Causes Of Abscess In The Vagina: Bartholin Abscess Treatment

Abscess in vagina is known as Bartholin’s abscess. There are two Bartholin glands situated on either side of vaginal wall. They lie just near the entrance of vagina. The main function of Bartholin gland is to secrete fluid to keep the vagina moist as well as lubricated. Infection in Bartholin gland leads to Bartholin abscess. Abscess can occur in one gland or both the glands.

Normally Bartholin gland are not appreciated or visualized as they are in the labia, just near the entrance of the vagina. Besides, they are pea sized tiny glands.

It is only when they are infected they can be easily felt and palpated. The most common symptom of vaginal abscess is hot and tender lump in labia. Pain during sexual intercourse or while walking, fever are other common symptoms of Bartholin abscess or vaginal abscess.

What Causes Bartholin Abscess?

Vaginal abscess or Bartholin abscess can develop in two ways. Either Bartholin cyst becomes infected or the gland itself gets infected. Bartholin cyst occurs when the tube like duct that drains the fluid produced in the gland gets blocked. The size of cyst can be small like a pea or can be as big as a golf ball.

The size of cyst may remain same for a long duration or it may grow slowly. However, the reason why the duct gets blocked is not clear. When the cyst becomes infected, it can form an abscess. An abscess is a sac filled with pus.

Bartholin abscess can also occur as a result of infection in the gland. Within few days after infection, the gland may rapidly increase in size. Usually it gets inflamed and painful.

Various types of bacteria are responsible for infecting Bartholin cyst or the gland itself. Most commonly encountered organisms are E.coli and staphyloccous bacteria which are also responsible for urinary tract infection. Some cases are attributed to gonorrhea and Chlamydia, both are sexually transmitted infection.

About 1 in every 50 women can suffer from vaginal abscess or Bartholin cyst. Usually young females who are sexually active are the sufferers; however the condition can even prevail in older women to certain extent.

Usually Bartholin abscess can be diagnosed during pelvic examination conducted by the doctor. The tenderness and enlargement of the gland are enough for a doctor to diagnose the disease. However in older women, a biopsy may be necessary to rule out tumor.

Treatment For Abscess In The Vagina

Most cases of Bartholin abscess may need to be drained surgically. But before surgical drainage, doctors usually advice the patient to take Sitz bath in warm water. Here the patient has to sit in a tub which contains warm water for 10 to 15 minutes at least three to four times in a day. Warm water Sitz bath helps the abscess to open and drain on its own.

However many times the natural opening is very small and drainage of pus remain incomplete. In such cases a small incision and drainage of vaginal abscess is necessary. It has to be performed by a surgeon. A course of antibiotics is simultaneously prescribed with drainage of abscess.

If Bartholin abscess occurs recurrently, your doctor may suggest its removal. But the chances of it are very less as most of the time recovery is complete.

If there is any associated vaginal infection, it has to be treated simultaneously.

To prevent Bartholin abscess, a woman should practice safe sex methods. She should also maintain good personal hygiene.