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Bartholin cyst epsom salt: Bartholin Gland Cysts | Awarded Best OBGYN by Los Angeles…

Bartholin Gland Cysts | Awarded Best OBGYN by Los Angeles…

What are Bartholin Gland Cysts?

The Bartholin’s glands are two tiny glands that are located on each side of the vaginal opening. They’re about the size of a pea. Bartholin’s glands produce the fluids that lubricate the thin skin of the vulva – the outer opening of the vagina. The fluid is secreted by Bartholin ducts, which are two tiny tubes opening near the vagina.

Occasionally, mucus, swelling, or infection can block the Bartholin’s ducts, causing a Bartholin’s gland cyst. A Bartholin’s cyst may grow gradually, and range in size from a few millimeters to a centimeter in diameter.

Many of Bartholin’s cysts are painless and will resolve on their own. However, some may cause discomfort, and in some cases, can become infected. An infected Bartholin’s cyst is known as a gland abscess and must be treated right away.

Bartholin’s abscesses can be caused by any of a number of bacteria. These include organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea as well as bacteria normally found in the intestinal tract, such as Escherichia coli. It is common for these abscesses to involve more than one type of organism.

Symptoms of Bartholin Gland Cysts

Bartholin’s cysts that are not infected will sometimes have no symptoms at all. But some common symptoms include:

  • Small, painless bump or a lump under the vulvar skin
  • Swelling or redness
  • Discomfort while sitting, walking, or during sexual intercourse

An infected cyst, also known as an abscess, will present with more severe symptoms, such as:

  • Swelling, redness, and tenderness in the vulva
  • Pain that worsens with time, making it difficult to sit or walk
  • Fluid draining from the cyst
  • Fever or chills

Treating Bartholin Gland Cysts

Non-infected cysts

Sometimes self-care home treatment is all you need. Although many times these cysts will go away on their own, they may be uncomfortable to deal with. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc), can help with the discomfort. Avoid sex until the cyst has healed.

You can help the cyst heal by soaking in inches of warm water bath, with or without Epsom salt. You can use your regular tub or a sitz bath, which is a basin you can place over your toilet seat and use to soak the genitals. These can be purchased at a pharmacy or medical supply store.

Some women find that the application of tea tree oil or witch hazel can help draw the cyst out.

Infected cysts (abscesses)

If you have an infected Bartholin’s gland cyst, you should make an appointment with your health care doctor. Sometimes, a Bartholin cyst can become infected due to underlying sexually transmitted infections, which would require treatment.

An infected cyst may rupture on its own and heal within 3-4 days. However, you may also need it drained by your OB-GYN. In addition, you may need to take antibiotics to fight the infection.

To prevent the cyst from reoccurring, your doctor may recommend:

  • Drainage tube/balloon. A small tube and balloon can be inserted into the cyst to keep it from clogging up again. The balloon should be removed after the area has healed.
  • Carbon dioxide laser treatment
  • Silver nitrate application
  • Surgery. A persistent cyst that keeps coming back might need to be treated with surgery. Your doctor can surgically remove the Bartholin gland and duct to prevent future infections.
  • Marsupialization. Doctors make a small cut in the cyst and stitch the inside edges of the cyst to the surface of the vulva. This procedure is done in an outpatient operating room. This is when the surgeon creates a pouch over the cyst by making an incision and then pursing the corners together with stitches, allowing the cyst an opening to drain. Sometimes a local anesthetic is needed.

If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of, or suffering from Bartholin’s Gland Cysts, or have questions about it, please see your doctor.


If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of, or suffering from Bartholin Gland Cysts, or have questions about it, please see your doctor.

We also invite you to establish care with Dr. Aliabadi. Please click here to make an appointment or call us at (844) 863- 6700.

Highly-trained and honored by the medical community, Dr. Thais Aliabadi is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a Diplomat of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She implements the most advanced, state-of-the-art technology and treatment options. Dr. Aliabadi specializes in up-to-date, minimally invasive surgical techniques, promising her patients shorter recovery times, reduced pain, and the least interruption to their daily lives.

Supported by her warm professional team, Dr. Aliabadi treats women through all phases of life and cherishes the special one-on-one relationship between patient and doctor.

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Bartholin’s Cysts – The Rarely Discussed Nightmare

Now, ladies, this may well put you off your cornflakes but I think it needs talking about. If you have ever experienced the misery of Bartholin’s Cysts which then become Bartholin’s abscesses, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Yes – this is one of those delightful gynaecological problems that can appear out of the blue and cause recurrent misery for years.

The Bartholin Glands are two pea-sized glands located slightly posterior and to the left and right of the opening of the vagina. Their function is to secrete mucus to lubricate the vagina. This lubrication may help make sex a little more comfortable for women.

Sometimes, however, these glands can become blocked which results in the formation of a Bartholin’s Cyst.  These cysts can grow in size so that it is actually painful to sit or walk.

Believe it or not, many women don’t even know that these glands exist.  And many cysts are not diagnosed until an examination such as a smear is carried out by a medical professional.  You can have a Bartholin’s cyst for years without it causing you too many problems.

If, however, infection occurs, the result is an incredibly painful Bartholin’s abscess which may require drainage or surgery to get rid of it.

Nobody seems to be entirely sure what causes these cysts – the usual suspects are all there, stress, poor hygiene, bad diet, STIs and, rarely vulval cancer.  For this reason, if you think you may have one you MUST go to your GP to get it checked out.

The peak age for getting these delightful swines is between 20-30 and in theory, once you reach menopause the Bartholin’s Glands are supposed to shrink so that you no longer suffer this problem. Great in theory but since I’m 51, rubbish in practice.

I had an abscess about 10 years ago and have a small Bartholin’s cyst at present so believe me I am speaking from experience here.

Treating a Bartholin’s Cyst

Usually, the first course of action to treat a possibly infected cyst is a course of antibiotics. In my experience this is a rather hit and miss method of treatment and, if the antibiotics cure the problem, there is no guarantee that it will not reappear.

