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 – in the lips of the labia that cover the vaginal opening. Bartholin glands are small and cannot be seen or felt when they are normal. 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. In general the Bartolin glands provide moisture for the vulva area.
Bartholin Cyst Causes
A Bartholin’s cyst develops when the duct exiting the Bartholin’s gland becomes blocked (for any reason, such as infection, injury or chronic inflammation). The fluid produced by the gland then accumulates, causing the gland to swell and form a cyst. In most cases Bartholin’s gland cyst is happening only on one side.
An abscess (infected Bartholin’s cyst) occurs when a cyst becomes infected. Sexually transmitted infections (chlamydia, gonorrhea and other bacteria) could be a reason for infected Bartolin cyst. Cyst can form an abscess that will increase in size over several days and is very painful.
Very rarely a cyst is caused by cancer, which usually occurs only in women over the age of 40. In many cases, the cause of a Bartholin’s gland cyst is unknown.
Bartholin Cyst Symptoms
Uninfected Bartholin’s gland cyst causes swelling and/or redness of the labia on one side (near the entrance to the vagina) – 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’s gland 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.
Home remedies for Bartholin’s cysts
Main treatment for Bartholin’s cysts is a good drainage. Home treatment of Bartholin’s cysts and abscesses involves 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. Abscesses often require special drainage which can be done only by your gynecologist.
Recurrent Bartholin’s cysts can be treated with antibiotics and sitz baths. If this clears up the infection, the surgical treatment (called marsupialization) can be temporary avoided.
Bartholin Cyst Prevention
Main prevention is a safe sex as sexually transmitted infections (chlamydia, gonorrhea and other bacteria) are the main cause of bartholit’s cysts.
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.