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Bartholin Cyst


What is a Bartholin cyst?

A Bartholin cyst is a swollen bulge near the opening to your vagina. The bulge may be on the surface, or it may be deep under the skin. A Bartholin cyst is caused by a blockage of your Bartholin gland. You have one gland on each side of your vagina. The glands produce mucus to moisten your vagina. Skin may grow over the gland opening and block the mucus. This can cause buildup of the mucus in the gland, which forms a cyst.

What increases my risk for a Bartholin cyst?

Your risk is increased by bacteria from a sexually transmitted disease, or an injury or surgery in the gland area. After you have one Bartholin cyst, you are at increased risk for another.

What are the signs and symptoms of a Bartholin cyst?

You may not have signs or symptoms if the cyst is small. You may have pain when you are sitting, walking, or having sex. The pain may increase if the cyst gets larger or becomes infected.

How is a Bartholin cyst diagnosed?

Your caregiver will examine your vagina. He may gently press around the cyst to find the opening of the Bartholin gland. He will look for clear, yellow, or blue bulges near the gland.

How is a Bartholin cyst treated?

  • Sitz baths may treat small cysts and help prevent infection. Caregivers may give you a portable sitz bath. This is a small tub that fits in the toilet. Fill the sitz bath or bathtub with 4 to 6 inches of warm water. Sit in the warm water for 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times each day.
  • Minor procedures may be needed to help drain the cyst. Your caregiver can perform these minor procedures in his office. He may make a small cut in your swollen cyst so it can drain. He may stitch it open, or place a catheter (tube) inside. The catheter may need to stay in the cyst for 4 to 6 weeks. Ask your caregiver if it is safe for you to have sex while the catheter is in place.
  • Removal of the gland may be performed if you get cysts often, even after treatment.

What are the risks of a Bartholin cyst?

Your cyst may become infected, or a swelling filled with blood may form. Your cyst may return after treatment.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • Your cyst gets larger or becomes more painful.
  • Your cyst returns after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You develop a fever, even after treatment.

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.

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