About all

Swollen gland in labia majora: What are the symptoms of swollen lymph nodes in the labia majora?

What are the symptoms of swollen lymph nodes in the labia majora?

This is an automatically translated article.

Hello doctor,
I have a swollen lymph node on the big lip of my vagina. It didn’t hurt at first, but walking and sitting back hurt. So the doctor told me that swollen lymph nodes in the vagina are a sign of disease? How is the treatment? Thank you doctor.
Anonymous customer
Answered by Master, Specialist II Phung Thi Ly – Obstetrician and Gynecologist – Obstetrics Department, Vinmec Times City International Hospital.
With the question “What is the sign of lymphadenopathy in the large labia? “, the doctor would like to answer as follows:
If you have swollen lymph nodes in your big lip, sitting with pain, you may have a Bartholin gland cyst. Bartholin’s cyst or Bartholin’s gland inflammation is a cystic lesion of the Bartholin glands. These glands are located on each side of the vulva (the outer area of ​​the vagina). The function of the Bartholin glands is to secrete fluid into the labia majora to keep it moist and lubricated during intercourse.
Sometimes the ducts become blocked, causing fluid to back up into the gland, resulting in the formation of a thin-walled, swollen, painless cyst called a Bartholin’s cyst. If the fluid in the cyst becomes infected, there is a risk of a discharge of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue (abscess) and causing pain when sitting or walking.
Severe cases of Bartholin’s cyst infection can progress in a few days. If an infection is present, the patient may experience the following symptoms:
The appearance of a painful, painful lump near the vagina; Discomfort when walking or sitting; Pain during intercourse; Ideally, you should go to the hospital soon so that the doctors can diagnose and treat you.
If you still have questions about lymph nodes in the labia majora, you can go to the hospital of Vinmec Health System for further examination and advice. Thank you for trusting and sending questions to Vinmec. Wishing you lots of health.
Best regards!

Please dial
for more information or register for an appointment HERE.
Download MyVinmec app to make appointments faster and to manage your bookings easily.


  • Are bartholin cysts dangerous?
  • What is a Bartholin cyst and is it dangerous?
  • Which gland helps to secrete mucus that lubricates the vagina?
Thông tin Bác sĩ


Sản phụ khoa

U nang Bartholin


Triệu chứng nhiễm trùng Bartholin

Nổi hạch ở môi lớn

Tuyến Bartholin

Bartholin cyst or abscess Information | Mount Sinai

Abscess – Bartholin; Infected Bartholin gland

Bartholin abscess is the buildup of pus that forms a lump (swelling) in one of the Bartholin glands. These glands are found on each side of the vaginal opening.

External structures of the female reproductive anatomy include the labium minora and majora, the vagina and the clitoris. Internal structures include the uterus, ovaries, and cervix.

Bartholin glands are found on each side of the vaginal opening. A Bartholin cyst is a buildup of fluid that occurs if the opening of the gland is blocked. A Bartholin abscess may occur if the cyst fluid becomes infected. The Bartholin cyst or abscess appears as a lump or swelling on the side of the vaginal opening.


A Bartholin abscess forms when a small opening (duct) from the gland gets blocked. Fluid in the gland builds up and may become infected. Fluid may build up over many years before an abscess occurs.

Often the abscess appears quickly over several days. The area will become very hot and swollen. Activity that puts pressure on the vulva, and walking and sitting, may cause severe pain.


Symptoms may include:

  • A tender lump on either side of the vaginal opening
  • Swelling and redness
  • Pain with sitting or walking
  • Fever, in people with low immunity
  • Pain with sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal pressure

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will do a pelvic exam. The Bartholin gland will be enlarged and tender. In rare cases, a biopsy may be suggested in older women to look for a tumor.

Any vaginal discharge or fluid drainage will be sent to a lab for testing.



Soaking in warm water 4 times a day for several days can ease the discomfort. It can also help the abscess open and drain on its own. However, the opening is often very small and closes quickly. Therefore, the abscess often returns.


A small surgical cut can completely drain the abscess. This relieves symptoms and provides the fastest recovery.

  • The procedure can be done under local anesthesia in a provider’s office.
  • A 1 to 2 cm cut is made at the site of abscess. The cavity is irrigated with normal saline. A catheter (tube) may be inserted and left in place for 4 to 6 weeks. This allows continuous drainage while the area heals. Sutures are not required.
  • You should begin soaking in warm water 1 to 2 days afterward. You cannot have sexual intercourse until the catheter is removed.

You may be asked to have antibiotics if there is pus or other signs of infection.


Women can also be treated with a minor surgery called marsupialization.

