Bartholin glands and Bartholin cysts

Bartholin glands are two small glands that are located on each side of the vaginal opening. They produce fluids to lubricate the opening to the vagina. If the duct to a Bartholin gland becomes blocked, fluid builds up inside the gland, causing a cyst.

Bartholin cysts that do not cause symptoms do not need to be treated. A Bartholin cyst that is large, painful, or infected is usually drained and healed open to keep it from coming back (recurring). In rare cases, the gland and duct are surgically removed when a cyst or infection (abscess) recurs after repeated treatments.

Last Updated: February 4, 2009

Author: Sandy Jocoy, RN

Medical Review: Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH - Family Medicine & Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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