Sitz Baths

At this stage, the home treatment advice tends to be to take over-the-counter painkillers and to take a sitz bath 3-4 times a day.

A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath that cleanses the vulval area and can be used for everyday personal hygiene. It can also provide relief from pain or itching in the genital area.

You can give yourself a sitz bath in your bathtub or with a plastic kit that fits over your toilet.

Surgical Options

If an abscess does develop, the methods of treatment are usually drainage by the insertion of a Word catheter or, as I had done, marsupialization.

Marsupialization is the surgical technique of cutting a slit into an abscess or cyst and suturing the edges of the slit to form a continuous surface from the exterior surface to the interior surface of the cyst or abscess – in other words, creating a pouch which allows drainage.

My marsupialization was done as a day surgery appointment and the recovery time was quoted as being 2 weeks.  At least 6 weeks was closer to the mark and, what I was not told at the time, some sensitivity remains due to the scar tissue left behind.

Fear of surgery, particularly ‘down below’ leads many women to seek home cures and there are many sites which discuss the methods which have worked for them.

‘Home Cures’

These are some suggestions but please note that their success is anecdotal and reported on various forum boards.

The Homoeopathic Remedy Silicea 30C

Dose – 5 pellets under the tongue 2 or 3 times a day.

Information on the Wisegeek.org website tells us that:-

“Silicea is derived from flint or quartz and is an abundant mineral naturally found in the Earth’s crust. Part of the structural makeup of bone and cartilage, the remedy is present in humans as a trace element. It can be found in connective tissues as well as hair, skin, and nails.

People who use this mineral believe that its cleansing effects make it particularly useful in treating dry skin, nails, or hair. This mineral is sometimes used to improve acne, blemishes, ulcers, boils, inflammation, or generally sickly skin. Infections from abscesses, skin eruptions, glass shards, and splinters may also be treated with it. Some people also use it in hopes of preventing hair loss and dandruff, and to reduce scar tissue visibility.” 

I am currently trying this cure at the moment which I found here.

Silica Complex

Now there is a great deal of confusion on the boards about whether the best cure is Silicea 30c (the homoeopathic remedy) or Silica Complex.  An example of what I mean is HERE and, confusingly, HERE.

Silica Complex is a dietary supplement which usually takes its Silica from Horsetail Extract and is combined with other vitamins and minerals.

These are the kind of tablets referred to.

These are usually taken to help improve the quality of skin, hair and nails.  This particular tablet contains calcium, magnesium and zinc as well as the Horsetail extract.

Sitz Baths With Epsom Salts

As described above but with the addition of Epsom salts, also recommended for post-partum pain and haemorrhoids.  You can find a recipe HERE

You can also buy a sitz bath which is simply placed over the bowl of the toilet and filled so that you don’t have to undress to have a full bath each time.

Phoebe’s Cure

Hands up, I don’t know who Phoebe is but her ‘cure’ for Bartholin’s cysts is much talked about on the health boards. In fact, some sufferers claim it is a home remedy for Bartholin Cysts that actually works and is a great way to burst a Bartholin Cyst at home. If you want to try it for yourself, it is is simply this:-

You’ll need:

6oz calamine lotion
1 teaspoon Tea Tree oil
1 teaspoon Witch Hazel
Roll of gauze

Note:  if your cyst is very large and painful you might want to try 2 teaspoons of Tea Tree and 2 teaspoons of Witch Hazel.

What to do:

Start off with a sitz bath with Epsom Salts and immerse your cyst for about 20 minutes.

Next, soak a gauze pad in the Phoebe’s Cure solution and press against the cyst for about 30 minutes. If you need to move about you could try keeping it in place by keeping your underwear on.

Don’t forget, if you are in pain it is OK to take a painkiller but do not take more than the recommended dosage on the back of the packet.

If the cyst has not burst, swap the pad for a hot compress for about 10 minutes – for example a hot water bottle carefully wrapped in a towel.

Prepare another gauze pad and reapply.

Repeat the cycle of gauze pad / hot compress until the cyst bursts.  There may be a lot of pus and you might need to gently squeeze the cyst to get it out.

Now whilst this may well burst a cyst or abscess (sufferers seem to use the two terms interchangeably), you may still be left with a lump and if your cyst has abscessed and you feel in any way unwell, you should still see a doctor.

I would suggest Phoebe’s Cure is best used for immediate relief when you cannot stand the pain from your Bartholin’s Cyst any more but that will not mean that all infection has gone or that there will be no lump or scarring.


Dose: 2 a day on an empty tummy. I found mine on Amazon.

Serrapeptase is derived from the Silk Worm and is claimed to help eliminate inflammatory oedema and swelling by breaking down abnormal fluids and protein and by promoting the absorption of these decomposed products through blood and lymphatic vessels. It could also break down and liquefy mucus secretions and fibrin clots and help antibiotics to focus on infection.

There seems, however, to be insufficient clinical evidence to prove its efficacy in reducing Bartholin’s cysts.

Please see my post on Bartholin Cyst Home Remedies for more ideas.

Finally, you might be interested in a book you can download for Kindle entitled Bartholin Cyst Miracle Method.

The book promises to help us learn how many women have cured their Bartholin’s cysts and exactly what they did to treat them in the privacy of their own homes with no doctors or painful surgery. It promises to “reveal the exact method now used by countless women to get rid of their Bartholin’s cysts for good”.

Obviously, I am not a doctor and the first course of action, if you suspect that you have a Bartholin’s cyst, is to see your GP.

It would be remiss of me to suggest that you go off gung-ho and try these without prior discussion with your healthcare provider.

But let’s live in the real world, shall we?

If the provision of gynaecological services were better in the UK and if doctors were a little more sympathetic to problems like this, then the health boards of various forums would be a lot less busy.

The number one response of GPs to any gynae problem seems to be a combination of antibiotics and Canesten.

