Do Bartholin cysts go away on their own?
Some Bartholin gland cysts go away without treatment. You can take a nonprescription pain medicine such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin, for example) to relieve pain. If the cyst is infected, it may break open and start to heal on its own after 3 to 4 days. But if the cyst is painful, your doctor may drain it.
Bartholin gland cancer. A distinct mass (lump) on either side of the opening to the vagina can be the sign of a Bartholin gland carcinoma. More often, however, a lump in this area is from a Bartholin gland cyst, which is much more common (and is not a cancer).
- The Bartholin's glands (also called Bartholin glands or greater vestibular glands) are two pea sized compound racemose glands located slightly posterior and to the left and right of the opening of the vagina. They secrete mucus to lubricate the vagina and are homologous to bulbourethral glands in males.
- The only way to be sure cancer is present is for the doctor to do a biopsy. To do this, a small piece of tissue from the changed area is removed and examined under a microscope. Less often, the doctor might wipe the vulva with a dye (called toluidine blue) to find areas of abnormal vulvar skin to biopsy.
- Vulvar cancer can spread by direct extension, meaning that they can grow into adjacent areas such as the vagina and anus. Even in early disease, spread to lymph nodes can occur. However, spread to other organs is rare until late in the course of the disease. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, vulvar cancer is staged.
Bartholin's duct cysts, the most common cystic growths in the vulva,4,5 occur in the labia majora.6 Two percent of women develop a Bartholin's duct cyst or gland abscess at some time in life.6 Abscesses are almost three times more common than cysts.
- Vulvar inclusion cysts contain epithelial tissue; vulvar epidermal cysts develop from sebaceous glands. Both cysts eventually enlarge with cellular debris and sometimes become infected. Inclusion cysts are the most common vulvar cysts; they may also occur in the vagina.
- The Word catheter is a balloon that is placed in the Bartholin gland after I&D to allow continued drainage and reepithelialization of a tract for future drainage. This topic will review the procedure for incision, drainage, and placement of a Word catheter for treatment of a Bartholin cyst or abscess.
- Wound care instructions from your doctor may include wound repacking, soaking, washing, or bandaging for about 7 to 10 days. This usually depends on the size and severity of the abscess. After the first 2 days, drainage from the abscess should be minimal to none. All sores should heal in 10-14 days.
Updated: 19th October 2018