pain medications and soaking in a tub of warm water may be helpful for pain relief.

If you there is an infected Bartholin's gland (abscess) the provider will drain the infected fluid. You may or may not need antibiotics after this drainage.

If a woman has recurrent Bartholin's gland cysts or abscesses, her provider may recommend a procedure called a marsupialization of the Bartholin gland. This is a minor procedure during which the Bartholin cyst is opened and the edges are everted to keep this cyst from forming again. Rarely, does a Bartholin's gland need to be completely removed.