Women know their own bodies better than any GP but this knowledge does not help them to make themselves heard when it matters most.

I will continue with my antibiotics and Silicea 30c.  I will try sitz baths and add a silica complex supplement to my diet.

Since I had my marsupialization I have had no further problem on that side (right), other than frequent irritation from the scar tissue.  I hope that I don’t have to go through the whole process again on the left!

Bartholin’s cysts and abscesses are incredibly frustrating because there is a reluctance to treat them until the level of discomfort and/or infection is intolerable to the sufferer.

Is it any wonder that many of us, at least those of us who are brave enough to talk about it, are desperately seeking our own cure and would prefer to trust the anecdotal evidence of other women than our overstretched NHS.

Please see your GP before trying any of the supplements listed above.


Try These Natural Home Remedies For Bartholin’s Cyst Relief

Bartholin’s Cysts Affect Your Mental Health

Update 2018

Since this post was first published in 2016 I have had no further reoccurrences of Bartholin’s Cysts.  If I have a ‘twinge’, I rely on the homoeopathic remedy Silicea 30c and Serrapeptase tablets and if that hasn’t settled matters, go back to my GP for a course of antibiotics.  The marsupialization of my abscess did, for all intents and purposes, work.

Update 2019

I am now under the care of a women’s health physio and I cannot recommend her highly enough.  Prior to reading Me & My Menopausal Vagina by the marvellous Jane Lewis, I did not even know this type of physio existed.

Basically, a women’s health physio treats all disorders affecting the pelvis and pelvic floor. So this would include things such as incontinence, prolapse, pelvic pain and constipation.  There is growing evidence that physiotherapy can alleviate and in many cases cure the symptoms of these.

Why is this important you may wonder?

Because I receive a thorough internal examination by someone who is far more experienced in recognising things like Bartholin’s Cysts and abscesses – and more interested in helping resolve them.

I pay to see her privately and of course, I appreciate that not everyone has the funds to do this, but for years I have had a Simply Health Cash Plan which allows you to claim for the first couple of sessions on your policy.  This is enough to gauge whether you think a women’s health physio will be helpful to you.

Note that you will be examined internally (but discretely and with utmost care) but all the vaginal symptoms you have been wondering about can be diagnosed – for example, vaginal atrophy and lichen sclerosis.

Thanks to my physio (Gilliam McCabe in Cardiff), I have now been re-referred to the gynae department of our local hospital to have my vaginal atrophy examined.  However, were a Bartholin’s Cyst to be diagnosed, I am sure that your chances of seeing a specialist would be dramatically increased by a letter from your women’s health physio.

Earlier this year the gland on the right side appeared to be swollen slightly and it looks as if I was about to get another Bartholin’s cyst.  I was advised to see the GP and received a course of antibiotics which appeared to calm the gland down again.

Thankfully the ‘twinge’ seems to have gone but I have learned that related health conditions seem to affect what goes on down below in general.

One of these is constipation so I have upped my water intake by buying one of those water bottles with a built-in straw which gives you set amounts to drink every two hours. I have also just invested in psyllium husk capsules to soften the stool and also a squatty potty so that evacuation is done in the correct posture.

Stress also seems to play a part in blocking the glands so I would recommend a book on mindful thinking or meditation.

Sleep is vital for coping with these evil little buggers so my recent investments have included new earplugs and a sleep mask which blocks out early morning sunshine.  I am trying to get myself to go to bed earlier but I’m still working on it!

I also use lubricants by Yes.org on a regular basis, their water-based and oil-based lubricants and also their vaginal moisturiser.  I have now been prescribed Ovestin estrogen cream to use twice a week (or as and when as the amount of ‘HRT’ contained in the cream is minuscule.

All of this is important because for years, many of us ignore our vaginas and don’t consider that we need a routine to care for them as we do for any other part of the body.

If you suffer from Bartholin’s cysts, you need to get to know your body to manage the condition. You may find that you start to recognise when the glands are getting blocked (for example it may hurt when you become aroused).  If you know what you are dealing with, it takes a little of the fear away and you are better able to tell your doctor (not ask!) what you need.

The reassurance I get from visiting a women’s health physio is worth her fee a hundred times over.

Self-treatment can and does sometimes work but at any sign of an infection which makes you feel ill, then you must see a doctor.

What has become clear, since writing this post, is that many women are suffering from a Bartholin’s Cyst and yet there doesn’t seem to be any treatment other than antibiotics, catheters or marsupialisation.

Time for a lot more research to be done – don’t you think?

As ever I am happy to answer any questions you may have and if I can’t answer them then I’ll try to find someone who can.

And remember, you are not alone – and I do understand how utterly miserable Bartholin’s Cysts can make you feel and how painful a Bartholin’s Abscess can be.

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Bartholin’s cyst – Diagnosis and treatment


To diagnose a Bartholin’s cyst, your doctor may:

  • Ask questions about your medical history
  • Perform a pelvic exam
  • Take a sample of secretions from your vagina or cervix to test for a sexually transmitted infection
  • Recommend a test of the mass (biopsy) to check for cancerous cells if you’re postmenopausal or over 40

If cancer is a concern, your doctor may refer you to a gynecologist who specializes in cancers of the female reproductive system.


Often a Bartholin’s cyst requires no treatment — especially if the cyst causes no signs or symptoms. When needed, treatment depends on the size of the cyst, your discomfort level and whether it’s infected, which can result in an abscess.

Treatment options your doctor may recommend include:

  • Sitz baths. Soaking in a tub filled with a few inches of warm water (sitz bath) several times a day for three or four days may help a small, infected cyst to rupture and drain on its own.
  • Surgical drainage. You may need surgery to drain a cyst that’s infected or very large. Drainage of a cyst can be done using local anesthesia or sedation.

    For the procedure, your doctor makes a small incision in the cyst, allows it to drain, and then places a small rubber tube (catheter) in the incision. The catheter stays in place for up to six weeks to keep the incision open and allow complete drainage.

  • Antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic if your cyst is infected or if testing reveals that you have a sexually transmitted infection. But if the abscess is drained properly, you may not need antibiotics.
  • Marsupialization. If cysts recur or bother you, a marsupialization (mahr-soo-pee-ul-ih-ZAY-shun) procedure may help. Your doctor places stitches on each side of a drainage incision to create a permanent opening less than 1/4-inch (about 6-millimeter) long. An inserted catheter may be placed to promote drainage for a few days after the procedure and to help prevent recurrence.

Rarely, for persistent cysts that aren’t effectively treated by the above procedures, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the Bartholin’s gland. Surgical removal is usually done in a hospital under general anesthesia. Surgical removal of the gland carries a greater risk of bleeding or complications after the procedure.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Daily soaking in warm water, several times a day, may be adequate to resolve an infected Bartholin’s cyst or abscess.

After a surgical procedure to treat an infected cyst or abscess, soaking in warm water is particularly important. Sitz baths help to keep the area clean, ease discomfort and promote effective drainage of the cyst. Pain relievers also may be helpful.

Preparing for your appointment

Your first appointment will likely be with either your primary care provider or a doctor who specializes in conditions that affect women (gynecologist).

What you can do

To prepare for your appointment:

  • Write down your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to your condition.
  • Make a list of any medications, vitamins or supplements that you take along with the dosages.
  • Take a notebook or notepad with you to write down information during your visit.
  • Prepare questions to ask your doctor, listing the most important questions first to be sure you cover them.

For a Bartholin’s cyst, some basic questions to ask include:

  • What’s likely causing my symptoms?
  • What kind of tests might I need?
  • Will the cyst go away on its own, or will I need treatment?
  • How long should I wait after treatment before having sex?
  • What self-care measures might help relieve my symptoms?
  • Will the cyst come back again?
  • Do you have any printed material or brochures I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?

Don’t hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment as they occur to you.

What to expect from your doctor

Some potential questions your doctor might ask include:

  • How long have you had symptoms?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Do you experience pain during sex?
  • Do you experience pain during normal daily activities?
  • Does anything improve your symptoms?
  • Does anything make your symptoms worse?

Aug. 07, 2020

Bartholin’s cyst and abscess treatment

Options of treatment:

The goal of any treatment is to make a new opening near the original one, so that lubricating fluid can keep the area healthy and make sex easier. This is the lubrication that is secreted when you are aroused.

Never allow a physician to make the opening over the most prominent area of the cyst or abscess if it is not right next to the hymen ridge, on the inside of your inner lips! This mistake, which is common, can result in the new opening being on the outside, so whenever you get aroused, the lubricating fluid runs down your thigh, rather than at your vaginal opening, where it is needed for lubrication during sex.

A few options and our comments:

Word Catheter: This is the best treatment. A small 6 cm long tube with a tiny balloon on one end is used. (See the photo and diagram below). Once we have opened the abscess or cyst, we put the catheter tube into the opening to make sure that the skin does not close again. This is very successful. (80 – 90%). At Meridia, we use a LASER to make the opening, and our success rates are excellent using this method.

Antibiotics: Using antibiotics for the abscess is not recommended because it is unlikely to work. For antibiotics to work there needs to be a good blood supply to the infection to kill the bugs. An abscess does not have a good blood supply. At Meridia Gynecology, we generally do not use antibiotics unless there is a complicated situation and surrounding skin infection.

Incision and Drainage: This is simply opening the abscess or cyst and letting it drain. This works immediately, but unfortunately, this form of treatment has a high chance of the abscess / cyst coming back as soon as the opening closes again.

Marsupilization: This is an old, standard treatment that makes a large opening and then sutures the inside edges of the duct to the skin to keep it open. The results of this method and the Word Catheter are the same. At Meridia Gynecology, we rarely use this method because it is unnecessary, causes a lot of discomfort and heals slowly. There are times when we need to do it, but those are very rare.

Bartholin Cyst – What You Need to Know

This material must not be used for commercial purposes, or in any hospital or medical facility. Failure to comply may result in legal action.


What is a Bartholin cyst?

A Bartholin cyst is a lump near the opening to your vagina. You may have pain in this area when you walk or have sex. A Bartholin cyst is caused by blockage of your Bartholin gland. You have a Bartholin gland on each side of your vagina. The glands produce fluid to moisten your vagina. Over time the fluid can build up in the gland and form a cyst. The cyst may become infected. You may be at risk for a Bartholin cyst if you have a sexually transmitted infection. An injury or surgery near your vagina may also increase you risk.

How is a Bartholin cyst diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will examine your vagina. A sample of fluid from your vagina may be collected. The fluid can be tested for sexually transmitted infections. Your healthcare provider may tell you how to treat your cyst at home. Instead, you may need any of the following:

  • Medicine may be given to treat or prevent an infection. Medicine may also be given to decrease pain and swelling.
  • Incision and drainage is a procedure to drain the cyst. Your healthcare provider will make an opening in the cyst so it can drain. He or she may also place packing or a drain in your wound. The drain will help keep your gland open and drain extra fluid. The packing will be removed in 24 to 48 hours. The drain may be left in place for 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Surgery may be needed if other treatments do not work. Surgery may be done to hold your gland open and prevent another blockage. Surgery may also be done to remove 1 or both of your Bartholin glands.

What can I do to care for myself if my cyst is not drained?

  • Take a sitz bath 3 to 4 times each day or as directed. A sitz bath may help relieve swelling and pain. It will also help open your Bartholin glands so they drain normally. Place a clean towel on the bottom of your bath tub. Fill your bath tub with warm water up to your hips. You can also buy a sitz bath that fits in your toilet. Sit in the water for 10 minutes.
  • Apply a warm compress to your cyst. This may relieve swelling and pain. A warm compress will also help open your Bartholin glands so they drain normally. Wet a washcloth in warm, but not hot, water. Apply the compress for 10 minutes. Repeat 4 times each day.
  • Keep the area around your vagina clean. Always wipe front to back. Shower once a day. Gently pat the area dry after a shower.