  • The procedure involves creating an elliptical opening along the cyst to help the gland drain. The abscess is removed. The provider places stitches at the edges of the cyst.
  • The procedure can sometimes be done in the clinic with medicine to numb the area. In other cases, it may need to be done in the hospital with general anesthesia so that you are asleep and pain-free.
  • You should begin soaking in warm water 1 to 2 days afterward. You cannot have sexual intercourse for 4 weeks after surgery.
  • You can use oral pain medicines after the procedure. Your provider may prescribe narcotic pain medicines if you need them.


Your provider may recommend that the glands be completely removed if abscesses keep coming back.

  • The procedure involves surgical removal of the entire cyst wall.
  • Generally performed in the hospital under general anesthesia.
  • You cannot have sexual intercourse for 4 weeks after surgery.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The chance of a full recovery is excellent. The abscesses may return in few cases.

It is important to treat any vaginal infection that is diagnosed at the same time as the abscess.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

  • You notice a painful, swollen lump on the labia near the vagina opening and it does not improve with 2 to 3 days of home treatment.
  • Pain is severe and interferes with your normal activity.
  • You have one of these cysts and develop a fever higher than 100.4°F (38°C).

Ambrose G, Berlin D. Incision and drainage. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts and Hedges’ Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 37.

Dolan MS, Hill C, Valea FA. Benign gynecologic lesions: vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, oviduct, ovary, ultrasound imaging of pelvic structures. In: Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, Lobo RA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 18.

Smith RP. Bartholin gland cyst/abscess drainage. In: Smith RP, ed. Netter’s Obstetrics and Gynecology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 251.

Tuggy ML. Bartholin cyst and abscess: word catheter insertion marsupialization. In: Fowler GC, ed. Pfenninger and Fowler’s Procedures for Primary Care. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 118.

Last reviewed on: 4/19/2022

Reviewed by: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A. D.A.M. Editorial team.

Bartholinitis – causes and types of disease

Causes of bartholinitis

Inflammation in the Bartholin gland is caused by infectious agents that enter it from the vagina or urinary tract. The causative agent of the disease can be gonococcus, Trichomonas or other microorganisms. Cases of spread of infection through the blood are known.

The entry of a pathogen into the gland does not always cause bartholinitis. The onset of the inflammatory process is provoked by various external and internal factors:

  • chronic diseases: caries, pyelonephritis, sinusitis and other sources of infection in the body;
  • weak immunity against the background of a cold, lack of vitamins, stress, pregnancy;
  • damage to the Bartholin gland as a result of surgery, abortion;
  • promiscuous and unprotected sexual intercourse, etc.

At the initial stage, inflammation of the mucous membranes occurs. The natural outflow of the secret is blocked – the secretions begin to accumulate in the gland and form a cyst. Gradually education grows. The cyst of the Bartholin’s gland is filled with purulent contents, and an abscess occurs. A woman can feel education on her own. The abscess is located on the labia, looks like a small bump, painful when pressed.

Forms and symptoms of bartholinitis

According to the severity of the course, inflammation is acute and chronic.

Acute bartholinitis begins with canaculitis. Inflammation affects only one gland, so local symptoms are one-sided. Bilateral canaculitis usually occurs when infected with gonorrhea. The patient during this period may not feel acute symptoms. Anxious signs are noticed by the doctor during the examination. Redness appears at the exit site of the gland duct. The channel itself for the discharge of the secret begins to be palpated well. When pressed, a purulent discharge appears from the gland. At the stage of canaculitis, inflammation can be stopped quickly enough. If no action is taken, the swelling will increase and block the duct. Gradually, the inflammation will move to the gland itself.

Acute bartholinitis exists in two forms:

  • true abscess. The infectious agent penetrates the body of the gland. Patients complain of severe pain that worsens with movement. Inguinal lymph nodes increase, a large edema is formed. Fever and high body temperature – up to 40 degrees are added to the signs of bartholinitis. Opening an abscess brings only temporary relief. In addition, damage to the cyst with purulent bartholinitis can lead to sepsis, so you can’t squeeze out the bump on your own – it’s life-threatening. At the first signs, it is necessary to enroll in gynecology to receive qualified assistance;
  • False abscess (formed during the progression of canaculitis). A woman with bartholinitis complains of an increase in body temperature up to 37.5 degrees, pain in the perineum. One-sided swelling appears on the labia at the location of the abscess. The focus of infection is not in the gland, but next to it. As pus accumulates, the cyst increases in size, becomes painful, and the skin turns red.

Chronic bartholinitis is a consequence of an untreated acute form. Short remissions are replaced by exacerbations. The next cycle, any infection, stress, beriberi, etc. can provoke a relapse. The chronic form is difficult to treat even when the exact cause of inflammation is established.

