Having a Bartholin Cyst is the most painful and uncomfortable thing ever. If you are suffering or have suffered from Bartholin Cysts, you know they are a real pain in the neck.
Did you know that approximately 2% of women suffer from Bartholin Cyst in their lifetime? In Women aged 35–50 years, nearly 1.21% in every 1000 women goes through this nasty canker. The risk of developing Bartholin Cysts gets high after childbirth and gets lower after menopause.
If you have developed a Bartholin cyst or abscess, do not worry, as it is a common occurrence. The Treatment of Bartholin Cyst depends on the size and if the cyst is infected or not. Sometimes home treatment can cure the abscess as well. Sometimes you may need antibiotics or a surgical drainage procedure.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Bartholin Cysts.
What are Bartholin cysts?
In 1677, Caspar Bartholin described the glands correctly, and that’s why Bartholin Cyst is named after him.
There are Glands on both sides of Vagina called Bartholin Glands. These glands help lubricate the vagina and prevent dryness by releasing fluid. Bartholin Cysts form when the Glands get blocked, and the fluid gets trapped in them, causing an abscess or cyst.
Bartholin Cyst does not affect pregnancy or fertility in any way. The size of the cyst varies from 1cm-4cm. Immediate treatment is required once a Bartholin Cyst is spotted because they can get bigger each passing day.
Causes of Bartholin cysts
When the Bartholin gland gets blocked, the fluid is not released, and it backs up into the gland. It then results in swelling, the Bartholin cysts.
Sometimes people associate Bartholin cysts with sexually transmitted diseases, but there is no significant research to prove this.
If you have a Bartholin’s gland infection or abscess, a fluid sample is sent to the laboratory to identify which bacteria caused the condition.
Bartholin Cyst Symptoms
Sometimes recognizing Bartholin cysts can be a problem, especially when it is still tiny. You may feel a little lump or swelling near the vulva region. But the Cyst can grow pretty fast, and you are likely to experience symptoms such as;
- A tender, painless or painful lump or mass near your vaginal opening
- Discomfort when walking or sitting
- Redness or swelling in the vulva area.
- Painful intercourse
Even though bacteria are associated with Bartholin cysts’ development, their exact causes are not clearly defined.
However, certain factors predispose one to the likelihood of developing a Bartholin’s cyst. This includes:
- Being sexually active.
- Having undergone vagina or vulva surgery.
- Being in the reproductive age(20–30).
- Having a history of physical vaginal trauma.
Bartholin cysts can also be associated with shaving pubic hair, but this occurs when shaving irritates and causes bumps. These bumps may grow, get infected, and at the end, become Bartholin cysts.
How to Burst a Bartholin Cyst at Home?
If a Bartholin’s cyst is small and shows less or no symptoms, treatment may not be necessary. However, doctors advise one to monitor the cyst from home and can apply home remedies like:
- Sitz bath is a shallow, warm bath you can give yourself in your bathtub or with a sitz bath kit. You can do this several times a day for three or four days. This Sitz bath is really a life-saver and helps rupture the cyst and relieve the pain instantly.
- Run a warm bath and let this cyst get soaked for 10–15 minutes in warm water. This helps burst and heal the cysts.
- Gently applying a warm compress or heating on the cyst pad will also help.
- Pain relievers: Taking pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, may help relieve a Bartholin’s cyst discomfort.
How do you treat infected Bartholin cysts?
Use of antibiotics
Antibiotics can treat Bartholin’s abscesses since pathogens cause the infection. It is necessary mainly for women with complicated cases of Bartholin abscesses and those at high risk of getting a severe infection. You can also use local or topical anesthetics such as bupivacaine and lidocaine.
For infected Bartholin cysts that keep recurring, a doctor may recommend surgery after completing antibiotics. One procedure for draining a large cyst is a balloon catheter insertion.
It takes place under local anesthetic through the following steps:
- The doctor inserts a catheter into the cyst.
- They inflate the catheter and may use stitches to keep it in place.
- The catheter remains in place for about four weeks to allow the fluid to drain.
Needle aspiration: The surgeon uses a needle to drain the cyst. Sometimes, after draining, they fill the space with a 70%-alcohol solution for a few minutes before drainage. This solution reduces the risk of reinfection by bacteria.
Marsupialization: The surgeon cuts the cyst open and drains the fluid. Then they place stitches on the edges of the skin to allow the secretions to come through. It involves steps such as:
- Making an elliptical incision just inside or just outside the hymenal ring.
- Removing an oval wedge of skin from the vulva and cyst wall.
- Breaking down loculations with the gloved finger and sewing the cyst wall to the adjacent skin using interrupted sutures.
- Packing a large cyst with ribbon gauze in flavine. The cyst is laid open and will shrink and be epithelialized over 7 to 14 days. It helps to prevent a recurrence.
Gland excision: If a person presents with recurring cysts that do not respond well to any therapies, the doctor may recommend eradicating the Bartholin’s gland.
Carbon dioxide laser: This uses a highly focused laser that creates an opening that helps drain the cyst.
It is commonly advisable to visit the doctor to prevent the spread of the infection. If your Bartholin cyst is not getting any better and the pain and discomfort are only increasing, it’s time to visit a doctor.
Bartholin cysts can keep recurring if you do not take care of your vaginal health. Having good vaginal hygiene is essential to prevent these nasties from occurring.
Here are some ways of preventing it:
- Keeping the area cleansed, being aware of your vulva region and any changes that may occur.
- After any surgery down below/trauma and even childbirth, be sure to take regular sitz baths and peri sprays/wipes to keep the area free from infection. Let your vulva area breathe by wearing cotton underwear and exposing it to the air also.
How common are Bartholin cysts?
Bartholin’s cysts are the most common cystic growth in the vulva. Two percent of women are prone to develop a Bartholin cyst or abscess at some point in life. Bartholin’s glands occur more during reproductive years by the time a woman reaches 30 years of age.
Does Bartholin Cyst Go Away on Their Own?
Bartholin cysts can burst on their own even though they can take longer to rupture without treatment. In most cases, they tend to burst and drain after four to five days. Natural rapturing can be painful, and it produces pus that can cause reinfection when mishandled.
Some cysts are small and show no symptoms, you may even fail to notice them, soaking in Ducane kunzea Essential Oil can ease the pain and assist the abscess to drain and heal. ( Soothic Amazon review’s back this up )
For cysts that are infected grow larger, cause problems, and sometimes lead to infection( abscess), an abscess requires immediate medical attention, so report to the doctor immediately you notice any change.