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Bartholin's gland (Caspar Bartholin The Younger)

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Two bean-sized tubuloalveolar glands situated one in each lateral wall of the vastibulum vaginae, in the lower third of the large labias, near the vaginal opening at the base of the labia majora. They secrete a mucous lubricating substance during sexual stimulation in females. They are oval in shape, and each is about 1,5-2,0 cm in length. Bartholin’s glands are the equivalent of Cowper’s glands – the bulbourethtral glands – i males. In rare cases, these glands form either abscesses or cysts.

Bartholin’s glands have often mistakenly been ascribed to Caspar Bartholin’s grandfather, the theologian and anatomist Caspar Bartholin the Elder (1585-1629).


  • C. Bartholin:
    De ovariis mulierum et generationis historia. Epistola anatomica.
    Paolo Moneta, Rome, 1677. Page 21 ff.
    The second edition of this book was published in 1678 by H. Wetsten in Amsterdam.
  • W. Cowper:
    Glandularum quarumdam nuper detectarum, ductuumque earum excretoriorum descriptioni. London, 1702.
We thank Claudia Scharting for information submitted.

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