My Search for the Root Cause of Bartholin's Cyst Abscess

Posted , 13 users are following.

Hi everybody,

As I can image everyone does when they get these little monsters, I have been on the search for years of how to prevent bartholin cysts abscesses from happening. 

I, as everyone does, have horrid stories dealing with this condition. From surgeries to marsupilizations, to it bursting on its own. I have had my bartholin glands removed from both sides, and when another cyst arrived only 9 months after surgery and weeks of healing, I lost my mind. I thought it would be gone for good because of the removal of the glands. It was like I was in a nightmare and I was fed up. I went on the search for SOMETHING/ANYTHING to define the root cause of these because it seemed as if no doctor knew what to do besides treating the abscess itself by loading me up on antibiotics or putting me under for surgery. When you get these things more than once a year, it is not optimal to be going under local anestethia or having antibiotics so often. 

Since I prefered not to grow a pair of testicles (thats the cute name I came up with for these)...I started searching for a doctor. 

After being treated by 6 different doctors, finally, I found a doctor who actually cares. Who spent about an hour explaining things about this condition I never heard before. 

I would like to share this with everyone, as I know how frustrating and how little information there is out there. I hope I can be of help.

Since my abscesses were reoccuring, this amazing doctor said that we needed to look at the reasons of why my body is creating these things constantly even after having my bartholin glands removed. Finally! A doctor who started our discussion with this as opposed to "I'll write you a prescription for.." or "lets schedule an appointment for operation." 

He explained:

- Every time you got a cyst, it created a new cavity for a possible new infection. That is why they reoccur and seem to get worse each time. Even if you have had the bartholin gland removed, you can still get an abscess as long as these cavities exist and get introduced to any imbalance/bacteria. It is not ideal to removed these cavities, as part of the vulva will need to be removed as well. So, finding the root cause of the cysts is more ideal. 

1) Pathogens

- Bacteria wise, get tested for Ureaplasma/Mycoplasma. These can "go into hiding" so you will need to be tested several times in order to know whether you are cleared. It has been linked with barthoinitis, and is a separate test, so don't think that a pap smear will show it. A PCR test is the most accurate, but also the most expensive, so taking pap cultures for this every 3 months can do the trick. Also, this bacteria lives in males in their prostates, so if you are in a relationship with a male, make sure he gets checked out as well by a urologist.

2) Biological

- Women who suffer from bartholin gland abscesses also have a higher risk of getting colon cancer in the future. This is due to the fact that they are so close to one another in the body that the imbalance of flora in the colon can create imbalance in the vagina/the other way around which can cause the abscess in the bartholin cyst. It is important to get your colon healthy. This can be done through taking probiotics daily and finding out which foods you should be eating. This is essential to creating an appropriate balance in your body. Every body is different and requires different things for need to find out what is right for you and keep it up (especially the probiotics!).

- Also, make sure you practice good hygiene. do this for you AND your partner.

This includes:

  -washing underwear separate from other clothing in high temperature

  -ironing all underwear (especially on the part that touches the genitals)

  -use female washing liquid in the shower and wash "there" with your hands

  -always wash there after any sexual intercourse (oral included)

  -make sure your partner is clean as well (washing his hands before getting frisky)

  -sleep with no underwear

  -use organic pads/tampons

I know it seems like alot and like it requires a lifestyle change, but it does not hurt to be hygienic, plus it prevents the kind of pain you experience with an abscess, which is totally worth it.

I have started doing everything the doctor told me for the past 2 weeks now...and I feel great! This is probably the placebo effect, but I'm just happy this doctor gave me hope. I'm not a medical professional in any way, and maybe these recommendations are his own theory...but heck, it made a lot of sense to me! He said the results may not be immediate, but over time you will become healthier and so will your body. I am actually excited about my future now when before I was dreading when my next "testicle" would arrive. I hope that I could have been a help to you all and provided some hope. 

Please feel free to ask me any questions ladies, and again...I'm sorry if you are going through this. I wish it not upon even my worst enemy. Keep your heads up!


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5 likes, 23 replies

23 Replies

  • Posted

    Thanks for your positivity.

    I am on the waiting list to have the cyst (which they don't know whether is sebaceous or glandular) removed surgically. I dread having a general anaesthetic as I've heard they really aren't good for you and I already had one for varicose veins. They say it's not infected, which is hard to square with your gynaecoligist's assertion that they are caused by bacteria.

    Confused (or have I just read it wrong!?)

