Bartholin cysts: Why you shouldn’t ignore this common condition
Have you ever heard of a Bartholin cyst? This common gynecological condition affects many women, yet few are familiar with its causes, symptoms, and treatment options. A Bartholin cyst can be uncomfortable and even painful, but with proper care, it can be managed effectively.
Bartholin’s cyst, also known as a Bartholin’s duct cyst, is a fluid-filled lump that develops near the opening of the vagina. The Bartholin’s glands are located on either side of the vaginal opening and produce a natural lubricating fluid that helps keep the area moist. When the ducts that carry the fluid away from the glands become blocked, a cyst can form.
Bartholin’s cysts are typically small and painless, but they can become infected and cause pain, swelling, and redness. In rare cases, a Bartholin’s cyst can become so large that it causes difficulty with walking or sexual intercourse.
The exact cause of a Bartholin’s cyst is not well understood. However, it is believed that the cyst develops when the ducts that carry the lubricating fluid from Bartholin’s glands become blocked.
This can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
Trauma or injury to the area – Any type of injury or trauma to the area around the Bartholin’s glands can cause the ducts to become blocked and a cyst to form.
Inflammation or infection – Inflammation or infection of the Bartholin’s glands can cause the ducts to become blocked and a cyst to form.
Obstruction – Sometimes, an obstruction such as a cyst or a tumor can form in the ducts, causing them to become blocked.
Genetics – Bartholin’s cyst may run in families, suggesting a genetic component.
Hormonal changes – Hormonal changes in the body can cause an increase in the size of the Bartholin’s glands and make them more susceptible to developing a cyst.
It is also important to note that some sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can also cause the Bartholin’s gland to become infected, leading to a cyst formation.
Symptoms of a Bartholin’s cyst may include:
– A small lump near the vaginal opening
– Pain or discomfort
– Fever, if the cyst becomes infected
Treatment options for a Bartholin’s cyst may include:
– Sitz baths to help reduce swelling
– Pain medication to relieve discomfort
– Antibiotics if the cyst becomes infected
– A procedure called marsupialization to drain the cyst and prevent it from recurring
– Surgical removal of the cyst and the Bartholin’s gland if cyst is recurrent
Frequently asked questions about Bartholin’s cyst
Q: How are Bartholin cysts diagnosed?
A: A healthcare provider can diagnose a Bartholin cyst by performing a physical exam and possibly a biopsy to rule out any other conditions.
Q: Can Bartholin cysts go away on their own?
A: Yes, Bartholin cysts can sometimes go away on their own, but it’s important to seek medical attention if the cyst becomes painful, infected, or affects daily activities.
Q: Can Bartholin cysts recur?
A: Yes, Bartholin cysts can recur, especially if the underlying cause is not addressed. However, proper treatment can reduce the likelihood of recurrence.
It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have a Bartholin’s cyst, as it can become infected and cause more serious complications if left untreated.