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Bartholin cyst – what to do?


Women health is very important for me. I have Bartholin cyst – what should I do? How to keep vagina clean and healthy?

ANSWER from experts

Bartholin cyst (Bartholin’s gland cyst) is a swollen fluid-filled lump that develops from a blockage of one of the Bartholin’s glands. Bartholin glands are small glands located on each side of the opening to the vagina.

Bartholin glands are small and cannot be seen or felt when they are normal. Bartholin cysts and/or Bartholin abscesses are commonly found in women of reproductive age (20-45 year old). According to medical statistics, approximately 2% of all women have Bartholin cyst.

Bartholin cyst – what to do?

The size of the Bartholin cyst could be small (0.5-3 cm) or big up to 5-10 cm in diameter.

If you have small not infected Bartholin cyst, treatment is not urgent. You can use so called “sitz baths” which promote drainage. Special sitz bath basins are available, but the simplest method is to sit in the bathtub in a few inches of warm water. The water should not be so hot as to burn the skin but should be fairly warm. These soaks should be done for 10-15 minutes at a time, 3-4 times daily. This treatment is frequently all that is needed for Bartholin’s cysts.

If you have infected cyst (Bartholin abscess) – treatment should be done as soon as possible. Surgical removal of the cyst called “marsupialization”.

For large and painful infected Bartholin cyst (abscess) usually treatment includes the drainage. An abscess is an infection within an enclosed space and in most cases antibiotics do not adequately enter into the enclosed space. Therefore, treatment of an abscess almost always requires that the infection be drained.

During marsupialization of the infected Bartholin cyst the surgeon opens wide the wall of the abscess and allows the purulent exudates to drain. The membrane of the abscess is then sutured to the vaginal mucosa and to the skin of the introitus in order to effect granulation and re-epithelialization of the wound from the bottom of the abscess to the top.

Bartholin cyst prevention

  • Insure your safe sex as sexually transmitted infections (chlamydia, gonorrhea and other bacteria) are the main cause of Bartholin cyst;
  • Check if you have vaginal infection (using home screening kits – see above);
  • Keep vagina clean and healthy. Take care of your vaginal hygiene and use special products;
  • Always avoid vaginal odor (vaginal infections).

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