    • Posted

      Hi neia,

      The thing with bartholin cysts is that they can be large, but painless. It's when they become introduced with a bacteria that they become an abscess which is very painful because it is an infection at that point. My problem in my discussion is not really about the cyst aspect, but of the cyst becoming continually infected...growing to be an abscess about every few months. My gynecologist said mine was becoming infected by possibly ureoplasma which is a bacteria a lot of people have but becomes asymptomatic whereas my body (as others may) become symptomatic somehow go into the bartholin cyst.

      I believe your case must not be a bartholin cyst...since you mentioned glandual and sebaceous. Am I right? Bartholin gland cysts come from the bartholin gland. But maybe yours is in the skin instead? I read there are different kinds of cysts you can get "down there".

      Hope to hear back soon. Even if yours isn't a bartholin gland, good luck! It can be frustrating but stay positive smile and using my doctors recommendations will probably also be effective in your situation as well smile

    • Posted

      Thanks for explaining. As a home edding mum I tend to grab minutes where I can and probably not read all the detail I should! The gynaes didn't know what sort my cyst was...but I'm taking the advice about looking after the imbalance of bacteria as there's a chance it could get infected. Shall be giving up sugar for Lent. Not sure how I'll cope with such a drastic step but we'll see!
  • Posted

    Hi, did yours reoccur after doing this?
    • Posted

      No! 4 years out now and I am free of cysts! I highly recommend following all these and getting both glands removed.

  • Posted

    Thanks for the great info, I was kinda afraid when I first felt the cyst when I was a teenager, like I never engage in sex and suddenly I had this infection down there. Will try ironing my undies and washing them with hot water.
  • Edited

    Thank you so much for your information. I know you posted 4 years ago but hopefully you see this and can get back to me. i had my first cyst last week and got it drained immediately. I was hoping you or someone could help answer questions or help put my mind at ease. After getting an incision and then the catheter put in, it hurts just as bad. what hurts the worst is when I pee. Is this normal? If so, how long did it take you to recover? Thank you!!

    • Edited

      Hi Jade,

      I'm so sorry you have to go through this...I hope you have a speedy recovery! When I had mine incised, the pain from the pressure was gone, but it was replaced by a soreness from the operation. It did burn to pee and to wipe for a week or so. I did not have a catheter placed, though...the doctor had left a small opening for drainage instead. I heard the catheter itself can cause discomfort but I would say if its been more than a few days and the pain isn't getting better, it wont hurt to just call the doctor and ask.

      hopefully once you heal, this will be the first and only time you will have to experience this!

      I hope I helped!

    • Posted

      Thank you! Coincidentally, my catheter came out about an hour ago and it still hurts but not as sore as it was. I'm hoping that now I can recover from here on out without dreadful pain. I have been pouring a cup of water on my vagina when I pee, that has helped relieve the acidity pain on my open incision. I'm so incredibly grateful for your post. Thank you!

    • Posted

      oh good! You're so welcome!! I hope you get well soon! try to also follow the hygene stuff I highlighted in my post 😃

      take care!

  • Posted

    Hi - thanks for sharing. If one does test positive for ureaplasma / mycoplasma what then?

    I've had many swabs all of which were inconclusive.

    I have two - one on each side and they never seem to go. I've had surgery and numerous rounds of antibiotics.

    I will start following the other advice immediately.

    Many thanks


    • Posted

      Hi Victoria!

      If you test positive, then you and your partner will need to take a simple round of antibiotics.

      If that doesn't help...maybe it's time to have the glands removed. I was getting cysts every 3 months or so! TERRIBLE!! I finally had both glands removed and it's the best thing I ever did. I am 4 years out, pregnant with my first baby and I haven't seen a cyst since. I feel like a free woman! I can wear tight pants again and all those things you can't in fear of getting another one. Also, I can say it does not ruin your sex life. things get lubricated just fine from within...i know that might be TMI but it's something important to note if that is what you're worried about.

      best of luck! I hope I was helpful!

    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply! Very kind.

      Sadly I am still having problems following yet more antibiotics and new knicker washing regime. No partner so that's not the issue.

      I'm so happy you are through this! You are providing some hope. I was considered for gland removal but then advised against it as following abscess removal it didn't heal and continued to fill up and weep - which was why I was v interested in your post.

      Congratulations on your pregnancy.

    • Posted

      Thank you!

      oh I'm so sorry to hear that! I didn't have a partner when all of mine started either...I think its from any kind of arousal to be honest. I remember it felt like I was on antibiotics every other month at one point. For me, the doctor had said gland removal works best when there is no active abscess so definitely look into it before the next one!

      Best of luck aren't alone! and take some probiotics to keep you healthy!

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