The Bartholin’s glands are two small, pea-shaped glands located on each side of the vaginal opening that secrete fluid to lubricate the vagina. If the glands become blocked, the fluid can become trapped, causing a cyst to form. An infected Bartholin’s cyst might cause an abscess.
A person will know if they have an abscess because they cause intense pain on one side of the vagina, along with redness and swelling in the general area. Abscesses vary in size from very small to over an inch in diameter.
Bartholin Cyst Prevention
It is not always possible to prevent a Bartholin’s abscess from developing. To reduce the risk of an infected gland:
- Use condoms to avoid STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.
- Get regular checkups to test for STIs.
- Practice good genital hygiene and only clean the outside of the vagina.
- Take probiotic supplements to support the urinary tract and vagina.
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
Bartholin Cyst Symptoms
A Bartholin cyst is commonly painless, however some people may experience some tenderness in the area.
If your vaginal cyst becomes infected, your symptoms might include:
- increased swelling
- increasing pain
- discomfort sitting
- discomfort walking
- discomfort during intercourse
Bartholin Cyst Home Treatment
1. Apple cider vinegar:
Typically, people who use Apple cider vinegar to treat an infected Bartholin’s cyst dilute it and apply it to the cyst with a cotton ball.
2. Tea tree oil:
Applying a mixture of tea tree oil and castor oil to the abscess may encourage drainage. Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial properties.
Use gauze to apply the mixture and place a hot compress on top of the gauze. Hold in place for 15 minutes.
3. Fever relief
Fever often accompanies a Bartholin’s abscess. To treat a mild fever at home:
- drink plenty of fluids
- keep room temperature at a comfortable level
- take ibuprofen
- use cold compresses on the forehead
4. Warm Water
Soaking in a few inches of warm water either in a tub or sitz bath four times a day for a few days may resolve even an infected Bartholin cyst.
Taking over the counter painkillers, such as naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), may help with discomfort.
Antibiotics can clear up any infection that is present in the glands. A doctor will typically prescribe these medications before or after surgical treatment on the Bartholin’s glands.
Antibiotics are not always necessary, especially if the abscess drains fully and does not recur.