- The Bartholin's glands are located in the posterior vulval wall (at the 4- and 8-o'clock positions).
- They are also known as the major (greater) vestibular glands.
- Each gland is approximately 1 cm in diameter with a narrow 1.5-2.0cm duct to the surface.
- The glands are mucus-producing and their function is to maintain the normally moist surface of the vulva. They also provide a small amount of lubrication during sexual intercourse.
- If a duct becomes blocked (commonly associated with friction from intercourse causing oedema) then a cyst will occur. This may then become infected with development of an abscess. Abscesses are almost three times more common than cysts (Kaufman 1994).
- In 20% of cases, N. gonorrhoea is cultured from the abscess so a full sexually transmitted infection screen should always be considered.
- In the remaining cases, the organisms are mixed vaginal flora.
|Aerobic organisms||Anaerobic organisms|
|Neisseria gonorrhoeae||Bacteroides fragilis|
|Staphylococcus aureus||Clostridium perfringens|
|Streptococcus faecalis||Peptostreptococcus species|
|Escherichia coli||Fusobacterium species|
Kaufman RH. Benign Diseases of the Vulva and Vagina. 4th ed. St Louis: Mosby; 1994. p. 168–248.