Nonneoplastic disorders
Bartholin cyst

Author: Monika Roychowdhury, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 3 October 2017, last major update March 2013

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Vulva Bartholin cyst

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Cite this page: Roychowdhury, M. Bartholin cyst. website. Accessed January 19th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Due to blockage of duct exiting Bartholin gland, causing accumulation of gland fluid; if infected, may form an abscess
  • Common infectious agents include sexually transmitted chlamydia and gonorrhea; E. coli and other normal flora
  • Cyst may occur secondary to gonorrhea or other acute inflammation, which causes abscess, then obstruction of duct
  • Painful; may be huge; seen in all ages but often women age 40+ years
  • May be associated with accessory breast tissue
  • May have mucocele-like changes (Hum Pathol 1978;9:111)
Case reports
  • Excise in older women because of risk of adenoid cystic carcinoma; otherwise marsupialize
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Squamous and urothelial epithelium common but may be destroyed by inflammatory infiltrate
  • Still see residual mucinous glands with nonsulfated sialomucin
  • May have calcifications resembling malakoplakia
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Dilated duct

Transitional epithelial lining and mucus glands