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Most women don’t know about the existence of their Bartholin glands unless they cause problems. These glands are located near the vaginal opening on both sides, thus they are at increased risk of becoming infected. When bacteria enters the Bartholin duct it can become inflamed and may block the gland from emptying properly. As a result the gland itself can become inflamed and form an abscess.
The condition is often very painful and may cause fever. When the ducts are blocked but there is no sign of inflammation it is treated as a cyst.
The usual treatment for this type of problem is surgery. It should be performed only if the abscess or cyst causes symptoms or becomes uncomfortable.
Bartholin cysts and abscesses are always treated with surgery. During the procedure you will be under general anesthesia.
If you have a cyst, the surgeon cuts the skin open and removes it along with the gland itself, so you won’t have to worry about a recurrence.
If your complaints are caused by an abscess, your doctor will open up the part of the skin that is inflamed, drain it and close only a section of the cut with 2-3 stiches to allow any residual pus to drain and the wound to heal properly from the inside out.
As with any surgery, there are some risks associated with Bartholin cyst removal, including infections and bleeding.
You will receive a patient information sheet and an informed consent form which will provide you with detailed information regarding the risks of the operation, as well as what to expect before, during and after the procedure. By all means feel free to discuss the possible risks or any other concerns with your gynecological surgeon before making a treatment decision.
There are certain risks associated with general anesthesia too, these will be explained to you on a separate information sheet. You will be required to sign a second informed consent form regarding anesthesia. You will also have some preoperative tests to ensure that these risks are reduced to a minimum.
It is important to call your surgeon immediately if you develop a fever, bleeding, or other signs of infection.