Bartholin Cyst: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment


Bartholin Cyst: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

A Bartholin cyst is primarily caused by a blockage in one of the Bartholin glands, which are small structures located on either side of the vaginal opening, within the labia majora (vaginal lips). These glands play a crucial role in the female reproductive system by producing a mucus-like fluid that helps lubricate the vaginal area, particularly during sexual arousal. When these glands become blocked, it can lead to the formation of a Bartholin cyst. Let’s see in detail about the Bartholin cyst treatment, Bartholin cyst symptoms and more in detail.

What is Bartholin Cyst?

A Bartholin cyst, also referred to as a vulvar cyst, is a condition that involves the formation of a lump near the vaginal opening, specifically on one side of the vaginal lips (labia). This condition is named after the Bartholin glands, which are two tiny glands located in the vulva, a part of the female reproductive system. These glands play a crucial role in producing mucus that helps lubricate the vaginal area.

The development of a Bartholin cyst occurs when there is a blockage at the openings of one of these Bartholin glands. This blockage disrupts the normal flow of mucus produced by the gland, leading to a buildup of this fluid within the gland itself. Bartholin cysts typically form on one side of the vaginal lips and usually affect only one of the two Bartholin glands.

These cysts can vary in size and often present as painless lumps. However, when a Bartholin cyst becomes infected with bacteria, it can evolve into a more painful condition known as a Bartholin abscess. In cases of infection, the cyst can become swollen, red, and tender to the touch, causing discomfort and pain.

What are the Common Bartholin Cyst Symptoms?

Common symptoms of a Bartholin cyst are as follows:

  • Lump or Swelling: A noticeable lump or swelling near the vaginal opening on one side of the labia (vaginal lips).
  • Pain or Discomfort: Some women may experience pain or discomfort, especially when sitting, walking, or during sexual intercourse. The pain can range from mild to severe, particularly if the cyst becomes infected.
  • Redness and Tenderness: If the cyst becomes infected, the area around it may become red and tender to the touch.
  • Painful Walking or Sitting: The presence of a Bartholin cyst can make activities such as walking or sitting for extended periods uncomfortable or painful.
  • Fever: In cases where the cyst becomes infected and progresses to an abscess, there may be associated symptoms like fever and chills.
  • Difficulty Urinating or Walking: Rarely, if the cyst grows significantly or becomes large, it can put pressure on nearby structures, potentially causing difficulty with urination or walking.

What causes Bartholin's cyst?

Let's see the common Bar tholin's cyst: causes:

Blockage of the Bartholin Duct: 

Each Bartholin gland has a tiny duct or tube that allows the produced fluid to flow from the gland to the vaginal opening. When this duct becomes blocked or obstructed, it prevents the mucus-like secretion from exiting the gland. Several factors can contribute to the blockage of the Bartholin duct, including:

  1. Infection: Infections, most commonly due to bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like gonorrhoea or chlamydia, can cause inflammation and swelling of the duct, leading to obstruction.
  2. Trauma or Injury: Any form of trauma or injury to the vaginal area, such as a vaginal tear during childbirth or other physical trauma, can damage the duct and result in a blockage.
  3. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations can impact the composition of the glandular secretions and may contribute to duct blockage in some cases.

Accumulation of Fluid: 

When the Bartholin duct is obstructed, the fluid produced by the gland cannot escape, causing it to accumulate within the gland itself. Over time, this trapped fluid builds up, leading to the formation of a cyst.

Infection and Abscess Formation:

 In some instances, the stagnant fluid within the cyst can become a breeding ground for bacteria. This can result in an infection within the cyst, causing it to become enlarged, painful, and red. When this happens, it is referred to as a Bartholin abscess.

Recurrent Cysts: 

Some women may experience recurrent Bartholin cysts, where new cysts form after the resolution of a previous one. This recurrence can be due to underlying factors that predispose the Bartholin glands to blockage, such as anatomical variations or chronic inflammation.

Bartholin Cyst and Menstruation 

It's perfectly fine to seek help for a Bartholin cyst during your period; doctors are accustomed to it and can provide appropriate care even during menstruation

Bartholin Cyst and Treatment

1. At Home

A Bartholin cyst popped can be uncomfortable, but there are some things you can try at home to help with the discomfort and potentially encourage the cyst to go away on its own. If you want to know how to pop a Bartholin cyst yourself, you should know that as far as possible, you should avoid it. However, with proper caution, you can try: 

  • Applying a warm, moist cloth to the affected area for about 20 minutes several times a day can help reduce pain and promote drainage of the cyst. This can sometimes help the cyst resolve naturally.
  • Soaking in a warm sitz bath, which is a shallow bath that covers the hips and buttocks, can provide relief. You can add Epsom salts to the bathwater for added comfort.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage any pain or discomfort associated with the cyst.
  • Maintaining good genital hygiene is essential. Ensure that the area is kept clean and dry to prevent infection.
  • Staying well-hydrated can sometimes help with cyst drainage.

2. When to Seek Medical Help when You Have Bartholin cyst?

While some Bartholin cysts may resolve on their own or with home care, it's important to know when it's time to seek medical attention:

  • If the cyst becomes increasingly painful or causes severe discomfort
  • If you notice signs of infection, such as redness, warmth, increased swelling, or the development of a fever
  • If the cyst becomes very large, it can interfere with your ability to walk or sit comfortably
  • If you've had Bartholin cysts before and they keep coming back
  • If the cyst becomes an abscess (painful, red, swollen, and filled with pus), it requires medical treatment, including possible drainage and antibiotics for bartholin cyst treatment.
  • Pregnant women who develop a Bartholin cyst should seek medical advice, as treatment may be necessary to ensure the well-being of both the mother and baby.

Over to You

Now, you know all about Bartholin Cyst. It's important to know how to handle Bartholin cysts. While some home remedies can help, trying to pop them at home is not safe. If you're in pain or see signs of infection, see a doctor. Also, it's good to clarify that stress doesn't directly cause these cysts.

On a broader note, it's wise to invest in health insurance to cover all your medical needs. This ensures you're financially prepared for unexpected health issues like Bartholin cysts and can access the care you need. 

>> Also Read: Cervical Cancer Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment


1. The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.

2. All plan features, benefits, coverage, and claims underwriting are subject to policy terms and conditions. Kindly refer to the brochure, sales prospectus, and policy documents carefully.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How to burst a Bartholin cyst at home?

You should not burst a Bartholin cyst at home because it can make the situation worse and painful.

Q. Is Bartholin cyst caused by stress?

Stress is not a direct factor causing Bartholin cysts, as they typically result from blocked gland ducts.

Q. What is the difference between Bartholin cyst and abscess?

The main difference between a Bartholin cyst and abscess is that an abscess is an infected cyst and usually requires medical intervention.


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