A Bartholin’s cyst is a non cancerous lump that develops due to a blockage in the Bartholin’s glands. The Bartholin’s glands are located on each side of the vaginal opening between the vagina and the vulva and not usually visible to the naked eye.These glands secrete fluid that helps lubricate the vagina and helps reduce friction during sex.Sometimes the openings of these glands become obstructed, causing fluid to backup into the gland. The result is relatively painless swelling called a Bartholin’s cyst.If the fluid within the cyst becomes infected, you way develop a collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue.
Bartholin’s cysts do not always cause pain. A person may have a cyst and not know about it until they undergo a routine examination by a doctor or have a consultation for other gynaecological health concerns.
Major symptoms are not common. However, when symptoms do occur, they may include a slight lump in the labia. The cyst usually only develops in one of the two glands.
Cysts may not be noticeable at first, but they can sometimes have effects on the labia, causing one of the lips to become larger than the other.
Cyst can range in size from that of a lentil to a golf ball. Although Bertholin’s cysts cannot pass from person to person through sexual contact, gonorrhoea or chlamydia may be an underlying cause.
Bartholin’s cyst should not be a cause for concern in people of reproductive age, however, after menopause, it is prudent to check the genitals for any lumps or cysts.
When symptoms do occur, they usually include –
• a painless, small lump near the opening of the vagina
• redness near opening of the vagina
• swelling near the opening of the vagina
• discomfort during sexual intercourse, walking or sitting
If the cyst becomes infected, additional symptoms can develop. These include –
• pus draining from the cyst
• difficulty walking
The cause of a Bertholin’s cyst is a back up of fluid. Fluid may accumulate when the opening of the gland becomes obstructed, perhaps caused by infection or injury.The infection that causes the cyst may result from bacteria such as E.coli. In rare cases, it may be due to bacteria that cause sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea or chlamydia.
Risk factors –
The following characteristics increase a person’s likelihood of developing a Bartholin’s cyst-
• being sexually active
• being between 20 and 30 years of age
• having previously had a Bartholin’s cyst
• having experienced physical trauma in the affected area
• having undergone surgery of the vagina or vulva
Sometimes, bacteria can enter the cyst fluid and cause a buildup of pus in the form of a Bartholin’s abscess. This abscess can be painful.
Only your doctor can tell you for sure if you have a Bartholin’s cyst.They will do a pelvic exam.If you have drainage, they will make a sample and look at it under a microscope to determine if you have an STI.
If you are over 40, they may do a biopsy to rule out vulval cancer.
Often a Bartholin’s cyst requires no treatment- especially if the cyst causes no signs or symptoms. When needed, treatment depends on the size of the cyst, your discomfort level and whether it’s infected, which can result in an abscess.
Treatment options your doctor may recommend include –
• Sitz baths –
Soaking in a tub filled with a few inches of warm water several times a day for 3 or 4 days may help a small, infected cyst to rupture and drain on its own.
• Surgical drainage –
You may need surgery to drain a cyst that’s infected or very large. Drainage of a cyst can be done using local anaesthesia or sedation.
• Antibiotics –
Doctor may prescribe an antibiotic if your cyst is infected or if testing reveals that you have a sexually transmitted infection. But if the abscess is drained properly, you may not need antibiotics.
If cysts recur or bother you, a masrupialization procedure may help.Doctor places stitches on each side of a drainage incision to create a permanent opening less than1/4 inch long. An inserted catheter may be placed to promote chairage for a few days after the procedure and help prevent recurrence.
Ayurvedic Treatment –
• Kanchnar Gugglu
• Vriddhivadhika Vati
• Aarogyavardhini Vati
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