The ducts of Bartholin's glands open bilaterally at the introitus, and can become blocked and subsequently infected. As part of the examination, the site of the glands is observed for swelling and any reports of pain by the patient are elicited (Anderson et al., 2005). Abscess formation can occur secondary to gonorrhoea or chlamydia; however, it is not always associated with a sexually transmitted organism. Bartholin's abscess should be observed for purulent discharge, and an additional swab sample obtained for microscopy culture and sensitivity (MC&S). If the abscess is non-discharging the patient will need to be referred directly to gynaecology for excision and drainage (Mitchell, 2004).
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