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Management of Bartholin's duct cyst and gland abscess

Folashade Omole, Barbara J Simmons, Yolanda Hacker
American Family Physician 2003 July 1, 68 (1): 135-40
12887119
Bartholin's duct cysts and gland abscesses are common problems in women of reproductive age. Bartholin's glands are located bilaterally at the posterior introitus and drain through ducts that empty into the vestibule at approximately the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions. These normally pea-sized glands are palpable only if the duct becomes cystic or a gland abscess develops. The differential diagnosis includes cystic and solid lesions of the vulva, such as epidermal inclusion cyst, Skene's duct cyst, hidradenoma papilliferum, and lipoma. The goal of management is to preserve the gland and its function if possible. Office-based procedures include insertion of a Word catheter for a duct cyst or gland abscess, and marsupialization of a cyst; marsupialization should not be used to treat a gland abscess. Broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy is warranted only when cellulitis is present. Excisional biopsy is reserved for use in ruling out adenocarcinoma in menopausal or perimenopausal women with an irregular, nodular Bartholin's gland mass.

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