A cyst in vulva is commonly referred to as vulvar cyst. The outer portion of female genital tract is known as vulva. Female vulva is not a single organ; instead it is an area consisting of several parts such as labia majora the outer lips and labia minora the inner lips on the lateral side, clitoris, mons pubis on the anterior side, urinary meatus, hymen, Bartholin gland and skene ducts are also parts of female vulva.
A cyst is nothing but an enclosed sac filled with gelatinous material. Cysts in vulvar area include Bartholin cyst and skene duct cyst.
Bartholin gland cyst is the most common vulvar cyst. Bartholin glands are tiny glands not easy to detect or feel. They are located in the labial folds just near the vaginal opening. Their main function is to keep the vaginal area moist and lubricated especially during intercourse. The glands secrete serous fluid for this reason. Bartholin cyst occurs when the tube that connects the gland to its opening gets blocked. As a result the gland enlarges in size with mucus filled fluid. At least 2-3% of women are known to suffer from Bartholin cyst. It is more common in young women than older females.
Besides bartholin gland, there are other glands such as skene gland, and other tiny glands that secrete mucus to keep the vagina clean. The free flow of mucus ensures that no infectious material is left inside the vagina. It also ensures well lubrication during sexual arousal. Blockage in any of these glands can develop into a cyst, which can be given a common name as vulvar cyst.
The reason for blockage of glands around the vulva remains still a mystery. Research suggests that changes in body hormones may change the fluid chemistry of the gland resulting into its blockage. The other more valid reason put forth by researchers is infection of the genital tract, especially sexually transmitted disease are responsible for formation of cyst and abscess of the vulvar glands. Finally, women who are not sexually active may develop vulvar cyst as a result of lack of regular blood circulation since there is no stimulation in the area.
Symptoms Of Cysts In Vulvar Area
Most often the vulvar cysts are asymptomatic. This means there is no symptom and the patient is unaware that she has bartholin cyst or any other cyst in vulvar area. It is only when the cyst enlarges in size it can be palpated, especially the bartholin cyst. Often an enlarged cyst may be a reason of discomfort while a woman sits or walks. It can be a cause of hindrance during a sexual act. It can also cause pain during an intercourse. Usually bartholin cyst is unilateral. Meaning only one side of vulva is affected.
A cyst resulting from skene gland when enlarges in size can cause pain during sexual intercourse. Since the skene gland is located around the urethral opening, a large sized skene cyst can block the urine flow. In such case, there may be difficulty while passing first urine. Dribbling of urine is often complained of. If it triggers urinary tract infection there may be burning and frequent urination.
A cyst when becomes infected and forms an abscess it can cause unbearable pain in the vaginal area.
Home Remedies For Cysts On The Vulva
Once the doctor diagnoses a vulvar cyst, usually he may advice conservative treatment or its surgical removal. It depends on the severity of the cysts and its symptoms. If the cyst is not painful and if it is small in size it can be treated at home. Sit in a tub filled with warm water for 15 minutes at least 3 times in a day.
In most cases the cyst may disappear on its own within two to three weeks. During this period it is necessary to maintain good hygiene around the genital area. Keep the area well cleaned and dry. This ensures there is no development of infection at the site. Simultaneously he may also prescribe a course of antibiotics if there is an abscess.
A large and painful cyst which is a cause of hindrance in daily life or if there is formation of vulvar abscess, surgical removal of the cyst is the preferred option. This procedure is obviously painful and expensive. It has to be performed in a hospital.
During the time of treatment, the woman should avoid sexual contact as it may aggravate the condition. The risk of developing infection is greater during this period.