# Bartholin's Gland Cyst or Abscess
## About the Bartholin gland
The Bartholin glands lubricate the vagina. There is one on each side of the labia, which are the large skin folds on each side of the vagina. This gland releases fluid through a passage, called a duct, into the vagina.
## Causes of a Bartholin cyst or abscess
A cyst is caused when the duct opening gets clogged. The fluid is not able to get out, which causes a lump. When the gland becomes infected, it is called an abscess and may cause pain. An abscess is sometimes caused by sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea. It also may occur with an injury to the vaginal area. Sometimes the cause for a cyst or abscess is not known.
## Signs of a cyst or abscess
If you have any of these signs, see your doctor for treatment:
- Swelling or a lump near the opening of the vagina
- Cloudy, brown, or yellow drainage when pressure is put on the lump
- Pain when walking, sitting or having sex
- Fever, but this is a less common sign
Treatment may depend on how large the cyst is or whether you have an abscess. Your treatment may include:
- Placing warm moist towels on the vaginal area
- Sitting in warm water, not hot, without soap
- Taking medicine, called antibiotics, to fight infection
- Draining the gland in the doctor’s office or clinic
- Removing the cyst or abscess with surgery
## Follow-up care
It is important to see your doctor to make sure you are healing well after treatment.
- Schedule a follow up appointment with your doctor.
- After treatment, if your pain gets worse or you have a fever with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, call your doctor. If your doctor cannot be reached, you need to be seen by a doctor in a care center or emergency room.
- Do not have sex until your doctor has said that you can.
- If you had an infection passed on by sexual intercourse, do not have sex until both you and your partner have finished your treatment for that infection.
## Prevention tips
- Use good personal cleanliness, such as wiping front to back after a bowel movement.
- Do not use vaginal sprays, deodorant, or douches.
- Wear loose fitting cotton underwear.
- Avoid wearing tight panty hose or pants.
- Use a condom to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.