What can I do to care for myself after my cyst is drained?

  • Take a sitz bath in 24 to 48 hours or as directed. You may need to wait to take a sitz bath until after your packing is removed. A sitz bath may help relieve swelling and pain. Take a sitz bath 3 to 4 times each day for 3 days. Place a clean towel on the bottom of your bath tub. Fill your bath tub with warm water up to your hips. You can also buy a sitz bath that fits in your toilet. Sit in the water for 10 minutes.
  • Wear a sanitary pad to absorb drainage from your wound. You may have drainage for a few weeks after your cyst is drained.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if it is okay to have sex. Sex may cause your drain to fall out. It may also increase your risk for an infection.
  • Keep the area around your vagina clean. Always wipe front to back. Shower once a day. Gently pat the area dry after a shower.

When should I contact my gynecologist or healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever.
  • Your cyst gets larger or becomes more painful.
  • Your cyst returns after treatment.
  • Your drain falls out.
  • You have pus, redness, or swelling where the cyst was drained.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

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A Field Guide to the Bumps on Your Vagina and Vulva

As anyone with a vagina and vulva can tell you, sometimes the odd lump or bump can develop on your nether regions. While it’s never a good idea to panic at the first sign of some unusual lumpiness, it’s also not something you want to ignore either. There can be a number of reasons you might see changes to your genitalia over the years, and understanding the lumps and bumps on your vagina and vulva and what they might mean is important to staying healthy.

“There are many causes and many types of bumps or growths that can happen in the vulvovaginal area,” Dr. Adeeti Gupta, founder of Walk In GYN Care, explains. “Infection of the hair follicle, called folliculitis, and genital warts from HPV infection—which resemble cauliflowerlike growths,” can all cause abnormal-looking lumps she says. Skin infections or boils can also cause bumps, says Gupta, as can abscesses, which are “infectious cysts in the vulval area which can be very painful and tender.”

Bartholin’s abscess, which happens when the Bartholin’s gland gets infected, can also cause bumpy growths. Bartholin’s glands, which help lubricate the vagina, are located where the vagina meets the vulva—or at “the the junction of the vulvovaginal entrance,” she notes. “Blockage of the mouth of these glands can result in swelling and collection of fluid, which can form a cyst called Bartholin’s cyst. They can usually range anywhere from 1 to 6 centimeters.” If the Bartholin’s glands are not infected, she says, “They are painless and feel soft to touch.”

But if the Bartholin’s glands do get infected, then they become extremely painful and tender to touch, Gupta explains. In the case of infection, the cysts need to be drained by your doctor—which sometimes requires anesthesia depending on the size of the growth. She says Bartholin’s cysts can be stubborn to treat and tend to recur a lot.

Various treatment options are available for recurring cysts, and in severe cases, your doctor might perform a total removal of the Bartholin’s gland. Gupta says this is a more invasive procedure, however, and “requires a long healing time.” If you do get recurring cysts, don’t squeeze them, says Gupta—go see your gynecologist instead. Also, warm Epsom salts baths may also help Bartholin’s abscesses drain spontaneously on their own.  

Shaving your vaginal area can also cause “the development of razor bumps, which can be red and itchy,” Dr. Kecia Gaither, double board-certified OB-GYN and the director of perinatal services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, explains. Chronic ingrown hairs can happen if you shave your pubic area, and it’s important not to pick at these, says Gaither, since this can cause infections. Aloe vera gel can help with irritation, as can steroid creams prescribed by your doctor. If you do opt for shaving your pubic area, make sure to “use a moisturizing gel to soften hairs prior to shaving,” she adds.

Cancers of the vulva and vagina, though rare, can happen, and Gaither further notes that skin cancers can also cause vulvovaginal growths. “These can present as a darkened mole or raised bump that’s irregular in shape and may bleed. Any mole that presents as such needs to be evaluated by your physician,” she says.

Lumps and bumps on your vagina and vulva can be caused by any number of conditions, and many of these, while not always dangerous to your health, can be chronic or uncomfortable. Make sure not to pick at any growths, pimples or lumps, as this can cause painful infections and make things worse. If you notice any changes to your vaginal area, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor ASAP—when in doubt, go see your gynecologist as soon as you can.

Bartholin’s abscess: Causes, diagnosis, and management

When bacteria spreads to a cyst in one of the Bartholin’s glands, it can cause a buildup of pus and lead to an abscess.

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. If bacteria enter a Bartholin’s cyst, an abscess might develop.

A person will know if they have an abscess because they cause intense pain on one side of the vagina. A person might also notice a change in color and swelling in the general area. Abscesses vary in size from very small to over an inch in diameter.

Almost 1 in every 50 women will experience a Bartholin’s cyst or abscess at some time. Those of childbearing age, particularly those in their 20s, are most at risk.

In this article, we discuss the causes and symptoms of a Bartholin’s abscess. We also look at which medical treatments and home remedies can cure the abscess and ease symptoms.

A Bartholin’s abscess typically occurs when bacteria, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), enter a cyst in one of the glands. Rarely, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, are responsible.

A study of 219 women with Bartholin’s abscesses found that 43.7% of the abscesses were primarily due to E. coli.

The study also showed that almost 8% of participants had more than one type of bacteria.

Other bacteria species that play a role in abscess development include:

  • Brucella melitensis
  • Hypermucoviscous
  • Klebsiella varicola
  • Neisseria sicca
  • Pasteurella bettii
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Salmonella Panama
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus species

Abscesses tend to be very painful. People who have a Bartholin’s abscess will typically experience pain on one side of the vagina only — the side of the abscess.

