Bartholin's Cyst Treatment

A Bartholin's cyst, also known as Bartholinitis occurs when a Bartholin's gland is blocked and the gland becomes inflamed. Sizes range from that of a pea to that of an egg and form just within each side of the lower part of the opening of the vagina. An abscess may form if the cyst becomes infected. In this case it often becomes red and painful when touched.

A Bartholin's cyst is not an infection, although it can be caused by an infection, inflammation, or physical blockage (mucus or other impediment) to the Bartholin's ducts (tubes which lead from the glands to the vulva). If infection sets in, the result is a Bartholin's abscess. Cysts are not sexually transmitted. There is no known reason for their development and infection is rare. With an abscess, a bacterial infection, but usually not an STD, is the cause.

Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms. If there are no symptoms, no treatment may be needed. If a cyst is causing problems, drainage is recommended. The preferred method of drainage is the insertion of a Word catheter for four weeks. Simple incision and drainage may allow the cyst to reform.

A surgical procedure known as marsupialization may be used for cysts, but should not be used if they are infected. If the problems persist, the entire gland may be removed. Removal is sometimes recommended in those older than 40 to ensure cancer is not present. Antibiotics are not generally needed.

Bartholin's cysts are most likely in women of childbearing age. About two percent of women have the problem at some point in their life.