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.

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 come back.

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 3 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 40.

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.


Medical News Today (Cysts: Causes, types, and treatments), Mayo Clinic (Bartholin’s cyst – Definition), Cochrane Library (Word catheter and marsupialisation in women with a cyst or abscess of the Bartholin gland (WoMan-trial): a randomised clinical trial)

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

Last reviewed: July 2019

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Cysts - Better Health Channel

Read more on Better Health Channel 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 Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo