Definition: The Bartholin's glands are a pair of pea-sized glands on either side of the vaginal opening. They secret a small amount of fluid that moistens the area. (Contrary to speculation, they are probably not more active during sexual activity.) Sometimes the ducts draining these glands become clogged, creating a round cyst, which feels like a lump, and can become irritated, or even infected. This cyst is NOT cancerous. Unless it is causing uncomfortable symptoms, it is not usually treated.
Rarely, cancer can form in a Bartholin's gland. About 4% of vulvar cancer is of this type, and vulvar cancer as a whole is less than 1% of all the cancers a woman can get.
Pronunciation: BAR toe linz • (noun)
Common Misspellings: Bartolin's Barthollins Bartholans Bartholin
What is a Bartholin's Gland Cyst? from Amercian Family Physician
Copyright © 2001 by Laura Dolson. All rights reserved. Please submit reprint requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
The material on this page and Web site is for informational and educational purposes only, and should not substitute for medical advice. Anyone having questions about the application of information appearing here to a specific person or situation should obtain advice from a qualified physician.