Bartholin's Gland Cyst

Bartholin's Gland Cyst. Bartholin's Gland Cyst What is the Bartholin's gland? Most women don't even know they have...

Bartholin's Gland Cyst

What is the Bartholin's gland?

Most women don't even know they have a bartholin's gland, (I don't know why that is, we learned about them in school). It is a tiny gland inside each of the labia near the opening of the vagina, one gland on each side. They produce fluid that lubricates the vagina. There are tiny ducts in the gland and if those get 'clogged' up by skin cells or secretions, it can form a cyst - (a fluid filled sac). The cyst can grow from the size of a dime to larger than a golf ball. They can be tender and very painful when they are infected. Sometimes they aren’t painful at all and you just wake up one morning with a swelling on one side of your vagina, don't panic, there is help.

What caused this annonying cyst? Sometimes they are caused by an infection in the Bartholin’s gland, but not always. The painful ones tend to be infected. Usually the infection is from the normal bacteria that are found on your skin and in your vagina. Virgins get these annoying cysts too, it doesn't only happen to females that are sexually active, so don't be afraid to tell your parent that you need to see a gynecologist.

How do I know if I have one?

You'll know if you have one. It isn’t very subtle. There will be a round tender 'lump' in one of the vaginal lips, near the opening of the vagina, use a mirror and you will see it. Cysts that get infected can become very painful. Go to a gynecologist or your health care provider and let that person determine if it is infected.

Treatment:

The treatment really depends on several things; the size of the cyst, how painful it is, if it is infected and how your health care provider chooses to treat them. A culture of the fluid in the cyst is usually taken to determine what organism is causing the infection, if indeed it is infected. Some cysts are just treated with oral antibiotics.

Your gynecologist might decide to put a 'drain' into the cyst, The drain (like a thick string) stays in place for about 2 to 4 weeks. This allows the fluid to drain and causes a small opening to form inside the lip of your vagina. The drain is removed after that 2 - 4 week period. (Not a painful removal at all, not for me anyway). The opening will heal by itself, it will not be a noticeable opening.

If you have had a cyst that keeps coming back or if it is very large, usually larger than a grape, your gynecologist may decide to do a different procedure, especially if you have had it drained already. An incision is made in the cyst to drain the fluid that has built up inside. (I have had it done, it is fairly painful, but Tylenol helps and it is worth getting rid of the darn thing)! This, however, is no guarantee that it will never come back OR you can get another one. If it does come back It can be treated again. (The procedure is called marsupialization, from the word that means to make a pouch). Antibiotics may be given to you at this time also.

Sometimes an oral antibiotics is all that is needed to treat a cyst, especially if you catch it early. Remember, it is not necessarily caused from an STD, not most of the time. Let your health care provider know if it does reoccur, don't wait for it to become too large again.

Prevention

You really can't actively prevent them, if you know of a way, let me know. I found that the pressure on that area of my body from riding my bicycle caused my cyst to flare-up. It seems to be more of a case of bad luck than anything else, ask your GYN, that is probably what they will say also. Many women never get one at all. If you do get one (or one on each side), it does tend to come out when you are stressed or 'run down'. If you think you have a Bartholin's gland cyst, call your health care provider right away so you can get early and effective treatment.

 



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