A Bartholin’s cyst occurs when a woman’s Bartholin’s glands develops soft painless lumps. Bartholin’s glands are responsible for the lubrication of the vag during s3x. The openings of the glands, are located on either side of the vag entrance. If the vag were the face of a clock, these glands would be found at about 4 and 8 o’clock. Normally they are invisible. However, they sometimes get blocked and this makes the gland’s fluids back up into them. When that happens, a cyst develops.
The cyst is usually soft and painless and doesn’t cause any problems. However, it’s possible for it to get infected and cause a painful, pus-filled mass called an abscess. Also, the cyst sometimes grows to become very large and visible. This starts to cause discomfort, interfering with s3x, sitting, walking and other related activities.
Bartholin’s cysts generally only occur on one side of the vag opening. Other names are Bartholin’s gland cyst and Bartholin’s duct cyst.
What causes Bartholin’s cyst?
Usually the cause is unknown, but once a lump (cyst) occurs, the fluid inside can easily become infected. Usually, the infection is from the good bacteria in the vag. However, sometimes bacteria from cause STIs such as gonorrhoea or chlamydia can cause the infection.
Symptoms of Bartholin’s cyst
You may notice a round bulge in one of your vag lips, near the opening of the vag. It may be painless or slightly tender. It may stay the same size or may slowly grow larger. Cysts that get infected are usually very tender. In more severe cases, walking or s3xual intercourse may be painful. Your doctor will look at the area to see if you have a cyst and to find out whether infection has occurs.
Bartholin’s gland treatment
If your Bartholin’s cyst is asymptomatic that is, you don’t experience any symptoms at all, you may not have to do anything at all to treat it. However, you should make sure to report any changes in size or shape to your doctor.
Treatment depends on the size of the cyst, how painful it is, if infection occurs and your age. You can often treat small cysts by using a sitz bath. You can sit in warm water for several times a day for 3 or 4 days. This allows the cyst to rupture and drain with little pain or discomfort.
Also, the doctor can perform a minor procedure in the office. During this procedure, the doctor makes an incision and puts a small tube (catheter) into the cyst. The catheter stays in place draining the fluid. While the catheter is in, you can go on with your normal activity. The catheter will later be remove later.
Another procedure that can also be done in the doctor’s office is making a small cut in the cyst to drain the fluid. The doctor will place stitches at the edge of the cyst to allow a small opening to form. This procedure is called a marsupialization. You may have light discharge for a few weeks. Panty liners should be all you need to use to take care of this discharge. Less common procedures involve using a laser or having surgery to remove the entire gland.
Prevention of Bartholins cyst
There’s no way to prevent a Bartholin’s cyst. However, safer sex practices such as using condoms and good hygiene habits may help to prevent infection of a cyst and the formation of an abscess.