Bartholin Cyst

Bartholin cyst forms when a Bartholin gland in the vagina becomes blocked. Because of this obstruction, a lump forms, which can be uncomfortable when walking, sitting, or engaging in intercourse. Bartholin cysts, in some cases, can shrink on their own. In the event of infection, medical attention may be required.

Last Updated: February 24, 2024

Women of childbearing age are most prone to developing Bartholin cysts/abscesses. It is most common in young women, but its prevalence rises with age up until menopause. Two percent of annual gynecologic visits are due to women experiencing symptoms associated with Bartholin cysts and abscesses.

Experts think a buildup of fluid causes a Bartholin's cyst. Fluid can begin to build when the duct leading from a gland becomes blocked, as can happen due to illness or damage.

An abscess can develop from a Bartholin's cyst if it becomes infected. Some bacteria that  can cause this infection include Escherichia coli and other bacteria that cause sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Many Bartholin cysts are small and only cause mild irritation. Bartholin cyst or abscess symptoms may include:

  • Pain and discomfort during sexual activity, walking, sitting, inserting a tampon, and wiping after urination;
  • Localized swelling and pain in the vaginal area;
  • Fever or chills;
  • Redness;
  • Pus from the cyst;
  • The increasing size of the cyst.

Many Bartholin cysts are small and only cause mild irritation. Bartholin cyst or abscess symptoms may include:

  • Pain and discomfort during sexual activity, walking, sitting, inserting a tampon, and wiping after urination;
  • Localized swelling and pain in the vaginal area;
  • Fever or chills;
  • Redness;
  • Pus from the cyst;
  • The increasing size of the cyst.

While Bartholin's cyst is not preventable, there are ways to minimize the risk. Using a condom during every sexual intercourse can significantly lower the chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that could lead to the development of a cyst. Keeping up with healthy hygiene habits helps prevent a cyst from becoming an abscess.

 

References

 Lee WA, Wittler M. Bartholin Gland Cyst. [Updated 2022 Aug 23]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532271/

 

John's Hopkins Medicine (2022). Bartholin's Cyst. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bartholin-cyst/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369981

 

Cleveland Clinic (2022). Bartholin Cyst. Retrieved November 8, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17737-bartholin-cyst

 

Last Updated: February 24, 2024