What is a Bartholin’s Cyst?
A Bartholin’s cyst is a relatively common vagina complaint in women. The Bartholin’s glands are situated at either side of the opening of the vagina. The glands are responsible for secreting a fluid that lubricates the vagina.
Occasionally, these glands get obstructed resulting in fluid backing up into the glands. The result of this malfunction is a common, fairly painless swelling known as a Bartholin’s cyst.
Many women will be unaware that they have a Bartholin’s cyst and sometimes home treatments are sufficient. However, if the fluid in the cyst gets infected, pus can collect and cause an abscess to develop. If the cyst is infected, a course of antibiotics is usually prescribed.
Women with a small Bartholin’s cyst that is not infected may not even notice that they have one. However, when the cyst gets larger, you might be able to feel a lump close to the vaginal opening. Even though these cysts are typically painless, they may feel tender.
If the cyst is infected, a full infection can occur very quickly. If you have a full-blown infection, these symptoms are common:
- A painful and tender lump near the opening of your vagina. A Bartholin’s cyst usually only affects one side of a woman’s vaginal opening.
- Discomfort while you are sitting or walking.
- A fever.
- Pain while having sexual intercourse.
While the exact cause of a Bartholin’s cyst is uncertain, experts believe they are caused by a fluid backup which obstructs the gland. This may be caused by injury or infection.
When the cyst becomes infected, it can cause an abscess to form. A variety of bacteria may be responsible including E.coli, and the bacteria responsible for chlamydia, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases.
As long as the cyst is pain-free and not infected, it may well not require any treatment beyond the home remedies we will discuss later in the article. If however, you are suffering with pain or other symptoms, treatment may be required. The appropriate treatment depends on the size of your cyst, whether or not it is infected and the level of pain and discomfort you are suffering.
Treatment options include:
- Antibiotics. If the cyst is infected, a course of prescription antibiotics may be effective.
- A sitz bath. A soak in a tub containing just a few inches or so of water several times each day.
- Surgical Drainage. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to drain the fluid from a cyst especially if the cyst is especially large and infected. Drainage is usually carried out under local anesthetic.
Home Remedies for Bartholin’s Cyst
If your cyst is small, pain-free and not infected, then there are plenty of home remedies that you can try in order to treat it. If however, your symptoms do not clear up within a few days, it is important that you see a doctor for professional medical advice. The following treatments may help treat a small Bartholin’s cyst without the need for medication or surgery.
1) Sitz Bath
Doctors will often recommend a daily or several times daily sitz bath to treat a minor Bartholin’s cyst. A sitz bath can be prepared with warm water filling just a few inches of your bathtub. Simply taking a daily soak is often sufficient to resolve an infected cyst.
If you have undergone a surgical procedure to treat your cyst, a frequent soak in a sitz bath is especially important. A sitz bath can help keep the affected area clean, ease any pain and discomfort and even promote drainage of your cyst.
Probiotics are made up of healthy bacteria that is actually good for our body They can help to eliminate infection, boost immune health and balance the body’s bacteria. A probiotic supplement may improve your health in general and also help to destroy the bacteria responsible for an infected Bartholin’s cyst.
3) Apple Cider Vinegar
If you do not have apple cider vinegar at home then you are missing out on one of the most popular home remedies of the moment. Being so incredibly diverse, it is not surprising that it makes this list. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence on Bartholin’s cyst forums to suggest that it is a very effective treatment.
The most common method of using apple cider vinegar to treat a Bartholin cyst is to apply it to your cyst with a cotton ball or a cotton pad. Take a sitz bath, dry yourself thoroughly and then apply the apple cider vinegar directly to your cyst. If you find the vinegar too painful, it may be best to dilute it with water first or to stop using the treatment completely.
4) Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil has outstanding antibacterial properties and is one of the most effective and diverse of all essential oils. As with apple cider vinegar, the internet is full of anecdotal evidence from women who have successfully treated their Bartholin’s cyst with tea tree oil.
It is very important that you dilute your tea tree essential oil in a carrier oil like coconut oil before applying it to your cyst. So long as you dilute the oil, it is unlikely to cause any adverse reactions. When applied topically, it can ease discomfort and irritation and can help kill the bacteria responsible for any infection you may have.
Turmeric has excellent medicinal qualities because of the presence of its main active ingredient – curcumin. It has excellent antibacterial and antiseptic properties and when applied to your cyst can help heal the infection and relieve discomfort.
Combine some turmeric powder with enough virgin coconut oil to make a smooth paste and apply it to the cyst after you have taken a bath.
6) Vitamins C and D
Making sure that you are eating good nutritious food with plenty of vitamin C and D can help a great deal. Both of these vitamins are natural antioxidants which can help boost the immune system and fight off free radical damage. They can help to get your body in the shape necessary to fight off the bacteria that may be responsible for any infection to your cyst.
7) Alkaline Diet
Many people have had a great deal of success by following a strict alkaline diet. An alkaline diet basically involves eating loads of healthy fruit and vegetables.
Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage make up a large part of the diet. It is also important to get plenty of nutritious fruit into your diet. Try eating your vegetables raw or lightly cooked since they lose a lot of their nutritional value if they are cooked for too long.
It is effectively a vegan style diet and it important to avoid any foods that produce acid such including dairy and meats are also avoided. Try replacing your meat with something like tofu. You can also eat plenty of beans and certain nuts.
8) Other Remedies
Other potentially effective remedies that are mentioned less frequently include:
- Castor oil packs
- Epsom salts
- Coconut oil
- Silica supplements
If you are suffering from a Bartholin’s cyst then we hope that one of these remedies works for you. Please let us know whether it was successful or otherwise and let us know if you have any other effective home treatments.
Here are a list of remedies with their benefits: