Bartholin gland cysts and abscesses are common problems in women of reproductive age. Although the cysts are usually asymptomatic, they may become enlarged or infected and cause significant pain. Bartholin's glands are two small glands located on both sides of the vaginal opening in the labia minora at approximately the 4 and 8 o'clock positions on the posterolateral aspect of the vestibule. The glands are normally about the size of a pea. A cyst can develop from one of the glands or the ducts. It can be chronically inflamed and painful. If a Bartholin's duct, cyst or gland becomes infected, an abscess will form. This can happen without a cyst being formed first .Bartholin glands cysts develop from dilation of the duct following blockage of the duct opening. The glands are normally the size of a pea and drain into a duct that exits near a fold between the mucous membrane (hymen) and the outer lips of the vagina (labia). Bartholin gland cysts tend to grow slowly and noninfected cysts are sterile. An abscess is just an infected contained area that has no way of releasing it's fluid. This then gets bigger, red and painful. Although small cysts are usually asymptomatic, they may become enlarged or infected and cause significant pain. If the cyst becomes infected, the abscess can grow rapidly and become increasingly painful. Women aged 20 to 29 are most likely to develop Bartholin's glands cyst 3-5% . Abscesses are almost three times more common that cysts.
Signs, Complains, Symptoms
Normally, the Bartholin's gland cannot be palpated. Bartholin gland cysts develop from cystic dilation of the duct following blockage of the duct orifice. They are generally 1 to 3 cm in size and are usually asymptomatic. The patient may notice a bulge in the labium majus or the cyst may be found during a routine gynecologic examination. When symptoms occur, the patient may report vulvar pain, dyspareunia, inability to engage in sports and pain during walking or sitting. Bartholin gland cysts tend to grow slowly. Since noninfected cysts are usually sterile, routine antibiotic therapy is not necessary.A Bartholin's abscess is noticed as a red, painful swelling at the bottom of the labia majora (the outer lips of the vulva). Usually the abscess is extremely tender, making sexual intercourse very painful and sometimes even making it hard to sit or walk.
Symptoms of Bartholin Cyst
- A Bartholin Cyst is generally painless. But it can make the sufferer experience tenderness near the vaginal opening.
- Symptoms arise if it grows in size or if there is any Bartholin Cyst infection.
- An enlarged Bartholin Cyst can be felt as a compact mass or lump near the vaginal entrance.
- Pain or painful sensation in the affected area.
- Discomfort sensation while sitting, walking and any similar activity that puts pressure on the genital area.
- Vulva becomes very sensitive to pressure.
- Dyspareunia. Suffering from pain during sexual intercourse
- Fever in patients with Bartholin Cyst fever is very common. High body temperature often arises because of this abnormal vaginal condition
Treatment of a Cyst or Abscess
Treatment of Bartholin Cyst
The best if you see your gynecologist, but i f you can not: there are some of the methods that are used for Bartholin Cyst natural treatment. If you are suffering from a Bartholin Cyst natural remedies like these can help a lot to make the symptoms go away:
- Non-Prescription Painkillers.Painkillers reduce discomfort in case of a painful Bartholin Cyst.
- Sitz Bath:for a patient with Bartholin Cyst bathing in warm water is very effective. It helps heal the Bartholin Cyst rupture and drain by itself. In the Sitz Bath method, the affected person has to sit in a tub filled a few inches with warm water. Doing this daily for three and four times for a few days can work as a Bartholin Cyst natural remedy.It is only good if you do not have infection or abcess.
- Warm Towel Compress:If you are diagnosed with Bartholin Cyst, soaking the vulva (genital region) with warm towel compress can help a lot. It is one of the most effective Bartholin Cyst home remedies.
- If the symptoms show no sign of going away even after 2-3 days of home treatment, it is time to get professional medical help.
Operative treatment of the cysts-it is the same just at the abscess treatment- see there!
Treatment of Bartholin Abscess
Antibiotics are not effective because of the poor blood supply to the abscess.
Operativ treatment of Bartholin abscess and cysts:
The abscess has to be opened and drained. To make the gland work again and to have the lubricating fluid come out, we need to make a new opening.Moustly this is a small procedure done at our office in local anestesia , only takes a few minutes. This will give you immediate relief.
The procedure:After examining the cyst/abscess, we give you local anaesthetic to numb the area. Then we open up the cyst/abscess, by making an incision, at the same place as the duct opening once was. You will not feel this. The cyst(abscess) can be emptied on fluid(pus).The gland is then cleaned by flushing with a sterile solution betadine and skinsept or octanisept and small connections inside are broken to free infection. After this we insert the drain , gauze drainage or Word catheter. This keeps the duct open long enough for the new skin edges to heal and stay open. The catheter is held in place by a small balloon that is inflated inside. You will feel this balloon as a solid round object.
Types of surgery
Incision and Drainage: This is simply opening the abscess or cyst and letting it drain. This works immediately, but unfortunately, this form of treatment has a high chance of the abscess / cyst coming back as soon as the opening closes again.
Marsupilization: This is an old, standard treatment that makes a large opening and then sutures the inside edges of the duct to the skin to keep it open.
Incision and Word Catheter: A small 6 cm long tube with a tiny balloon on one end is used. Once we have opened the abscess or cyst, we put the catheter tube into the opening to make sure that the skin does not close again.
Will a Bartholin Cyst go away?
A Bartholin Cyst usually goes away after drainage or surgery. Recovery is generally complete. But cysts are seen to recur in 10% cases.
Bartholin Cyst Complications
Bartholin Cysts does not usually lead to any complicated condition. But in rare cases, a chronic cyst may develop in the Bartholin Vaginal duct.
After the operation ,in case of increased pain , fever and chills, increased swelling in the operation area or any other symptoms at this area or you are hesitating please come back right away to the surgery! Never have vaginal intercourse 4 weeks after the operation.We recommend showering instead of taking baths. I will see you 2-3 days and one week after the insertion. At this appointment, we will make sure that the drain or catheter is well placed and draining well. The duct open, preventing a new cyst/abscess from developing. There is about 20% risk of the cyst/abscess coming back.