Bartholin cysts occur when the duct to the Bartholin gland becomes blocked. Pus and mucus build up in the vaginal wall causing a painful lump. If the cyst becomes infected, an abscess can form leading to throbbing, itching pain in the vagina walls. Medical treatment involves lancing the cyst but there are home treatment options to drain the cyst naturally. If you want to know how to get rid of Bartholin cysts, then we have you covered. Our home remedies for Bartholin cysts show you all the treatments you need for drainage at home.
Bartholin Cysts are fluid-filled cysts that form on the Bartholin’s glands (which are located to the left and right of the vaginal opening). These glands produce the mucus that lubricates the vaginal lips or labia. When the glands become blocked, the fluid-filled cysts are formed.
Bartholin cysts can often become infected or indeed may be caused by an infection and go on to form a Bartholin abscess.
What does a Bartholin cyst look like
What does a Bartholin cyst look like will depend on how developed the cyst is and where exactly the blockage to the gland occurs.
If the blockage occurs deep in the vaginal wall, the cyst will form deep in the wall, and will first appear as a large swelling that will look the same in coloration as the vaginal wall. You may notice some redness due to inflammation.
If the blockage occurs close to the surface, the build-up of mucus will stretch the surface skin and the cyst will appear translucent, similar in appearance to a large blister.
As the cyst grows, the mucus will build and pressure will force it to the surface, giving the cyst this blister-like appearance. If there is an infection, expect swelling, redness and potentially oozing pus.
Bartholin cyst symptoms
Bartholin cysts are often asymptomatic and painless. You or your gynecologist may discover a small lump during an examination.
The cysts may become larger over time or remain the same size.
On rare occasions, the cysts can become large enough to cause discomfort when you engage in sexual intercourse, walk, or insert a tampon (1).
They can cause additional pain when they become infected from a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or from the normal bacteria that grows on the skin.
If you begin experiencing large amounts of pain, it is likely that the vaginal cysts are forming an abscess (a lump filled with pus) as a result of an infection.
In most cases, Bartholin cysts do not require professional medical treatments (2). They often remain small-sized and do not cause any major problems and nor are they dangerous.
Causes of Bartholin Cyst
A Bartholin Cyst is caused by a backup of fluid due to a blockage in the Bartholin duct. The blockage can be due to infection or physical obstruction.
Bacterial causes of Bartholin Cyst
- The bacteria that are responsible for the STDs chlamydia and trichomoniasis are known to cause Bartholin cysts. However, the incidence of cysts due to these sexually transmitted diseases is very low.
- The most common bacteria that cause Bartholin cysts are E-Coli, Candida Albicans, and Streptococcus. All of these bacteria are naturally present in the vagina. Vaginal infections that cause a disturbance in these bacteria (vaginosis, yeast infections etc) can increase the incidence of Bartholin cysts.
Physical causes of Bartholin Cyst
- Studies have shown that black and white women are more prone to Bartholin cysts than Hispanic women. The genetic reason is not fully understood.
- After puberty, gradual shrinkage of the Bartholin duct and gland occurs. It is thought that this is why women during their reproductive years, particularly in their 20s, are more like to develop Bartholin cysts.
Mental causes of Bartholin Cyst
- While there is no comprehensive evidence that Bartholin cysts are caused by stress, small-scale surveys indicate a direct link. (3)
- Likewise, fatigue may also be a contributory factor
Both stress and fatigue can lower the immune system, allowing vaginal pathogens to flare up, leading to cyst formation. Similarly, the body’s basic functions, which includes breaking down pore and duct blockages, are compromised when stressed.
- Take a sitz bath
Sitz baths involve sitting in a customized bathtub filled with only a few inches of warm water.
Doctors often recommend them to patients who have just undergone childbirth, or to those plagued by hemorrhoids or an anal fissure.
It can offer relief from inflammation, irritation, soreness, and burning by promoting blood flow to the vaginal area.
Sitz baths, if regularly applied, are the best home treatment for Bartholin cysts as they help unblock the Bartholin duct and drain the cyst.
It also helps maintain good genital hygiene and avoid the possibility of an infection leading to a Bartholin abscess.
To treat Bartholin cysts with a sitz bath:
- Purchase a sitz bath and fill it with warm water.
- Add in 1-2 tablespoons of Epsom salts and allow it to dissolve.
- Then, sit in the bath for between 10-20 minutes three times every day.
To improve the effectiveness of the bath, try adding some of the Bartholin cyst remedies listed below to the water. These include Baking soda, Tea tree oil, and Witch Hazel Essence.
Repeat the process until the symptoms improve. You can also do this by filling your bathtub with only a few inches of warm water.
- Warm compress
As with the sitz bath, the purpose of a warm compress is to open up the clogged Bartholin ducts and it is one of the best home remedies for Bartholin cysts.
To treat Bartholin cysts with a warm compress:
- Soak a clean cloth in 1 cup of water mixed with a Bartholin cyst remedy (see below).
- Microwave the soaked cloth to heat it up, and place the cloth on the cyst.
- Wear some old panties to hold the cloth in place.
- Finally, place a hot water bottle or an electric heat pad on top of the compress to maintain the heat of the cloth.
Apply a hot compress for 30-60 minutes between each sitz bath. The more frequent the application, the more likely the chances of success.
- Bakin soda
Baking soda is a wonderful home remedy for Bartholin cysts. It is very versatile and can be used in combination with other remedies.
So to use baking soda to treat Bartholin cyst:
- Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda together with a few drops of cold water.
