If you have a small, noninfected Bartholin's cyst, you may not notice it. If the cyst grows, you might feel a lump or mass near your vaginal opening. Although a cyst is usually painless, it can be tender.

A full-blown infection of a Bartholin's cyst can occur in a matter of days. If the cyst becomes infected, you may experience:

  • A tender, painful lump near the vaginal opening
  • Discomfort while walking or sitting
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Fever

A Bartholin's cyst or abscess typically occurs on only one side of the vaginal opening.

When to see a doctor

Call your doctor if you have a painful lump near the opening of your vagina that doesn't improve after two or three days of self-care — for instance, soaking the area in warm water (sitz bath). If the pain is severe, make an appointment with your doctor right away.

Also call your doctor promptly if you find a new lump near your vaginal opening and you're older than 40. Although rare, such a lump may be a sign of a more serious problem, such as cancer.

Mar. 26, 2015

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