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What is a Bartholin gland cyst?

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A Bartholin gland cyst is a common inflammation that occurs in the Bartholin gland when the vaginal lubricating fluid backs up into the gland as a result of obstruction of the gland's opening, according to Mayo Clinic. In most cases, the cyst heals on its own without any treatment.

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In most cases, a Bartholin gland cyst does not cause pain, notes Mayo Clinic. However, an infected Bartholin gland cyst may cause discomfort while walking or sitting, painful sexual intercourse, tenderness around the vaginal opening and fever. An individual should seek immediate medical care when the symptoms of a Bartholin cyst appear to allow for early diagnosis and treatment.

Depending on the pain status, size and infection status of the cyst, it can heal with home treatment or with drainage through surgery, reports Mayo Clinic. One home treatment is a sitz bath, in which the patient soaks the cyst in a tube of warm water for a few days allowing the cyst to burst and drain. In surgical drainage, a doctor sedates the patient or administers a local anesthetic, and drains the cyst through an incision. Inserting a catheter in the incision for a few weeks keeps the cyst open to allow for complete drainage. Other treatment options include marsupialization, use of antibiotics and surgical removal of the Bartholin gland.

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