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Bartholin Cyst

AMBULATORY CARE:

A Bartholin cyst

is a lump near the opening to your vagina. You may have pain in this area when you walk or have sex. A Bartholin cyst is caused by blockage of your Bartholin gland. You have a Bartholin gland on each side of your vagina. The glands produce fluid to moisten your vagina. Over time the fluid can build up in the gland and form a cyst. The cyst may become infected. You may be at risk for a Bartholin cyst if you have a sexually transmitted infection. An injury or surgery near your vagina may also increase you risk.

Contact your gynecologist or healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your cyst gets larger or becomes more painful.
  • Your cyst returns after treatment.
  • Your drain falls out.
  • You have pus, redness, or swelling where the cyst was drained.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for a Bartholin cyst

may include treatment at home. Instead, you may need any of the following:

  • Medicine may be given to treat or prevent an infection. Medicine may also be given to decrease pain and swelling.
  • Incision and drainage is a procedure to drain the cyst. Your healthcare provider will make an opening in the cyst so it can drain. He or she may also place packing or a drain in your wound. The drain will help keep your gland open and drain extra fluid. The packing will be removed in 24 to 48 hours. The drain may be left in place for 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Surgery may be needed if other treatments do not work. Surgery may be done to hold your gland open and prevent another blockage. Surgery may also be done to remove 1 or both of your Bartholin glands.

Self-care if your cyst was not drained:

  • Take a sitz bath 3 to 4 times each day or as directed. A sitz bath may help relieve swelling and pain. It will also help open your Bartholin glands so they drain normally. Place a clean towel on the bottom of your bath tub. Fill your bath tub with warm water up to your hips. You can also buy a sitz bath that fits in your toilet. Sit in the water for 10 minutes.
  • Apply a warm compress to your cyst. This may relieve swelling and pain. A warm compress will also help open your Bartholin glands so they drain normally. Wet a washcloth in warm, but not hot, water. Apply the compress for 10 minutes. Repeat 4 times each day.
  • Keep the area around your vagina clean. Always wipe front to back. Shower once a day. Gently pat the area dry after a shower.

Self-care after an incision and drainage of your cyst:

  • Take a sitz bath in 24 to 48 hours or as directed. You may need to wait to take a sitz bath until after your packing is removed. A sitz bath may help relieve swelling and pain. Take a sitz bath 3 to 4 times each day for 3 days. Place a clean towel on the bottom of your bath tub. Fill your bath tub with warm water up to your hips. You can also buy a sitz bath that fits in your toilet. Sit in the water for 10 minutes.
  • Wear a sanitary pad to absorb drainage from your wound. You may have drainage for a few weeks after your cyst is drained.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if it is okay to have sex. Sex may cause your drain to fall out. It may also increase your risk for an infection.
  • Keep the area around your vagina clean. Always wipe front to back. Shower once a day. Gently pat the area dry after a shower.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

If packing was placed in your wound, return in 24 to 48 hours to have it removed. If a drain was placed, you will need to return in 4 to 6 weeks to have it removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Bartholin Cyst (Ambulatory Care)

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