Other signs and symptoms include:

  • a lump under the skin on the affected side of the vagina
  • a fever
  • pain during walking, sitting, or sex
  • swelling, and a hot sensation around the abscess

If the abscess grows big enough, it may break the skin. Medical professionals refer to this as a spontaneous rupture. When the abscess ruptures, fluid will drain out, and the person may notice a discharge from the vagina or that the pain has gone.

A doctor can diagnose a Bartholin’s abscess based on symptoms and a physical examination. During the exam, they will:

  • check for lumps in the vagina
  • measure temperature to check for fever
  • take a cervical swab to test for STIs

Rarely, Bartholin’s abscesses may suggest cancer. To rule out cancer, especially in those over 40, a doctor may carry out a biopsy. A biopsy involves taking a small tissue sample to examine under a microscope.

Most cases of Bartholin’s abscess require draining. If an abscess develops again, a doctor may recommend marsupialization. In rare cases, a surgeon may remove the glands.

Surgical drainage

Surgical drainage usually takes place at a doctor’s office or the hospital. The doctor may use a local anesthetic to numb the area or a general anesthetic to put the person to sleep.

During the procedure, the doctor makes a small opening (incision) in the abscess. Once the fluid drains out, they will place a catheter — a small rubber tube — in the opening.

The catheter stays in place for up to 6 weeks. It keeps the incision open, which allows all the fluid inside the abscess to drain out.

The doctor may remove the catheter after this time, or it may fall out by itself.


A procedure called marsupialization can help prevent recurrent Bartholin’s abscesses.

First, the doctor will make a small incision in the abscess so that it can drain. They will then use stitches at each side of the incision to create a permanent opening. The opening is typically less than a quarter-inch wide. Sometimes, the doctor may insert a catheter for a few days to speed up the drainage process.

Marsupialization is usually successful. Only 5–15% of Bartholin’s cysts come back after the procedure.

Gland removal

If abscesses still recur after marsupialization, a doctor may recommend the removal of the Bartholin’s glands. However, most doctors consider this a last resort, and it is rarely necessary.

However, if a person does require surgery, the procedure takes place in the hospital under general anesthesia. As with all surgeries, there is a risk of bleeding, infection, and other complications.


Antibiotics can kill the bacteria present in the glands. A doctor will usually 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.

Home remedies can provide relief from the symptoms of a Bartholin’s abscess, but they do not usually cure the condition.

The following home treatments may alleviate pain and swelling in the short-term:

Sitz bath

Sitz baths can ease pain and discomfort. They may also help very small abscesses to rupture and drain.

To take a sitz bath, fill a bathtub with several inches of warm water. Sit down in the water for 15 minutes.

Repeat this treatment several times daily for at least 3–4 days, or until symptoms subside or a person seeks medical treatment.

Topical treatments

According to some people, natural topical treatments can provide relief from Bartholin’s abscesses. There is no scientific evidence to support the use of these remedies.

Popular topical treatments include:

  • 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.
  • Apple cider vinegar (ACV): Typically, people who use ACV to treat a Bartholin’s abscess dilute it and apply it to the cyst with a cotton ball.

Pain medications

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can help make activities such as sitting and walking more manageable.

Options include:

  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • naproxen (Aleve)

Fever relief

Fever often accompanies a Bartholin’s abscess. To treat a mild fever at home:

  • drink plenty of fluids
  • keep the room temperature at a comfortable level
  • take ibuprofen
  • use cold compresses on the forehead

Call a doctor if body temperature exceeds 102° F or if the fever persists for more than 3 days.

Anyone who experiences symptoms of a Bartholin’s abscess should see a doctor. An untreated abscess could result in the bacteria spreading to other areas of the body. If it spreads to the blood, it can cause a potentially fatal condition called sepsis.

Seek prompt medical treatment for:

  • high or persistent fever
  • ruptured abscesses
  • severe or persistent pain

While home remedies might ease symptoms, they are unlikely to cure an abscess.

It is not always possible to prevent a Bartholin’s abscess from developing. To reduce the risk::

  • 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.

With medical treatment, a Bartholin’s abscess typically resolves quickly. Most people recover within 24 hours of surgical drainage. Most cases of recurrent abscesses go away after marsupialization. These procedures are low-risk and usually do not cause adverse long-term effects.

Sitz baths and other home remedies can alleviate symptoms in the short-term while a person is waiting to see their doctor.

Bartholin’s gland cyst

Bartholin’s gland is a paired organ located near the entrance to the vagina. The secret of the Bartholin gland moisturizes the mucous membranes and thereby reduces the risk of inflammation, penetration of infection, and the same is a natural lubricant. But when the outflow is difficult, the fluid begins to accumulate, forming first a cyst, and then an abscess of the gland.

Causes of the Bartholin gland cyst:

  • Duct trauma
  • Infection (including STDs)
  • Stricture after episiotomy
  • Non-compliance with hygiene

process localization and often do not cause any complaints.However, with significant obstruction of the duct, the cyst increases in size, and an infection joins. Swelling and painful sensations appear, aggravated by movement, the temperature may rise, discomfort and pain during intercourse may appear. At the first symptoms, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible, self-medication can aggravate the process.

Diagnosis of a cyst

During a gynecological examination, the doctor conducts a differential diagnosis between a cyst and an abscess of the Bartholin gland.Vaginal smear results also show signs of inflammation (although they are not specific). General laboratory tests may be done to determine if the cyst is infected. Ultrasound gives the most accurate picture of the nature of the process and allows you to determine the best treatment tactics.

Treatment methods

A non-inflamed cyst, as a rule, does not require treatment, but only control. However, the appearance of discomfort and other symptoms indicate the addition of an infection and require immediate treatment to prevent the development of an abscess.

Various methods of treatment can be used, which depend on the size of the cyst and the degree of violation of the integrity of the duct:

  1. Lancing of the cyst or abscess .

After the procedure, antibiotic therapy is prescribed to prevent the development of infection.

