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What is Bartholin Cyst?

QUESTION

Women health is a priority for me and I am taking care of my health (especially my reproductive health). I had my regular visit to my gynecologist and she said I have Bartholin Cyst. What is Bartholin Cyst?

ANSWER from experts

First, you need to know what is Bartholin gland.

Bartholin glands are two pea-sized glands under the skin which are locating in a women’s genital area (on left and right sides of the opening of the vagina). In normal healthy situation you cannot feel or see the Bartholin glands – Bartholin glands are small and cannot be seen or felt when they are normal.

Bartholin glands secrete mucus to lubricate the vagina; they make a small amount of fluid that moistens the outer genital area. This fluid comes out of two tiny tubes next to the opening of the vagina. These tubes are called Bartholin ducts.

During sexual contacts the Bartholin glands produce small amount of fluid (about 1-3 drops).

What is Bartholin Cyst?

Sometimes Bartholin glands could be irritated and/or infected which could results in pain and discomfort. If the duct becomes obstructed, the Bartholin’s cyst can develop. Sometimes the Bartholin cyst could turn into the abscess.

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’s gland cysts and/or abscesses are commonly found in women of reproductive age – 20-45 year old.

According to statistics, approximately 2% of all women have Bartholin cyst. The size of the cyst could be small (0.5-3 cm) or big up to 5-10 cm in diameter.

Uninfected Bartholin cyst causes swelling and/or redness of the labia on one side (near the entrance to the vagina) – it is usually a painless lump on one side of the vulva area. The cyst is usually not very painful but big size of cysts can be painful simply by virtue of their size.

Infected Bartholin cyst (abscess) causes significant pain in addition to the redness and swelling. The swollen area is extremely tender. Walking and sitting could be quite painful. Any physical or sexual activity can increase the pain. Women with Bartholin’s abscesses do not usually have fever but it could happen. Vaginal discharge may be present, especially if the infection is caused by a sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Best recommendation for women who had Bartholin cyst would be PREVENTION strategy.

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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