BartholinÂ’s glands in the vulva (female external genitalia) close to the vaginal entrance secrete lubricating moisture during sexual arousal. Blockage of glandÂ’s opening, by dirt or a plug of mucus, traps the internal fluid and the affected gland swells, forming a cyst.
Bartholin’s glands in the vulva (female external genitalia) close to the vaginal entrance secrete lubricating moisture during sexual arousal. Blockage of gland’s opening, by dirt or a plug of mucus, traps the internal fluid and the affected gland swells, forming a cyst. Harmful bacteria can then multiply and thrive within the gland, creating pus and a painful abscess. Often the abscess appears quickly over several days and become very hot and swollen. Activity that puts pressure on the vulva, and walking and sitting, may cause excruciating pain.
- Throbbing, burning pain on one side of the vulva
- May feel hot, achy and unwell
- Swelling felt near vagina
- Painful to sit down, defecate, etc.
Recommendations include a wholefood diet, regular exercise, hydrotherapy in the form of cool or warm herbal or aromatherapy douches and baths. Exercises that increases physical fitness and contributes to healthy vulval glands, such as swimming is especially helpful.
A standard wholefood diet with plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration will be recommended. Fresh fruit and vegetables contain many of the antioxidants required to boost the immune system against infection. Specific dietary supplements include beta-carotene, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C with bioflavonoids and E with selenium; also zinc.
Burdock root has powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and immune-boosting properties, and preparations in tablet form are often prescribed where infection threatens, as a blood cleanser and general detoxifier. In Europe, compresses are made using freshly crushed chervil and/or parsley, and applied to many different types of abscess.
Add a few drops of any of these oils to your bathwater, or apply a little to the abscess, using a clean cotton bud; tea tree, chamomile, clary sage, rosemary, Baume de Perou, or patchouli. To draw a Bartholin’s abscess to a head, make a warm oatmeal poultice with a few drops of lavender, patchouli, tea tree or thuja essence and apply to painful swelling for 20 minutes or so, twice daily if necessary.
Antibiotics are prescribed to prevent or treat a Bartholin’s abscess. Sometimes, an enlarged, very painful abscess needs to be opened and drained under local anaesthetic.
- Wash vulva thoroughly twice daily.
- Avoid tight-fitting underwear and jeans, which encourage bacterial infection.
- Wear loose, cool cotton pants and skirts
- Seek medical help – an untreated abscess can lead to blood poisoning (septicaemia).
- Throbbing, hot pain in the genital region always requires medical investigation.
- Flu-like symptoms (temperature, lethargy, feeling unwell) commonly accompany this condition.