The Bartholin's (BAHR-toe-linz) glands are located on each side of the vaginal opening. These glands secrete fluid that helps lubricate the vagina. Sometimes the openings of these glands become obstructed, causing fluid to back up into the gland. The result is relatively painless swelling called a Bartholin's cyst. At times, the fluid within the cyst may become infected, resulting in pus surrounded by inflamed tissue (abscess).
A Bartholin's cyst or abscess is common. Treatment of a Bartholin's cyst depends on the size of the cyst, the pain and whether the cyst is infected. Sometimes home treatment is all you need. In other cases, surgical drainage of the Bartholin's cyst is necessary. If an infection occurs, antibiotics may be helpful to treat the infected Bartholin's cyst.