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Bartholin Gland Cyst in Teens: Care Instructions

Female pelvic organs

Your Care Instructions

The Bartholin glands are in a woman's vulva. This is the area around the vagina. The glands are normally about the size of a pea. They provide fluid to the vulvar area through a small opening. If the opening is blocked, the gland swells with fluid and forms a cyst. You can have a cyst for years with no symptoms. But if a cyst gets infected by bacteria, it can grow and become red and painful. This is called an abscess. Opening and draining the cyst usually cures the infection.

You may have had a small tube (catheter) placed into the cyst or minor surgery to let the cyst drain. The tube will usually be left in for at least 4 weeks. Your doctor may do a lab test to find out what kind of bacteria caused the infection. You may get antibiotics to kill the bacteria.

You may have some drainage from the cyst for a few weeks. The gland should return to normal after the infection clears up.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Sit in 8 to 10 centimetres of warm water (sitz bath) 3 times a day and after bowel movements. The warm water helps the area heal and eases discomfort.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Wear panty liners or pads if you have discharge from the draining cyst.
  • If you are sexually active, avoid sex until:
    • You have finished the antibiotics.
    • The area has healed.
  • If you had a catheter placed in the cyst to help it drain, follow your doctor's instructions for activities until the tube comes out.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have symptoms of a new or worse infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • The catheter falls out.
  • You are not getting better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.