What Is a Bartholin’s Gland Cyst?
Bartholin’s glands secrete a vaginal lubricating fluid. They are located on
each side of the opening of the vagina, on the lips of the labia. The secreted
fluid helps protect vaginal tissue during sexual intercourse. A Bartholin's
gland cyst is a fluid-filled swelling on one of the glands. The cysts commonly
occur in women of reproductive age. About 2 percent of women will develop a
Bartholin’s gland cyst in their lifetime (Omole, F., et. al, 2003).
What Are the Types of Bartholin’s Gland Cyst?
only one type of Bartholin’s cyst. Some cysts become infected. If this occurs,
the cyst may also contain pus. When the cyst is infected, it is referred to as
What Causes a Bartholin’s Gland Cyst?
Bartholin’s glands contain small ducts, or openings, that allow the fluid to
flow out. The main cause of a cyst is the backup of fluid when the ducts become
blocked (Mayo Clinic). The
ducts may become blocked due to an injury or irritation. An extra growth of
skin can also cause a blockage. In some instances, an infection can lead to the
growth of a cyst
Who Is at Risk for a Bartholin’s Gland Cyst?
few identifiable risk factors for developing a Bartholin’s gland
cyst. Although women of any age can develop the cyst, it is more common in
women of reproductive age, especially between the ages of 20 and 29 years old (Omole, F., et. al, 2003).
What Are the Symptoms of a Bartholin’s Gland Cyst?
gland cysts can vary in size from about the size of a pea (0.2 inches in
diameter) to as large as a marble (1 inch in diameter). According to the
University Of Michigan Health System, in most instances, the cysts grow slowly.
Bartholin’s cysts may not cause any symptoms. Since Bartholin’s glands are
usually not felt, a woman may not realize she has a small cyst if symptoms are
not present. When symptoms do occur, they usually include a painless, small
lump in the vulva area. Redness and swelling may also occur. Some women may
have discomfort during sexual intercourse, walking, or sitting. If the cyst becomes
infected, additional symptoms can develop. These include pus draining from the
cyst, fever, and chills
How Is a Bartholin’s Gland Cyst Diagnosed?
diagnosis of a Bartholin’s gland cyst is usually made after a medical history
and pelvic exam by a doctor. If the cyst is infected, samples of vaginal
secretions may be taken in order to determine if a sexually transmitted disease
How Is Bartholin’s Gland Cyst Treated?
may not be needed if a Bartholin’s gland cyst is small and does not cause any
symptoms. If the cyst does cause symptoms, treatment may be recommended.
Sitting in a warm bath a few times a day or
applying a moist, warm compress can encourage the fluid to drain from the cyst.
In many cases, home care may be enough to treat the cyst.
cyst is painful, over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen may be used
to reduce discomfort. If the cyst becomes infected, antibiotics may be
a few different surgical approaches that can treat a Bartholin’s gland cyst. If
the cyst is large and causing symptoms, a small slit can be made on the cyst,
which allows the fluid to drain. The procedure is usually done in a doctor’s
office with a local anesthetic to numb the area.
reoccurring cysts are symptomatic. In these cases, a small tube can be inserted
into the cyst and left in place for a few weeks. The tube allows the fluid in
the cyst to drain and helps the duct stay open.
additional procedure called a marsupialization can also be performed. The procedure
involves making small, permanent slits or openings, which help the fluid drain
and prevent the cysts from forming.
continue to reoccur and cannot be treated with other methods, surgical removal
of the gland can be performed.
What Is the Outlook for a Bartholin’s Gland Cyst?
to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the prognosis for women with a Bartholin’s gland cyst is excellent.
In most instances, the cyst can be successfully treated. Reoccurrence of an
infected cyst develops about 10 percent of the time.
How Is a Bartholin’s Gland Cyst Prevented?
no way to prevent the development of a cyst. Safe sex practices, such as using
a condom, and good hygiene may prevent a cyst from becoming infected.