Recent Blog Articles
If cannabis becomes a problem: How to manage withdrawal
Corneal transplants becoming more common
An emerging treatment option for men on active surveillance
Gun violence: A long-lasting toll on children and teens
Adult female acne: Why it happens and the emotional toll
Talking to your doctor about your LGBTQ+ sex life
Untangling grief: Living beyond a great loss
Thunderstorm asthma: Bad weather, allergies, and asthma attacks
Heart problems and the heat: What to know and do
I’m too young to have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, right?
Bartholin's Gland Cyst
What Is It?
A cyst is a sac filled with liquid or semisolid material that forms under the skin or somewhere inside the body. The Bartholin's gland is one of two small glands on each side of the labia minora, just outside of the opening to the vagina. During sexual arousal, the Bartholin's gland releases a lubricating fluid. A Bartholin's gland cyst develops when the gland becomes blocked. The Bartholin's gland can become blocked for a variety of reasons, such as infection, inflammation or long-term irritation.
Many Bartholin's gland cysts don't cause any symptoms. They usually are discovered when a woman notices a small, painless mass just outside the opening to the vagina, or when a physician notices it during a routine pelvic examination. However, if the cyst grows larger than 1 inch in diameter, it can cause discomfort when sitting, or during intercourse. If a cyst becomes infected, it fills with pus, and becomes firm, swollen, and very painful, making it difficult for a woman to sit, walk or have intercourse. The pus-filled cyst is called an abscess.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!