  1. Marsupialization of the cyst.

The cyst is opened and drained, and then a new duct is formed.

  1. Placement of the Word catheter. (In Ukraine, the use is not approved by the Ministry of Health.)

After emptying the cyst, a special catheter is installed for 4-6 weeks. During this time, a new duct is formed, which helps to avoid the appearance of a cyst in the future.

  1. Removal of the Bartholin gland.

With frequent relapses, complete removal of the gland may be indicated.

Timely access to a gynecologist and competent treatment provide a favorable result for a woman’s health.

Bartholin gland cyst updated: February 20, 2020 by: CL Administrator

Vaginal cyst treatment methods | Tips

Women usually have small, painless cysts that usually go away on their own (inclusive). However, if the lumps are in the form of pouches around the vulva or vagina, perhaps


Women usually have small, painless cysts that usually go away on their own (inclusive).However, if the lumps are in the form of sacs that lie around the vulva or vagina, they may be epidermal cysts. These cysts are usually painless, especially small ones. Vaginal cysts can be caused by trauma, surgery, childbirth, or unexplained. You should watch out for these cysts as they can become painful and irritating, especially during infection.


Part 1 of 2: Diagnosing and Monitoring a Cyst

  1. Consider what type of cyst your cyst is in. Most vaginal cysts are epidermal cysts. These cysts are small, painless, often spotless, and go away on their own. If you see cysts on both sides of the vaginal opening, they are most likely Bartholin gland cysts. Typically, these glands function to secrete fluid that lubricates the labia and vaginal opening, but when the glands become blocked, fluid-filled cysts form. Less common types of cysts that can develop in the vagina include:

    • Hartne tube cysts: These cysts form during fetal development and disappear after birth.Cysts that develop at a later stage need to be diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging.
    • Mueller tube cysts: These cysts develop from the structures of the fetus, usually disappear after birth, but not in some cases. These cysts are filled with mucus and can form anywhere on the vaginal wall.
  2. Watch for signs of infection. Most cysts are not uncomfortable, but you will notice some signs if they get infected.It is important to pay attention to these symptoms in order to seek medical attention quickly. Signs of infection include:

    • A lump near the opening of the vagina, painful or painful
    • Redness and swelling around the tumor
    • Discomfort when walking or sitting
    • Pain during intercourse
    • Fever
  3. Know when to see a doctor. You should call your GP or gynecologist if you have symptoms of infection or pain in a cyst.A common infection or sexually transmitted disease can cause discomfort with cysts. These cases require treatment. You should tell your doctor if a cyst recurs, even if home remedies are effective. Recurrent cysts must be treated with surgery.

    • Women over 40 with a Bartholin gland cyst require surgery to remove the cyst. Your doctor will run tests to rule out cancer, although Bartholin adenocarcinoma is extremely rare.
  4. Follow your doctor’s instructions. In addition to testing for cysts, your doctor may need treatment for an infected cyst to detect cancer. Treatment may include draining the Bartholin gland cyst with an open incision and suturing, which is removed after a few days. You may be given drainage of the cyst through a tube. Your doctor may also surgically remove the cyst if it recurs, is large, or painful.

    • Remember that most vaginal cysts do not need treatment and will go away on their own. If they don’t go away on their own, these cysts remain small and painless.
  5. Get regular pelvic examinations. If your cysts have been removed, you should have regular checkups to see if they return. In any case, a periodic gynecological examination is also required. Gynecological examinations allow early detection of cysts and cervical cancer.The American Medical Association recommends that women at moderate risk of cervical cancer have a new cervical smear and a new routine pelvic exam:

    • Age 21 to 29: Every 3 years
    • Age 30 to 65: Every 3 years (or get tested for HPV and smear every 5 years)
    • Over 65: No need to check last test ok


Part 2 of 2: Treating vaginal cysts at home

  1. Take a sitz bath. Fill the toilet with warm water. This is an object that will help you sit up and wet your genitals. Add 1-2 tablespoons of epsom salt and stir until dissolved. Sit in the bathtub 2 times a day for 10-20 minutes. Take a sitz bath for 3 to 4 days or until the cyst improves.

    • A sitz bath can be purchased at a pharmacy or medical supply store. If you don’t have a sitz bath, just fill the tub with water a few inches.
  2. Soak apple cider vinegar. Although more research is still needed, it is believed that apple cider vinegar may help reduce the size and swelling of vaginal cysts. You can mix 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in a sitz bath and soak it, or soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it to the cyst for 30 minutes twice a day until the swelling is gone.

    • Although apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy, scientists recommend not relying on vinegar as a remedy.
  3. Use a warm compress. Fill the bottle with hot water and cover with a clean cloth. Attach a water bottle to the cyst to relieve pain. You can also try using a hot compress, but remember to place a cloth between the skin and the bag. Be careful not to burn the delicate tissues of the vagina.

    • You can also soak a cotton or felt cloth in hot water, squeeze out the water and apply it to the cyst.
  4. Apply aloe mixture. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel with ¼ – ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder.Stir well until dough is formed. Apply the mixture to the cyst using a cotton ball or cotton swab. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes once a day. Don’t rinse or wipe off, just let the mixture dissolve on its own.

    • You can use tampons daily to prevent the turmeric color from staining your clothes.
    • Research has proven that turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. This will help reduce irritation caused by vaginal cysts.
  5. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Cysts usually disappear after a few days, so you may need to take pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If you still feel severe pain after taking over-the-counter pain relievers, see your doctor.

    • Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for dosage and duration of medication.
  6. Avoid irritating the cyst. Never rub a cyst, even when wiping it off. A regular bath or bath is enough to keep the cystic skin area clean.In no case should you douche, since this is not necessary, this can irritate the cyst and, in general, harm the woman’s health.

    • Because irritation of the cyst should be avoided, tampons should be used instead of tampons during menstruation.