Subacute bartholinitis is also distinguished, but such a diagnosis is rare. The disease is characterized by the subsidence of acute symptoms and gradually turns into a chronic process.

Bartholinitis during pregnancy

Any inflammation in the female genital organs is a danger to the fetus. That is why pregnant patients should regularly come to see a gynecologist and take tests. Preventing inflammation is much easier than treating it.

During pregnancy, a natural decrease in immunity occurs. The body suppresses defense reactions so as not to reject the fetus, which is 50% genetically alien. Under such conditions, the mother’s body cannot provide a reliable barrier to infection. When it enters the genital tract, the pathogens rise up and reach the uterus. A disease such as bartholinitis threatens intrauterine infection of the fetus through the umbilical cord. Infections cause multiple mutations, interfere with the processes of organogenesis. In critical cases, we are talking about abortion.

Complications can be avoided with early registration in gynecology and timely diagnosis of inflammation. The doctor may already suspect a dangerous situation based on the results of a smear, even before the onset of symptoms. Inflammation is stopped, not allowing it to spread in the genitals. Under medical supervision, women calmly carry the pregnancy to natural childbirth.

Diagnosis of bartholinitis

The doctor begins by taking an anamnesis and examining the patient. Before your appointment, be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • the date of the beginning and end of the last menstruation;
  • the onset of puberty and intimate life;
  • the nature of menstruation;
  • number of pregnancies and their outcome;
  • the time of onset of the first symptoms and the rate of their increase;
  • the nature of the complaints;
  • the presence of bad habits, other provoking factors.

After collecting an anamnesis, the patient is examined on a gynecological chair. On the external genitalia, bartholinitis is visible visually. The doctor examines the abscess, takes a smear from the walls of the vagina and a sample of the secretion of the gland. The received materials are sent for laboratory research. Only after receiving the results of the tests, the doctor can confidently diagnose and prescribe treatment for bartholinitis cysts. Analyzes are then taken several more times to monitor the effectiveness of therapy.

Treatment of bartholinitis

Do not try to heal yourself! Compresses, baths, attempts to open and clean the abscess end very badly. Patients often come to the appointment after self-treatment with severe fever, extensive inflammation, which requires urgent hospitalization. Don’t risk your health. Contact your doctor in a timely manner.

In the initial stage, doctors treat bartholinitis without surgery. The patient is selected a scheme of conservative therapy, prescribed antifungal drugs, antibiotics. To normalize the intestinal microflora, you will need products with bifidobacteria and vitamins. Surgical removal of a Bartholin gland cyst is not required. To relieve swelling a little, you can apply a heating pad or any other ice container wrapped in a soft cloth to the inflamed area. For treatment, therapeutic tampons with levomecol, Vishnevsky ointment, saline applications, solutions of chlorhexidine, miramistin are also used.

After removing the exacerbation, sitz baths are prescribed with a weak solution of potassium permanganate (1 sl. L. per 1 liter of water). You can use a decoction of chamomile for the same purpose. Bath time – 20 minutes. After the condition improves, they proceed to physiotherapy.

A woman must strictly follow the doctor’s recommendations – this is the only way to prevent the complications of bartholinitis.

A true abscess requires surgery. Operations on the Bartholin’s gland are carried out by two methods:

  • Complete removal – extirpation. The doctor excised diseased tissue, removes the gland along with the focus of inflammation. After the operation, the woman goes through a period of rehabilitation with complete sexual rest;
  • Formation of a new gland duct. An incision is made in the tissues to remove the secret. The technique helps to temporarily alleviate the patient’s condition, but the risk of recurrence of bartholinitis is high. The incisions quickly overgrow, a cyst is formed again.

There are more gentle, modern methods of treating bartholinitis in gynecology. An annular catheter is installed in the body of the gland (marsupialization operation). Within 2 months, the catheter performs the functions of a natural duct and promotes secretion. Such an operation is less traumatic, the risk of recurrence is minimal. During the rehabilitation period, a woman undergoes a course of magnetotherapy, UV irradiation.

Expert opinion

Women who regularly come for examinations to the gynecologist can see such a diagnosis in the chart as an asymptomatic course of a Bartholin gland cyst. The doctor does not comment on this situation in any way, does not prescribe pills, the patient begins to worry. But there is no reason to panic. A cyst with asymptomatic treatment does not require any radical measures. Regular monitoring, proper hygiene, balanced nutrition are necessary. The female body, with sufficient support, copes with the stagnation of the secret on its own. Therefore, listen to your doctor and do not self-medicate.

Prevention of bartholinitis

To reduce the risk of inflammation, it is necessary to strengthen the immune system, observe the rules of intimate hygiene, and have sexual relations with one regular partner. It is important to treat gynecological diseases in time and at least once a year undergo a preventive examination by a doctor.

