What is the Bartholin's gland?
The Bartholin's gland is a tiny organ on each of the labia (vaginal lips), near the opening of the vagina. If the vagina were the face of a clock, these glands would be found at about 4 and 8 o'clock. Normally they are invisible. They make a small amount of fluid that lubricates the vaginal lips. If a flap of skin grows over the opening of one of the glands, the fluid backs up. It causes a round swelling called a cyst (say: "sis-st"). The cyst can grow from the size of a penny to larger than an orange, although most don't get bigger than a golf ball. Cysts can be tender.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff