Non-infectious occlusion of the distal Bartholin's duct, with resultant retention of secretions.
Diagnosed on clinical exam. The classic appearance is a medially protruding cystic structure at the inferior aspect of the labia majora, in the 5 or 7 o'clock position, crossed by the labium minus.
Identified in about 2% of women presenting for gynaecological care in the US, and most common in women of reproductive age. In post-menopausal women with a vulval mass, malignancy should be considered.
A Bartholin's gland abscess may result from polymicrobial non-gonorrhoeal infection of the cyst fluid or, less commonly, from primary infection of the gland or duct.
Treatment of a cyst can be conservative or surgical and depends on size, symptoms, presence of infection, and whether the cyst is recurrent.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics are recommended for the treatment of Bartholin's gland abscesses. Incision and drainage may be required.
A Bartholin's duct cyst is a non-infectious occlusion of the distal Bartholin's duct, with resultant retention of secretions. The paired Bartholin's ducts are located at the posterior vestibule and provide a conduit for secretions from the Bartholin's glands. A Bartholin's duct cyst may be asymptomatic if the cyst is small. It typically presents as a medially protruding mass at the inferior aspect of the labia majora, in the posterior introitus, and is crossed by the labium minus. Duct cysts and gland cysts are indistinguishable, and the terms are used interchangeably. A Bartholin's duct abscess may be primary (from bartholinitis) or secondary (from infection of Bartholin's cyst).
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Iowa
CKS is an author of a number of references cited in this monograph.
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Central Florida College of Medicine
LAB declares that she has no competing interests.
Dr Colleen Kennedy Stockdale and Dr Lori A. Boardman would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Laura K. Bonebrake, a previous contributor to this monograph. LKB declares that she has no competing interests.
St Michael's Hospital
RA declares that he has no competing interests.
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Emory University School of Medicine
KA declares that he has no competing interests.
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