Bartholin’s gland cysts are a common problem for many post-pubescent women. The small glands sit between the vagina and the vulva. Occasionally, a blockage forms and prevents the glands from properly performing their lubrication function. As a result, they may develop fluid-filled cysts. Though an infection may be the cause, Bartholin’s gland cysts are not infections themselves. Most Bartholin’s gland cysts require treatment because they are small and asymptomatic.
At puberty, the Bartholin’s glands begin to function. The glands are around the size of a pea and sit on either side of the vagina at the base of the labia minora. Bartholin’s glands open on the surface of the external area of the female genitalia, the vulva. Originally, physicians believed the main purpose of the Bartholin’s glands was to secrete mucus to lubricate the vagina. Modern beliefs suggest that the Bartholin’s glands also provide lubrication for the labial opening. This may be to provide relief for irritation in a sensitive area.
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