Bartholin Gland Cyst

The Bartholin gland is a tiny organ on each of the labia (vaginal lips), near the opening of the vagina. Normally they are invisible. They put out a small amount of fluid to lubricate the vaginal lips. If a flap of skin grows over the opening to one of the glands, the fluid backs up. It causes a round swelling called a Bartholin gland cyst. The cyst can grow from the size of a penny to larger than an orange, although most donít get bigger than a golf ball.

How do I know if I have a Bartholin gland cyst?

You may notice a round, painless or slightly tender bulge within one of the vaginal lips, near the opening of the vagina. The cyst may stay the same size or may slowly grow larger. Cysts that get infected are usually tender. The doctor may want to culture the cyst fluid to see if an antibiotic is needed.

How are Bartholin gland cysts treated?

The treatment depends on the size of the cyst, how painful it is, if itís infected and your age. In some cases the cyst can just be watched over time to see if it grows. Other treatment options are performed in the outpatient surgical setting and include removal of the entire gland or marsupialization, which is making a small cut into the cyst to drain out the fluid and placing stitches at the edge to allow a small opening to form. You may have a light discharge for a few weeks. Panty liners should be all you need to use to take care of it. It is important to keep the area clean and dry to help prevent infection.

How can I prevent Bartholin gland cysts?

Bartholin gland cysts hardly ever come back after treatment, but if they do they can be treated again. If you get another Bartholin cyst, tell the doctor right away so you can get early and effective treatment.