  • Abscesses (infected cysts) are not always drained immediately. You must wait until the cyst begins to drain, that is, when the cyst hardens.If the cyst ruptures too early, the fluid will not drain and may need to be drained. If you are unable to drain, you may be prescribed an antibiotic, soaked the cyst at home, and usually come back 24 to 48 hours later for a checkup. Sometimes the cyst ruptures and is drained without intervention.


You may have heard of the sitz bath before, but do you know what it is? The name comes from the German word itzen, which means to sit.During the sitz bath, you sit


You may have heard of the sitz bath before, but do you know what it is? The name comes from the German word sitzen, which means to sit. During a sitz bath, you sit in a tub or pool of warm water to provide healing and pain relief.

There are a number of causes of your discomfort that may be causing a sitz bath, such as hemorrhoids, anal fissure, or vaginal labor (a pre-natal sitz bath recipe can be a great way to help heal from labor by offering relaxation). Experts also recommend a sitz bath for Bartholin’s cysts. The list goes on!

Using a sitz bath helps with many health problems by increasing blood flow to inflamed areas.It is therapeutic because increased blood flow can provide more oxygen, which promotes healing.

You can buy sitz bath solutions at the store, but it’s so easy to make a homemade solution. You simply combine a few key ingredients and add the mixture to the water.

What is a calico bath?

Basic definition of a sitz bath: a puddle of water in which you are sitting, only your hips and bottom are submerged in water. Common symptoms that can be addressed with this type of bath include mild pain, irritation, and / or itching.Calico baths do not need to include anything other than warm water, but it is possible to use other ingredients such as those found in this calico bath recipe.

Sitz baths can be taken using a specially designed shallow round sink that fits over the toilet seat. Looking for an alternative? It is also great to use the bathroom if it is clean.

If you are comparing a sitz bath to a regular tub, the main difference is that sitz bath instructions will direct you to use shallow tubs filled with water, or tubs that are only four inches high, as opposed to a regular tub where everything your body (without your head) is submerged in water.

How does a sitz bath work? Soaking in warm water (which sometimes contains beneficial ingredients such as Epsom salt) is known to increase blood flow, relieving unwanted symptoms such as itching, irritation and pain. One study showed significant healing using moist heat, which is exactly the same as a warm sitz bath.

When do you use a calico bath?

Common health problems known to benefit include:

  • Anal fissure (small tear in the lining of the anus)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Postpartum Perineal Pain after Vaginal Delivery
  • Prostatitis
  • Vaginal Yeast Infections

Which solution do you use for a sitz bath? It depends on what problem you are trying to solve, as different ingredients are known to help with different ailments.You can even make one sitz bath recipe with ingredients like an English salt bath or baking soda.

What to put in a calico bath

As you can see from this recipe, the mixture of salts, witch hazel and essential oils creates a very therapeutic bath that also smells nice thanks to the natural scent of the oils. Epsom Salt and Sea Salt are mineral-rich and therapeutic supplements for sitz baths just like regular baths.

What do you put in a sitz bath for hemorrhoids? Epsom salt is a great ingredient for this common health problem.According to the Cleveland Clinic, Epsom salts are beneficial along with witch hazel. Witch Hazel is quite amazing as an astringent for the skin due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Essential oils are also a great option. The ones used in this recipe are naturally anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Tea tree essential oil is a natural antiseptic that can help heal wounds and infections. Frankincense is especially known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and lavender oil has also been shown to have analgesic effects and powerful antioxidants that can be absorbed through the skin.

If you are taking a bath for a yeast infection, baking soda is the recommended ingredient to relieve vulvar / vaginal inflammation, irritation, or itching.

How to use

Using the sitz bath is really quite simple. While there are some washbasin kits that you can purchase, using the bathtub also works well and does not come with additional costs.

Before diving into the practice, there are a few things to avoid when doing sitz baths.Don’t use soaps because they can dry out your skin and make it even more irritated. Don’t rush the process. Customize your bathroom for comfort and privacy. If you need entertainment, music, candles, and more, customize them so you have everything you need to relax. If you plan to use a portable basin, avoid overfilling to avoid leakage when discarded.

Then fill the basin or tub with warm water. If you are using a bathtub, fill with water about four inches or so deep so that the water level reaches your thighs.When you have the correct sitz bath temperature, add a large spoonful of sitz bath recipe. Note: When using a basin, use half of the recipe as you have less water. Pour the mixture into a tub and swirl to make sure it is well dispersed in the water.

You can now sit in the tub or lower yourself in the seat if using the portable approach. Schedule relaxation for 15–20 minutes and add more hot water as needed to control the temperature.You can take a sitz bath two to three times a day, as needed, until you heal.

Once you’re done, get up slowly. You may feel dizzy. This is fine, but watch yourself carefully. If you have time, let the area dry. If not, use a soft, non-abrasive cloth to dry the area. If you are using a special hemorrhoid ointment or cream for hemorrhoids, this is the ideal time to use it.

Where to Buy

It is likely that your local pharmacy has shallow sinks or sitz baths that can fit over your toilet.It’s also not hard to find them on the internet these days. There are many different color options and you can even find ones that don’t contain BPA.

If you are not interested in DIY bath recipes, it will not be difficult to find bath solutions on the Internet and in stores. Look for those that contain natural ingredients that you are familiar with and avoid any solutions that contain unwanted ingredients, such as synthetic scents.

Safety Precautions

Check with your healthcare professional to ensure it is acceptable for you to use anything other than warm water.

Always make sure that your water is not too hot and that you use a clean, disinfected bathtub or bathtub basin.

Calico baths are generally safe in most cases, but if you experience unusual discomfort or irritation of any kind, discontinue use and talk to your doctor. You may feel a little dizzy when you get out of the bath, as warm water can cause your blood vessels to dilate. This is fine, but be careful.Also, make sure you are well hydrated.

Take extra care when taking a postpartum bath after childbirth. It is advisable to have someone nearby when you enter and exit the bathroom (or to and from the toilet).