Bartholinitis is an inflammation of one or both of the Bartholin’s glands, which are located on either side of the opening of the vagina behind the labia.

Inflammation is sometimes due to the penetration of germs during sex, but in most cases it is not due to sexually transmitted infections.

Each Bartholin’s gland is about the size of a small pea, and most people are unaware that they exist because they are not noticeable.

Each of the glands has a short tube about 2.5 cm long, called Bartholin’s duct, which carries the glandular secretions to the surface, just in front of the hymen and behind the inner lip of the vulva.

Until 40 years ago, doctors believed that the function of Bartholin’s glands was to secrete all the fluid that moistens and lubricates the vagina during sex.

But American scientists have proven that this is not true and that the lubricant comes from the upper part of the vagina.

However, the glands are thought to release a small amount of fluid in response to sexual arousal, and the function of this fluid is to provide light lubrication to the labia.

What are the symptoms?

• Pain and soreness in the area of ​​one of the labia majora /inner labia/;

• Sensation of swelling and visible swelling when examining the same area;

Possibly a slight leakage of secretion from the same place;

• A slight increase in body temperature is also possible;

What are the causes?

Because the glands are so close to the external genitalia, they can become infected with microbes that penetrate the smaller duct and reach the glandular tissue.

The germs that most commonly infect the glands are:

• Staphylococci, which usually inhabit the skin and nose;

• Streptococci – microorganisms that cause inflammation of the throat and are also found on the skin;

• Coliforms – intestinal microbes;

Inflammation can also be caused by gonococci, the causative agent of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea.

For this reason, if you have bartholinitis it is wise to get tested for gonorrhea and also for chlamydia.

Treatment of bartholinitis

Treatment begins with taking a swab from the vagina, which is sent for bacteriological analysis.

An appropriate antibiotic such as ampicin and sulbactam is then prescribed, depending on the causative agent, to kill the germs.

Doctors usually recommend abstaining from sex until the infection is completely cured.

If the cause of the infection is gonococci, the sexual partner should also be treated for a sexually transmitted disease as part of the overall therapy used to cure bartholinitis.

Bartholin cyst

Sometimes a Bartholin’s gland or duct becomes swollen and filled with a clear fluid that is not pus.

But the swelling can reach the size of an egg, which can cause serious discomfort, usually no infection develops, and the swelling occurs due to a blockage of the Bartholin duct.

But a careful history and physical examination should be performed.

If the attending physician has doubts about the type of cyst for malignancy, then a biopsy should be performed, followed by gynecological follow-up and possibly excision.

Patients with an uncomplicated, asymptomatic cyst are sent for home treatment with instructions for intimate baths 3 times a day for several days to promote spontaneous rupture and subsequent healing of the cyst.

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