The Bartholin glands are located in the vaginal area and produce fluid that helps lubricate the vagina during sexual activity. Sometimes, the ducts that carry the fluid from the gland to the vagina can become blocked, leading to the formation of a cyst. Bartholin gland cysts are relatively common and are usually not harmful. However, they can become infected and cause pain and discomfort. Here’s what you need to know about understanding and managing Bartholin gland cysts:
- A painless lump or swelling in the vaginal area
- Discomfort during sex
- Pain when walking or sitting
- Redness and tenderness around the lump
- Drainage of pus or blood if the cyst becomes infected
- Warm compresses: Applying warm compresses to the area can help relieve pain and discomfort and may also help the cyst to drain on its own.
- Sitz baths: Soaking in a warm bath or sitting in a shallow bowl of warm water can help relieve pain and may also help the cyst to drain.
- Incision and drainage: If the cyst is infected or very large, a healthcare professional may need to drain it using a small incision. This procedure is usually done under local anesthesia.
- Antibiotics: If the cyst is infected, antibiotics may be prescribed to help clear the infection.
- Marsupialization: In some cases, a healthcare professional may recommend a surgical procedure called marsupialization. This involves making a small incision and stitching the edges of the cyst to the surrounding tissue. This allows the fluid to drain and reduces the risk of the cyst returning.
It’s important to see a healthcare professional if you have symptoms of a Bartholin gland cyst, especially if the cyst is painful, large, or appears to be infected. A healthcare professional can recommend the best course of treatment based on your individual circumstances.