- Work the mixture into a thick paste and apply to the cyst.
- Keep the paste on your cyst for about half an hour, and then wash it off with warm water. Repeat three times a day.
Alternatively, simply add 1/2 a cup of baking soda in addition to Epsom salts in your sitz bath.
- Witch hazel
Witch hazel is a topical astringent, used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions. It is derived from the bark and leaves of North American witch-hazel shrub.
To use witch hazel for Bartholin cysts:
Grind some bark or leaves of witch hazel and add a few drops of water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the cyst.
Alternatively, add a 1/4 cup of witch hazel essence to the water mix for your warm compress.
Or simply soak some witch hazel essence on a cotton pad and apply directly to the cyst.
- Tea tree oil
Extensive research on tea tree oil has shown that this oil is an extremely effective germicide and fungicide, killing even bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
The oil has over 40 active compounds that can kill the bacterium responsible for acne, boils, cysts and associated inflammation.
Whats more, tea tree oil can help break down sebum, pus, and debris that cause Bartholin cyst blockages. The oil can penetrate the epidermis, getting to work on the infections and any blockages below the surface.
This is why it is such an effective home treatment for Bartholin cysts.
To use tea tree oil for Bartholin cysts:
- Add 10-15 drops of oil to your sitz bath
- Or add 5 drops to your warm compress water mix
- Or add the oil directly to the cyst using a cotton pad.
Be aware, tea tree oil is a mild anesthetic can help with the pain of the cysts. However, for some people, the oil may irritate and inflame the skin. Do a test on a less sensitive part of the body before application.
- Bentonite clay
Bentonite clay is an excellent way of providing treatment for your Bartholin cysts at night. The objective is to keep your treatment program as intensive as possible and for best success, this means treating the cyst while you sleep.
Bentonite clay helps draw fluid from cysts and boils. It is very effective at drying and healing a range of skin problems.
To use bentonite clay for as a home treatment for Bartholin cysts:
- Take 1 teaspoon of bentonite clay
- Add five drops of tea tree oil
- Add 1 teaspoon of witch hazel essence.
- Make a paste and apply the paste to the cyst (add more witch hazel if the paste is too thick)
- Cover with a cotton pad or maxi pad
- Wash away the next morning using the sitz bath.
- Silica Supplements
All of these minerals are critical for the healthy functioning of skin, hair, and nails and are useful for Bartholin cyst home treatment.
Armed with these minerals, the skin is more able to repair itself naturally, reabsorb cysts, heal scar tissue. It also helps to clear abscesses and expel foreign bodies including pus.
The supplement should be taken alongside your sitz bath and warm compress treatment plan.
Serrapeptase is a ‘proteolytic enzyme’. This means it is an enzyme that breaks down and metabolizes protein.
Clinical studies have shown that it is effective in reducing swelling and metabolizing scar tissues in the body. It can also digest dead tissue, blood clots, cysts, and arterial plaques (6).
This ability to digest dead tissue helps to unblock the Bartholin cyst duct and drain the cyst naturally which makes it one of the best home remedies for Bartholin cysts.
To use serrapeptase for Bartholin cysts, simply take three capsules a day between meals. The supplement should be taken alongside your sitz bath and warm compress treatment plan.
- Apple cider vinegar
A 2017 journal article in Natural Product Research observed that it demonstrated strong antibacterial activity (7).
While more research is needed to determine if apple cider vinegar is truly effective in treating Bartholin cysts, you can potentially benefit from using it to alleviate the discomfort caused by cysts and prevent infections.
You can soak a cotton ball or cotton swab with a mixture of apple cider vinegar (25%) and warm water and then apply to cyst for 30 minutes. Do this twice a day until the discomfort subsides.
- Aloe vera
It is an excellent home treatment for bartholin cysts
Apply some aloe vera gel to your Bartholin cysts. This can help alleviate discomfort, prevent infections, and reduce the risk of having the cysts mutate into cancerous cells.
Apply the gel to the cysts with a cotton swab or cotton ball, and leave it there for 20-30 minutes once a day.
Turmeric can prevent undesirable inflammatory processes and it demonstrates anti-inflammatory activity (10).
It is considered to be safer and more effective than synthetic anti-inflammatory options and makes a great Bartholin cyst home treatment.
Turmeric acts as a drawing agent and can extract the pus from the deepest cysts.
Several reports have been circulated that suggest that this home remedy for Bartholin cysts can burst the cysts naturally in as little as 1 day.
To use turmeric for Bartholin cysts:
- Mix tablespoon of turmeric powder with coconut oil to make a thick paste.
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil to the paste
- Apply the paste to the cyst and cover with a cotton pad or panty liner.
Remember to wear old undies as turmeric will stain everything yellow. Use this remedy during the day, when it is impractical to apply a warm compress or a sitz bath.
- Practice good genital hygiene by using water and plain, non-scented soap
- Maintain the strength of your immune system by consuming a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, minerals, fiber, probiotics, and good sources of protein
- To be safe, consult a doctor before you begin any Bartholin cyst home treatments
- Make sure that you and your partner are tested for STDs before having sex
- Always use sexual protection properly during intercourse to avoid infections
- Relieve any discomfort or pain with warm baths
- Get regular gynecological exams to look out for recurring cysts and other health risks
- If you are menstruating, use a sanitary pad instead of a tampon
- Attempt to puncture or drain the Bartholin cysts yourself
- Rub against the cysts roughly, especially when you are cleaning or washing the genital area
- Engage in unprotected sexual intercourse
- Do not douche as this can irritate the cyst