Bartholin Abscess: What you should know?

A Bartholin Abscess is pus formed in any one of the Bartholin’s glands which are located on each side of the vaginal opening. Bartholin glands are small pea-shaped glands that secrete fluid to lubricate the vagina.

A Bartholin abscess is a cyst that is formed due to the blocked glands which causes an intense pain along with redness and swelling on one side of the vagina. These abscesses vary in size from being very small to more than a diameter inch.

One in every fifty women experience this Bartholin’s cyst at some age, but those in their twenties are found to be at higher risk.

What causes a Bartholin Abscess?

Bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), chlamydia, gonorrhoea or the sexually transmitted infections (STIs) causes infection in the glands. Other bacteria such as Brucella melitensis, Klebsiella variicola, Pasteurella bettii, Streptococcus species. Etc. are also sometimes the reason for causing infection in glands.

Symptoms of Bartholin Abscess

A common symptom is heavy pain in one side of the vagina that would be infected. Other than this symptom such as a lump under the skin, fever, redness, swelling, hot sensation, pain during walking, sitting or while having sex may occur.

Diagnosis of this Bartholin Abscess

Based on the symptoms, a doctor will diagnose this Bartholin and will do a physical examination where he/she may check for lumps in the vagina, will measure for fever and will test for STIs.

Treatment of Bartholin Abscess

Generally, Bartholin abscess/cyst is removed through a treatment called drainage, where a surgeon will use local anaesthesia to numb the affected area and do an incision to place a catheter- a small rubber tube to drain out the fluid. This catheter will be left inside for up to 6 weeks to drain out all of the fluid inside the abscess, which will fall out by itself or the doctor may remove the catheter after the period.

If this abscess occurs again then a doctor may recommend marsupialization that will help prevent recurrent Bartholin’s abscesses and in rare cases, the removal of the glands will be recommended if the abscesses repeat even after marsupialization.