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Bartholin’s gland


Jan 19, 2022

The Bartholin’s glands (named after Thomas Bartholin; also called Bartholin glands or greater vestibular glands) are two pea sized compound alveolar glands[2] located slightly posterior and to the left and right of the opening of the vagina. They secrete mucus to lubricate the vagina and are homologous to bulbourethral glands in males. However, while Bartholin’s glands are located in the superficial perineal pouch in females, bulbourethral glands are located in the deep perineal pouch in males. Their duct length is 1.5 to 2.0 cm and they open into navicular fossa.[2] The ducts are paired and they open on the surface of the vulva.

Mucous glands located near the introitus of the vagina
Bartholin’s gland

Female genital organs with Bartholin’s gland circled
Precursor Urogenital sinus
Artery external pudendal artery[1]
Nerve ilioinguinal nerve[1]
Lymph superficial inguinal lymph nodes
Latin glandula vestibularis major
MeSH D001472
TA98 A09.2.01.016
TA2 3563
FMA 9598
Anatomical terminology

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De ovariis mulierum et generationis historia epistola anatomica, 1678

Bartholin’s glands were first described in the 17th century by the Danish anatomist Caspar Bartholin the Younger (1655–1738).[3][4] Some sources mistakenly ascribe their discovery to his grandfather, theologian and anatomist Caspar Bartholin the Elder (1585–1629).[5]

Bartholin’s glands secrete mucus to provide vaginal lubrication during sexual arousal.[4][6][7] The fluid may slightly moisten the labial opening of the vagina, serving to make contact with this sensitive area more comfortable.[8] Fluid from the Bartholin’s glands is combined with other vaginal secretions as a “lubrication fluid” in the amount of about 6 grams per day, and contains high potassium and low sodium concentrations relative to blood plasma, with a slightly acidicpH of 4.7.[9]

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