What is a Bartholin’s Cyst?

What is a Bartholin’s cyst?

A Bartholin’s cyst can occur when one of the Bartholin’s glands, located on either side of the vaginal opening, becomes infected. A cyst usually forms when the gland is clogged. If the cyst becomes infected, it can cause a Bartholin’s abscess.

A Bartholin’s cyst can be more than an inch in diameter. It often causes significant pain. Although most people with Bartholin’s abscesses heal completely, in some cases the cyst will come back and become infected again.

Women of childbearing age are the most affected population. About 2 percent of women will experience Bartholin’s abscess in their lifetime.

What causes a Bartholin’s cyst?

They have two Bartholin’s glands, each the size of a pea. The glands sit on either side of the opening of the vagina. They provide lubrication to the vaginal mucosa.

Doctors, coli He believes that bacteria such as chlamydia or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause infections that can lead to Bartholin’s abscess. If bacteria get into the gland, swelling, infection, and blockage can occur.

If fluid accumulates in the gland, the pressure on the area increases. It may take years for enough fluid to build up to form a cyst, but an abscess can form quickly.

If the infection and swelling progress, an abscess may occur by cutting the gland and opening the skin. A Bartholin’s abscess tends to be very painful. It usually occurs on only one side of the vagina at a time.

What are the symptoms?

A Bartholin’s abscess usually causes a lump to form under the skin on one side of the vagina. A Bartholin’s abscess often causes pain during any activity that puts pressure on the area, such as walking, sitting, or having sexual intercourse.

Abscess fever may also accompany it. The area of ​​the abscess will likely be red, swollen, and warm to the touch.

How is a Bartholin’s abscess diagnosed?

Your doctor will do a physical exam to determine if you have a Bartholin’s abscess. They will check for any lumps inside the vagina that could be a sign of an abscess. He may also take a sample from the field to check for any STDs. STDs will need to be treated along with the abscess.

If you’re over 40 or have gone through menopause, your doctor may want to biopsy any mass in the vagina to rule out other potential conditions. In rare cases, a Bartholin’s abscess may indicate cancer.

Home treatment options for Bartholin’s abscess

In its early stages, a Bartholin’s abscess can sometimes be treated at home using a sitting tub. A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath that you can give yourself in your tub or with a sitz bath set. Soaking may not cure an abscess, but it may help relieve your pain and discomfort.

To treat a Bartholin’s cyst that can cause an abscess, the Mayo Clinic recommends soaking in three or four sitz baths a day, each for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

Treatment for an abscess can take days because the opening of Bartholin’s gland is too small and may close before drainage is complete.

Other home treatments for cyst care can help the abscess drain and heal on its own. Using a mixture of tea tree and castor oil as a topical ointment on an abscess can cause drainage. Tea tree oil is known for its antibacterial properties that can help clear up an infection. Castor oil is thought to increase blood circulation, which can reduce inflammation in the affected area.

Tea tree and castor oil can be applied with a piece of gauze. Adding a warm compress to the top of the gauze can make this solution even more effective.

when to see your doctor

If you think you may have a Bartholin’s abscess, see your doctor. You can try bathing and cyst care at home, but the condition is unlikely to go away without medical treatment.

Typically, the abscess must be drained with surgery. In most cases, you can have this procedure done in your doctor’s office under local anesthesia. General anesthesia in a hospital is also an option. Talk to your doctor about the best option for you.

During surgery, your doctor will make an incision through the abscess and insert a catheter into it to drain the fluid. The catheter may remain in place for several weeks. Once the abscess has healed, your doctor will remove the catheter or let it fall out on its own.

Since the abscess may be the result of infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. However, antibiotics may not be necessary if the abscess drains properly.

It is common for Bartholin’s abscesses to recur. If Bartholin’s abscess comes back repeatedly after treatment, your doctor may recommend a procedure called marsupialization.

Marsupialization is a similar surgery to any other drainage procedure. But instead of allowing the incision to close, your doctor will stitch the incision to allow maximum drainage. They may use a catheter or pack the abscess in a special gauze that they will remove the next day. Local anesthesia is an option during a marsupialization. The procedure can also be performed under general anesthesia. Your doctor will treat transmitted infections with antibiotics before surgery.

If these treatments don’t prevent a Bartholin’s abscess from recurring, your doctor may recommend removing Bartholin’s glands. This surgery is rare and requires general anesthesia in a hospital setting.

How can it be prevented?

There is no sure way to prevent a Bartholin’s abscess. But practices like safe sex, condom use, and good hygiene will help keep bacteria out of the area, which will help prevent infections. It is also important to find out if you have an STD and seek necessary treatment.

Maintaining a healthy urinary tract can help prevent Bartholin’s cysts and abscesses from developing. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and avoid waiting too long to urinate. Cranberry supplements can help support good urinary tract health.

Complications and immediate symptoms

If a Bartholin’s abscess gets worse and goes untreated, the infection can spread to other organs in your body. The infection can enter your bloodstream, a condition called septicemia. This condition is dangerous because the infection can be carried throughout your body.

Seek medical attention if you have a fever above 37.5 ºC. You should also seek medical attention if the abscess ruptures suddenly or the pain does not subside.

Result and recovery

If you think you may have a Bartholin’s abscess, see your doctor. It is especially important to seek medical attention if you have a fever or if pain begins to interfere with your daily activities.

Recovery time is minimal after the abscess is drained. After the Bartholin’s abscess drains, most women feel better within 24 hours.

If your abscess needs to be surgically removed, your recovery time will vary depending on the details of your procedure. Spend the first few days after surgery lying down as much as possible. Be sure to rest and follow your doctor’s instructions. It is important to allow any incisions to heal completely and take the antibiotics your doctor has prescribed.

Once the abscess has been successfully treated, you should have no lasting effects as well as possible skin scars related to the treatment procedure.


Lee MY, et al. (2015). Clinical pathology of Bartholin’s glands: A literature review. DOI:

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015). Bartholin’s cyst.

Omole F et al. (2003). Treatment of Bartholin’s duct cyst and gland abscess.

Wechter ME, et al. (2009). Treatment of Bartholin’s duct cysts and abscesses: A systematic review. [Özet]. DOI:

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