What Is Bartholin's Cyst?
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The two Bartholin's glands are located at the entrance to a woman's vagina, one on each side. They are small and cannot be seen or felt when they are normal. Their function is to secrete fluid onto the mucosal (inner) surface of the labia-the liplike skin surrounding the vagina.
Problems with the Bartholin's glands include cysts, which are relatively painless enlargements of the gland, and abscesses, which are infections of the gland. Typically only one of the two glands is affected.
What Causes Bartholin's Cyst?
A Bartholin's cyst develops when the duct exiting the Bartholin's gland becomes blocked. The fluid produced by the gland then accumulates, causing the gland to swell and form a cyst. An abscess occurs when a cyst becomes infected.
Bartholin's abscesses can be caused by any of a number of bacteria. These include bacterial organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea as well as bacteria normally found in the intestinal tract, such as Escherichia coli. It is common for these abscesses to involve more than one type of organism.
Picture of Bartholin's Cyst
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/17/2016
R Daniel Braun, MD
Melissa Howell Kennedy, MD
Anthony Anker, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Lee P Shulman, MD
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