Bartholin abscess (cyst inside the vagina)

Pelvis | Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Bartholin abscess (cyst inside the vagina) (Disease)


A Bartholins cyst is a condition that refers to a growth of a fluid- filled cyst when a Bartholins gland is blocked.

Causes and Risk factors

A Bartholins cyst does not represent an infection, but it can be caused by an infection, inflammation, or physical blockage by mucus or other impediment to the Bartholins ducts, the tubes which lead from the glands to the vulva. Cysts are not sexually transmitted.

Bartholins cysts are most likely to occur in women of child-bearing age although when they occur in women over 40. A Bartholins cyst can grow from the size of a pea to the size of an egg.

A Bartholins cyst develops when the duct exiting the Bartholins gland becomes blocked. An abscess occurs when a cyst becomes infected. Bartholins abscesses can be caused by any of a number of bacteria. These include bacterial organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea as well as bacteria normally found in the intestinal tract, such as Escherichia coli. It is common for these abscesses to involve more than one type of organism.

A Bartholins cyst causes swelling of the labia on one side, near the entrance to the vagina. A cyst is usually not very painful, and significant pain suggests that an abscess has developed. However, large cysts may be painful simply by virtue of their size. A Bartholins abscess causes significant pain in addition to the swelling. Vaginal discharge may be present, especially if the infection is caused by a sexually transmitted organism.

Diagnosis and Treatment

For a small Bartholins cyst that is not too painful, treatment consists of sitz baths with follow-up if the cyst enlarges or becomes painful. Especially with recurrent cysts treatment with antibiotics and sitz baths to cool off the infection is sometimes done. If this clears up the infection, a surgical procedure called a marsupialization can be done later. ...

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