The Bartholin glands are located on both sides of the inner labia and primarily function to produce mucus that moisturizes the vaginal mucosa. The mucus is secreted into two ducts that appear in the posterior vaginal introitus. A Bartholin gland cyst is usually caused by blockage of the duct as a result of inflammation or trauma; a Bartholin gland abscess occurs when the obstructed duct becomes infected. The most common symptoms are swelling and, in the case that an abscess develops, pain and potentially fever. Both Bartholin gland cysts and abscess are clinical diagnoses. First-line treatment includes sitz baths, which may promote spontaneous rupture or resolution of the cyst after a few days. An abscess usually requires incision and must be drained surgically.
- Pathophysiology: : blockage of the duct by inflammation or trauma → accumulation of secretions from gland → cyst formation
- Clinical features: often asymptomatic but can cause mild dyspareunia
- Management 
- Pathophysiology: polymicrobial infection e.g., E. coli (most common),; Staphylococcus species, Streptococcus species,N. gonorrhoeae, C. trachomatis; → infection of Bartholin gland or cyst
- Clinical features
- Indicated in all cases of abscess formation and large cysts (> 3 cm)
- Involves incision and drainage followed by marsupialization or fistulization with a Word catheter
Marsupialization: indicated for recurring abscesses
- Evert and suture the edges of the cyst wall to the cut edges of the vestibule.
- This creates a new opening that allows free drainage
- Fistulization with a Word catheter
- Biopsy: if malignancy is suspected
- Gland excision: if malignancy is suspected or if previous measures are unsuccessful
Antibiotic therapy 
- Empiric oral antibiotic therapy covering Staphylococcus species, Streptococcus species, and enteric gram-negative aerobes is recommended and should be adjusted according to blood culture results.
- Surgery 
- Bartholin gland carcinoma
- Inclusion cysts
The differential diagnoses listed here are not exhaustive.