Bartholin Cyst: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

This is a cyst that involves the Bartholin’s gland. The problem happens when the gland gets blocked. This results in a cyst that’s fluid-filled forming.

woman holding abdomen in pain

A Bartholin cyst happens when the gland gets blocked. This results in a fluid-filled growth. The cyst can result in infection but isn’t actually an infection itself. This gland is part of a female’s genitals and makes a fluid used during sexual activity. When we observe growths on our bodies like cysts it can cause us to panic and worry about how serious the situation is. This is especially true when growths like cysts appear in the genital area. These cysts are often small and even as small as lentils. However, it’s important to get a checkup if you suspect you have these cysts.

You also might be wondering if these “duct cysts” is dangerous. They can cause some pain and discomfort. However, the cysts aren’t very serious and they can be treated effectively. In fact, there’s a chance the growths might not even need to be treated. It’s important to get it checked out to find out whether or not that’s the case.

The cysts are due to the glands being blocked. This can result from different factors like infections and various risk factors also exist. A doctor can help to recommend which treatment(s) is most practical for your situation. Based on different factors the doctor might even recommend no treatments.

What Is a Bartholin Cyst?

This is a cyst that involves the Bartholin’s gland. The problem happens when the gland gets blocked. This results in a cyst that’s fluid-filled forming. The gland is named after a Danish physician who was the world’s first person to describe the glands.

This doctor is most famous for discovering humans’ lymphatic system. This is part of the immune system and carries a fluid towards the human heart.

Let’s get back to the condition. The gland involved exists between the vulva and vagina, which are located in the external region of a female’s genitals. The fluid they produce helps to reduce the amount of friction during sexual activity.

The fluid travels from the glands to the ducts/tubes that are approximately 2 centimeters (0.8 inches) long.

When the ducts get blocked this results in a build-up of lubricant. As a result, the ducts get larger and cyst forms. One reason this condition should be treated is the cyst can result in an infection in the area.

When the cyst gets infected you might experience:

  1. Uncomfortable walking/sitting
  2. Fever
  3. Painful lump near vagina’s opening
  4. Pain during sexual activity

It’s important to note that while this condition can cause some pain and discomfort it’s not a life-threatening one. However, the patient might require treatment based on how serious the condition is.

In many cases the cysts are small. A doctor’s examination and tests can help to determine whether or not treatments are required.

You should certainly contact your doctor if a lump appears on the vagina and it lasts for 2-3 days after using home remedies. You should also contact your doctor if you’re 40+ years old and you observe a new lump.

This could be a sign of a more serious problem.  A doctor can help determine whether or not that’s the case.

Causes of Bartholin Cysts

These cysts can result from a wide range of causes including:

Fluid backup

This is the main cause that researchers link to the cyst. Fluid might build up when the gland’s opening gets blocked. The cause of the blockage could be an injury or infection.


This is actually a possible result of the cyst but is worth noting as a risk. When there’s a cyst there’s a chance an infection could start. This doesn’t always take place but there’s a greater chance if you don’t treat the cyst soon.

It’s also worth noting that certain infections could cause the cysts as well. They include different viruses including ones that also cause diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Risk Factors

There are certain factors that can boost the chance of experiencing cysts. They include women who are:


  1. 0-1 pregnancies
  2. Sexually active
  3. Sexually transmitted disease (STD)

In terms of STD, it’s important to note that the cysts themselves are transmitted through sex. However, the STD itself could be the cause of the cyst.

It’s important to keep these causes and risk factors in mind. If you match up with one of the risk factors it doesn’t mean there’s a 100% chance you’ll develop Bartholin cyst. However, it increases the chance so it’s something to keep in mind.

It’s also important to take steps to reduce your risk of developing these cysts. This won’t mean you definitely won’t get them. However, it can greatly reduce the likelihood that you’ll experience the fluid-filled growths.

One issue to consider is there’s a chance the cyst will return after it’s removed through treatment. This shouldn’t provide concern. As with the original diagnosis, it’s important to treat the cysts as soon as possible when necessary. This will help to prevent problems like infections.

Treatments and Prevention

Various treatments for these cysts are available. In some situations, the cyst won’t require any treatments if it’s small and doesn’t cause any symptoms.

These cysts can vary in size between a pea and a golf ball. If you have one it’s important to observe it and see if it becomes larger.

Some home remedies can be used to treat small cysts. They include:

  1. Warm bath
  2. Warm compress on the affected area
  3. Painkillers like ibuprofen

It’s important to note that these DIY remedies are only for small cysts. If they’re larger then you should certainly contact your doctor. In those cases, you should consider other options because the home remedies probably won’t work.

Sometimes doctors will prescribe an antibiotic. This will help to kill any bacteria that are causing the gland to get blocked. It could also help to prevent infections that result from the cyst.

In some situations, your doctor might also recommend surgery. This might involve using a tool to treat the cyst for 2-4 weeks. The procedure will help to drain away from the fluid and produce an opening.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent Bartholin’s cysts 100% of the time. On the other hand, you can take steps to reduce your chance of developing them. That includes good hygiene and safe sex. This helps to prevent infections and STDs that could increase the chance for cysts forming.

Before you start any treatment make sure to get the cyst diagnosed. A doctor will usually do a pelvic exam. This can help to determine whether or not you indeed have this type of cyst or it’s something else.

Other possible tests include urine, blood, and STD. These tests can help to determine the cyst’s main cause. In some cases, the doctor might also order a biopsy before recommending treatment for the Bartholin cyst.

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