Vulvar cyst aka Bartholin gland cyst is a cyst that forms in the Bartholin glands. These glands are present at the distal end of the vulva on each side of the vagina. The major function of Bartholin glands is the production of lubricative fluids for the vulva. They are also known as greater vestibular glands.
The vulvar cysts are formed due to blockage of the Bartholin ducts of the glands. This causes the fluids to keep on accumulating and results in the enlargement of the channels/ducts and eventually leads to the formation of a cyst.
Signs/symptoms of vulvar cyst
Most commonly the vulvar cyst gets inflamed and this leads to a swelling that appears in the vulva. The patient usually complains of a dragging sensation in the groin and pain. The cysts are not painful at the start. They usually becomes painful when the the Bartholin gland abscess develops. The abscess usually develops in areas of decreased drainage and a cyst is the perfect place.
Treatment of vulvar cysts
As you may know, whenever a cyst forms due to blockage it must be drained in order to let the tissues heal. This is to reduce the inflammation by draining the accumulated fluid out of the cyst. If you have developed a Bartholin abscess (vaginal abscess, vulvar abscess) it may also require a course of antibiotics so consult a doctor. Drainage should not be attempted on your own, as the genital area is notorious for getting infections if proper hygienic conditions are not satisfied.
The picture below explains the drainage procedure. Under aseptic conditions the Bartholin cyst (Vulvar cyst) is excised. It may be allowed to simply drain after that. Furthermore your doctor may elect to place a word catheter in the cyst to allow it to drain better. The Bartholin cyst is not usually excised.