A Bartholin's cyst occurs when a Bartholin's gland , within the labia , becomes blocked. The cause of a Bartholin's cyst is typically unknown. If there are no symptoms, no treatment is needed. Most Bartholin's cysts do not cause any symptoms, although some may cause pain during walking, sitting,  or sexual intercourse dyspareunia.
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When the gland is blocked, a cyst will usually form. It usually causes significant pain. Women of childbearing age are the most affected population. The glands sit on either side of the opening of the vagina. They provide lubrication to the vaginal mucosa. Doctors believe that bacteria, such as E. If bacteria get into the gland, swelling, infection, and an obstruction may occur. When fluid builds up in the gland, pressure increases on the area.
It may take years for fluid to build up enough to form a cyst , but an abscess can form quickly after. If the infection and swelling advance, the gland may abscess, which breaks open the skin. It usually only occurs on one side of the vagina at a time. A fever may also accompany the abscess.
The area of the abscess will likely be red, swollen, and warm to the touch. They will check for any lumps within the vagina that could indicate an abscess. They may also take a sample from the area to check for any STDs. STDs will need to be treated along with the abscess. A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath you can give yourself in your bathtub or with a sitz bath kit. Soaking may not cure the abscess, but it can help ease your pain and discomfort.
Other home treatments for cyst care may help the abscess drain and heal on its own. Using a mix of tea tree and castor oil as a topical ointment on the abscess may promote drainage. Tea tree oil is known for its antibacterial properties, which may help clear an infection. Castor oil is thought to promote blood circulation in the affected area, which can reduce inflammation. You can apply the tea tree and castor oil with a piece of gauze. Adding a hot compress on top of the gauze may make this remedy even more effective.
You can try sitz baths and cyst care at home, but the condition is unlikely to go away without medical treatment. Typically, the abscess needs to be drained through surgery. General anesthesia in a hospital is also an option. Talk to your doctor about the best choice for you. During the surgery, your doctor will make an incision in the abscess and place a catheter inside to drain the fluid. The catheter may remain in place for several weeks. Once the abscess heals, your doctor will remove the catheter or allow it to fall out on its own.
Since the abscess is likely the result of an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. However, antibiotics may not be necessary if the abscess drains properly. But instead of allowing the incision to close, your doctor will stitch the incision open to allow for maximum drainage. They may use a catheter or pack the abscess with a special type of gauze that they will then 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 any infection present with antibiotics before the surgery. This surgery is rare and requires general anesthesia in a hospital setting.
But practices such as safe sex , condom use , and good hygiene will help keep bacteria out of the area, which can help prevent infection. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, and avoid waiting a long time to urinate.
Cranberry supplements may help support good urinary tract health. The infection may enter your bloodstream, a condition called septicemia.
This condition is dangerous because the infection can be carried throughout your whole body. Once the abscess has drained, recovery time is minimal. If your abscess needs surgical removal, your recovery time will vary depending on the details of your procedure. Expect to spend the first few days after the surgery reclining as much as possible.
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Learn more. What are the symptoms? When to see your doctor. How can it be prevented? Complications and emergency symptoms. Outcome and recovery. Your Guide to Vaginal Lumps and Bumps. Chlamydia: Symptoms, Treatment, and More. Read this next. Medically reviewed by Elaine K. Luo, MD. What Is Causing Your Cyst? Medically reviewed by Stacy Sampson, DO.
The Bartholin's glands are located symmetrically at the posterior region of the vaginal opening and play an important role in the female reproductive system. These two pea-sized glands are involved in mucus secretion and vaginal lubrication. Cyst formation in the glands is common and results from mucus build-up in gland ducts. It is important to monitor such cysts because they may occur in the form of carcinomas. Larger cysts and abscesses are found in the lower vestibular region and typically present with erythema and edema. Biopsy is an effective method for distinguishing between Bartholin's gland cysts and differential diagnosis.
Management of Bartholin's Duct Cyst and Gland Abscess
When the gland is blocked, a cyst will usually form. It usually causes significant pain. Women of childbearing age are the most affected population. The glands sit on either side of the opening of the vagina. They provide lubrication to the vaginal mucosa. Doctors believe that bacteria, such as E.