Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Woman preparing a bath to help treat Bartholin's cysts.

Woman preparing a bath to help treat Bartholin's cysts.
beginning of content

Bartholin’s cysts

2-minute read

Bartholin's cysts can develop if the ducts of the Bartholin's glands, found inside the vagina, become blocked. Women are given antibiotics to clear any infection but some women with Bartholin's cysts have surgery to have them removed.

What causes a Bartholin’s cyst?

Bartholin’s glands are found on each side of the vaginal opening and produce the fluid that helps lubricate the vagina. Sometimes the glands become blocked and the fluid causes a Bartholin’s cyst. If the fluid becomes infected, it will form pus and become a Bartholin’s abscess.

You'll usually have a cyst or abscess on one side of your vaginal opening. Bartholin's cysts can also recur.

Bartholin’s cysts symptoms

You can have a Bartholin’s cyst and not have symptoms, but a cyst may grow so that you feel a lump near the opening of your vagina.

If it becomes infected, you may notice:

Bartholin’s cysts diagnosis and treatment

If your cyst isn't causing pain or discomfort, you may not need treatment. Sometimes home treatment, such as soaking the affected part several times a day in a shallow, warm bath, will make an infected cyst break open and drain by itself.

See your doctor if your cyst doesn't get better after three days of treatment with these baths. If the pain is severe, see your doctor right away. Your doctor might want to rule out cancer, especially if you're over .

The type of treatment will depend on:

  • the size of the cyst
  • if it's painful
  • whether the cyst is infected
  • whether it is cancerous.

Your doctor may perform a pelvic examination and send samples of vaginal secretions for testing. You may need to have the cyst drained or take a course of antibiotics if it's infected. In rare cases, surgery may be needed.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Rare Cancers Australia - Directory - Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma

Rare Cancers Australia is a charity whose purpose is to improve the lives and health outcomes of Australians living with a rare or less common cancer.

Read more on Rare Cancers Australia website

Learn about Baker's cyst, symptoms & treatment - MSK

Do you have a Baker's cyst? Find out what causes them, how you can manage your musculoskeletal condition, where to find support & how MSK can help you.

Read more on Musculoskeletal Australia website

Epidermoid cyst - ACD

An epidermoid cyst is a benign walled-off cavity filled with keratin which originates from the hair follicle unit.

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Digital myxoid cysts - ACD

A digital myxoid cyst is an entirely benign, non-cancerous swelling that usually occurs at the base of the nail on the fingers or toes. Digital myxoid cysts are not catching and they are not a sign of infection. They do not develop into skin cancer.

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Acne overview - myDr.com.au

Acne, a condition in which your skin gets greasy, its pores get blocked and you get blackheads, pimples or cysts, usually gets better over time but can be treated with various medicines.

Read more on myDr website

Penis lumps | Andrology Australia

Penis lumps What does it mean if I have a lump on my penis? What is a penis cyst? What is a penis ulcer? What is a papule? What are genital warts? Your doctors appointment Resources Resources Fact sheet Penis problems Download PDF SEE ALL RESOURCES

Read more on Healthy Male - Andrology Australia website

Scrotal lumps | Andrology Australia

Scrotal lumps Lumps in the scrotum Hydroceles Varicoceles Epididymal cyst Epididymitis Orchitis Testicular torsion Your doctors appointment Resources Resources Fact sheet Scrotal lumps Download PDF SEE ALL RESOURCES

Read more on Healthy Male - Andrology Australia website

Common breast conditions | Jean Hailes

Breast lumps, cysts, mastitis, painful breasts can occur in many women. It is helpful to know what causes these changes, when they occur and what treatments are available, particularly how to relieve breast pain.

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Breast health | Jean Hailes

Breasts come in all shapes and sizes and will change from adolescence to menopause. Breast lumps, cysts, mastitis and painful breasts can occur in many women. Knowing what is normal, how to conduct a breast check and when to see your doctor if you are wor

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Teething Troubles | HealthEngine Blog

Teething is the time when a baby's first few teeth begin to erupt.Teething may cause pain or irritability, and there are a few simple things that can be done to help a baby who is teething.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo