The both sides of vaginal openings consist of some glands known as Bartholin’s glands. These glands are helpful in lubrication of vagina as they secrete fluid. In some cases, the glands openings are obstructed that causes the fluid to remain in the gland and that results in painless swelling which is called Bartholin’s cyst. It usually occurs on only one side of the vaginal opening. Sometimes the fluid in cyst gets infected which causes a pus in the specific area that is surrounded by abscess (inflamed tissue). The treatment of these cysts depends on its size, infection and pain. If it is small and painless it can be treated at home, if it is painful and big in size it needs surgical drainage, and in case of infection cyst then antibiotics are used.
In start the cyst is usually small and painless, it can disappear by itself but if it grows it may feel like a lump near the vaginal opening. It can be infected easily. In this case the patient may feel the following symptoms:
1. A soft, painful lump near the openings of vagina
2. Uncomfortable walk
3. Itching and fever
4. Uncomfortable or painful intercourse
The main cause of Bartholin’s cyst is fluid accumulation in the Bartholin’s glands which may be is a result of any other infection or some injury. The infection in these cyst may occur due to bacterias such as Escherichia coli , chlamydia and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (the bacteria that causes sexually transmitted disease gonorheae). These cysts can be cured by surgical treatment, but the main problem is that it may occur again on the same place.
Some important and useful treatments in curing the Bartholin’s cysts are given below:
1. Sitz baths : Fill a tub with warm water and soak the infected area in it. Repeat it many times for three to four days to rupture the infected cyst.
2. Drainage of cyst by surgery : After applying the local anesthesia, the doctor makes an incision in the infected cyst and drain it, then a catheter (a small rubber tube) is placed in the incision and leave it there for about six weeks to allow the cyst to drain completely. This procedure is called as surgical drainage.
3. Marsupialization : If the cyst occur again after the treatment then marsupialization is done. In this procedure, doctor applies stitches on each side of the incision so that a permanent opening of about 1/4 inch in size forms. A catheter is palced again to allow complete drainage and prevent the infection and cyst to occur again.
4. Antibiotics are also used to treat the infected cysts.
In women who are older than 40 and get these cysts on their vaginal openings then they should be more concerned because it may be some cancerous cells.