Bartholin's cysts are most common in women aged 20-29, especially those who have never been pregnant or have only been pregnant very few times.
A Bartholin's cyst can grow from the size of a pea to the size of an egg. Cysts are not sexually transmitted, though sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis or other bacterial infections can cause the cysts to become infected and become abscesses.
Cysts may also be opened permanently, a method called marsupialization, in which an opening to the gland is formed with stitches which hold the secretion channel open.
The cysts are not life-threatening, but can be quite painful and can even make walking difficult. New cysts cannot absolutely be prevented from forming; however, surgical or laser removal of a cyst makes it less likely that a new one will form at the same site. However, those with a cyst are more likely than someone else to get one in the future. Some recur once every few years, while the more unlucky ones get them more frequently. There is not presently a generally agreed-upon explanation in the medical field for the cause of these cysts, nor agreement upon what can be done to help prevent them. Many women who have marsupialization done find that the recurrences may slow, but do not actually stop.