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              Bartholin Cyst


See a doctor if any genital lump or mass continues to enlarge or does not improve within a few days of home treatment.

If a lump or mass is painful, this suggests that an abscess has developed. It needs to be drained.

If other symptoms develop, including vaginal  discharge, fever , or vomiting , call the doctor.

With Bartholin cysts and abscesses, the primary reason to seek emergency care is acute pain. Women who are experiencing severe pain or who cannot sit or walk comfortably should see a doctor as soon as possible. Although symptoms such as high fever and abdominal pain  usually are not caused by Bartholin abscesses, seek emergency care if these symptoms do develop.

Self-Care at Home

Home treatment of Bartholin cysts and abscesses involves sitz baths, which promote drainage. Special sitz bath basins are available, but the simplest method is to sit in the bathtub in a few inches of warm water. The water should not be so hot as to burn the skin but should be fairly warm. These soaks should be done for 10-15 minutes at a time, 3-4 times daily. This treatment is frequently all that is needed for Bartholin cysts. Abscesses often require drainage by a doctor.



Women who have had a Bartholin cyst or abscess drained should follow up in 24-48 hours for recheck and possible removal of packing material. In the meantime, sitz baths should be taken to continue drainage.

Contact the doctor if the packing falls out prematurely. Depending on the timing, the size of the abscess, and whether symptoms are continuing, it may or may not need to be replaced.

Women may be given pain medication. Take this as prescribed. If antibiotics were prescribed, they should be taken until gone.

Women should be rechecked if they experience new symptoms including increasing swelling, pain, vaginal  discharge, or fever.


If a Bartholin cyst develops, prompt treatment with sitz baths may prevent the development of an abscess.

Safe sex practices can decrease the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and therefore prevent the formation of abscesses caused by these organisms.


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