Bartholin's Abscess

A Bartholin’s abscess is a condition that affects a gland in the vagina called the Bartholin’s gland. Each gland is approximately 0.5cm in size and drains small amounts of mucous into a duct 2- 2.5cm long. The glands are located on either side of the opening of the vagina. A cyst forms if the gland duct becomes obstructed, leading to accumulation of the mucous. A Bartholin’s cyst is not usually painful but can be uncomfortable if the size is large. If a cyst accumulates with bacteria, an abscess forms. A Bartholin’s abscess may be exquisitely tender, reddened, and swollen. Walking and sitting may be quite painful. At this stage, most women with this condition would present to a gynaecologist for management.

Your doctor will diagnose the condition after examining the genitalia. Treatment involves administration of antibiotics and analgesics such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. If the abscess is very painful and swollen, surgical drainage is required to alleviate the symptoms. Most patients would require either Intravenous sedation or a general anaesthetic, as local anaesthetic does not work well on inflamed tissue. The abscess is drained and cleaned in the Operating Theatre. A further procedure can be performed to help prevent re-accumulation of the cyst. This is called a marsupialization. The doctor drains the fluid from the cyst and then the lining of the cyst wall is sutured to the overlying skin in such a way as to create a permanent drain site. The healing process takes two weeks and the recurrence rate is between 5 and 20%.
At Sunnybank Centre for Women, you can have an urgent consultation with either Dr Nelson Gonzalez or Dr Joseph Jabbour if you suspect you have a Bartholin's Abscess. You will require a referral from your GP and we would swiftly diagnose the abscess and treat it accordingly. 
Suite 5 171 McCollough Street
Sunnybank QLD 4109