Be careful with your choice of underwear. It should be sufficiently free, elastic, made of natural fabrics. For intimate hygiene, use gels with a neutral pH, without dyes and fragrances. A healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition is the best prevention for most diseases.

The doctors of the Alfa Health Center clinic will help you cope with bartholinitis and restore your women’s health. Call us to make an appointment and find out the price of the consultation.


1. Clinical protocol for the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory diseases of the perineum, vulva, vagina. Electronic version.

2. Bartholinitis. Medical encyclopedia. Electronic version.

Bartholin’s cyst – symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Bartholin’s cyst

Bartholin’s cyst is a circumscribed, round, secretion-filled mass in the Bartholin’s gland that results from blockage of the excretory duct of the gland. Bartholin gland cysts are more often found in young women who are sexually active.

Bartholin’s glands (a large gland of the vestibule of the vagina) are located on both sides of the entrance to the vagina in the region of the labia minora. They protect the vulva and overlying structures from infections and injuries due to constant moisturizing and self-purification, and during sexual arousal and coition, they produce a viscous secret that acts as a lubricant and provides a woman with painless sexual intercourse.

The most common cause of Bartholin’s cyst is an acute infection in the vulva. Under the influence of infection, the external opening of the excretory duct closes, and its secret accumulates inside the gland, forming a cyst.

Sometimes the cause of the formation of a cyst of the large gland of the vaginal vestibule is a mechanical obstruction to the outflow of its contents during the development of fibrosis or hyperplasia of the surrounding tissues.

An uncomplicated small Bartholin’s cyst may not cause subjective sensations and may be incidentally discovered by a woman.

Symptoms appear only in case of infection of the cyst with the development of bartholinitis or purulent abscess of the Bartholin gland.

With infectious inflammation in the duct of the Bartholin gland, there are usually no bright symptoms, and the disease is quite easy to treat.

The vestibule of the vagina contains a significant number of nerve endings and a well-developed circulatory network, therefore, all acute pathological processes in this zone, including those in the Bartholin glands, are accompanied by pronounced clinical manifestations.

When an infection enters the cavity of the gland, the contents of the cyst become purulent, which can lead to the formation of an abscess of the Bartholin gland.

If the infection spreads to the entire gland, symptoms of an acute purulent process appear: fever, intoxication, sharp throbbing pain in the area of ​​the cyst. The skin in the area of ​​the abscess becomes purple and hot to the touch, the labia majora are very swollen and can block the entrance to the vagina.

Diagnosis of a Bartholin’s cyst begins with an examination of the vulva and a vaginal examination. External signs of a cyst are determined by its size. The asymmetry of the genital fissure is visualized, a one-sided increase in the labia majora due to inflammatory edema and large cysts, a rounded formation that rises above the skin of the labia majora. In the absence of inflammation, the skin over and around the cyst appears unchanged.

Treatment tactics depend on the size of the cyst and the presence of inflammatory changes in it. Small, no more than two centimeters, cysts of the Bartholin gland in the absence of complaints do not require urgent therapeutic measures.

Surgical removal of large cysts that disrupt the usual rhythm of life, as well as small cysts that cause physical and psychological discomfort to a woman.

Treatment of a glandular cyst of the vestibule complicated by an inflammatory process involves conservative antibiotic therapy and surgical removal of the cyst if it is ineffective.

In a good state of “local immunity”, uncomplicated small cysts can resolve on their own, but this scenario does not guarantee the absence of a recurrence of the disease in the future.

The prognosis of the disease is generally favorable. Timely adequate treatment and subsequent preventive measures eliminate pathological changes in the glandular tissue.

If acute inflammation in the Bartholin’s gland is not treated properly or is treated by the patient himself, it can turn into a chronic inflammatory process.

Possible complications of the Bartholin gland cyst:

— purulent-inflammatory transformation of the cyst after infection (acute bartholinitis, gland abscess)

— development chronic inflammatory process and relapses (chronic bartholinitis, cyst recurrence)

– in immunodeficiency states and diseases, the infection can enter the bloodstream (sepsis) or form fistulas – non-physiological passages between the gland and surrounding tissues.

Related articles:

Lower abdominal pain

Menstrual pain

Pelvic ultrasound


Gi sterosalpingography

Pelvic MRI


Breast ultrasound

Signs of pregnancy



Laparoscopy in gynecology

Ovarian cyst


Sexually transmitted diseases

Inflammatory diseases

Bacterial vaginosis




Human papillomavirus

Ovulatory syndrome, symptoms 9 0005


Ectopic pregnancy