Bartholin Abscess: What you should know?

What is Bartholin Abscess?

The two Bartholin glands are located towards the right and left of the vaginal opening. It is a pea-sized gland that produces a mucus-like fluid to lubricate the vagina. You will feel the gland by touch when it is swollen or infected only. The glands are named after Casper Bartholin, the physician who described it for the first time.

Bartholin abscess occurs when the Bartholin glands gets infected. The fluid passes through a duct to make the vagina moist. When the duct gets infected, it will form a fluid-filled cyst, which is known as Bartholin cyst. This infection in the cyst or gland will lead to the formation of pus which is called Bartholin abscess.

As you know abscess is the formation of pus caused by infection in any part of the body. It can form in the Bartholin glands to a size of one inch in diameter. It normally occurs on one side of the vagina and can be extremely painful. It is a purely curable condition although it may relapse in future in rare cases.

You are at a higher risk of getting Bartholin abscess if you are suffering from sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia or gonorrhoea. Safe sex and proper hygiene will help to prevent infection.

Symptoms of Bartholin Abscess

Bartholin abscess or cyst occurs in one side of the vagina causing great pain while you walk, sit, or have sexual intercourse. You will have no symptoms if the cyst is small. It starts creating discomfort when it grows bigger. You may feel the lump over one side of the vaginal opening then. As the cyst gets infected and grows bigger, you will experience severe pain. The abscess will make it grow big faster, in a few hours or days. You may experience discomfort and a rise in temperature. There can be vaginal discharges as well. The vaginal opening will turn reddish and you may feel the tenderness, hotness and swelling.

How is it diagnosed?

Since the conditions show up visible symptoms, your doctor will be able to diagnose through a thorough physical examination. Samples may be taken from the vaginal area for recognising the bacteria and also to check the possibility of any sexually transmitted diseases. In very rare cases, the abscess may be hint towards the possibility of cancer.

Treatment for Bartholin Abscess

In the initial stages of Bartholin abscess you might not need treatment as it will get cured by itself. You can try home treatment methods with the instruction of the doctor. You can sit on warm water many times a day for the infection to get cured.

In later stages, you will have pain and discomfort. A course of antibiotics will help to cure the infection. If the abscess grows larger, a small surgery is recommended to drain out the pus. The doctor will make an incision in the abscess and drain out the pus using a catheter. In rare conditions, the gland itself is removed.

If the abscess repeatedly happens, the doctor may advise you marsupialisation, in which the incision will be kept opened for the drainage of the pus.