Bartholin Gland Cyst

Bartholin glands are located on either side of the entrance to the vagina. A cyst is a pocket of fluid in the tissue around these glands. If the cyst becomes infected, it is called a bartholin gland abscess.

  • Causes

    Bartholin glands make fluid that lubricates the vagina. If the glands become blocked, the fluid can back up and create a cyst. Sometimes, bacteria or viruses can develop in this fluid and lead to an infection.

  • Definition

    Bartholin glands are located on either side of the entrance to the vagina. A cyst is a pocket of fluid in the tissue around these glands. If the cyst becomes infected, it is called a bartholin gland abscess.

  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist.

    Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested if an infection is suspected. The sample may be sent for a culture or biopsy.

  • Prevention

    There is no known way to prevent a Bartholin gland cyst.

  • Risk Factors

    Women with a history of cysts are more likely to develop a Bartholin gland cyst.

    Sexually transmitted infections may also increase the risk of an infected cyst.

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:

    • A painless or tender lump on either side of the opening of the vagina
    • A lump that may grow in size over time
    • Pain with activities such as walking or intercourse

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. If you do not have symptoms, your doctor may want to monitor your condition without treatment. Antibiotics may be recommended if there is an infection caused by bacteria. Pain medication may help manage discomfort.

    If your symptoms do not improve, surgery may be required. The three types of surgical options include: