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Bartholin Cyst

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

What is a Bartholin cyst?

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.

How is a Bartholin cyst diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will examine your vagina. A sample of fluid from your vagina may be collected. The fluid can be tested for sexually transmitted infections. Your healthcare provider may tell you how to treat your cyst 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.

What can I do to care for myself if my cyst is 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.

What can I do to care for myself after my cyst is drained?

  • 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.

When should I contact my gynecologist or healthcare provider?

  • 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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