Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Treatment questions for doctor specialist

Abscess in the Vagina Treatment

Treatment for a Bartholin's abscess includes incision and drainage, which opens the abscess and allows pus to drain from the abscess. The procedure may be performed in a doctor's office. After the incision and drainage, warm baths and pain medications will help to relieve discomfort.

Incision and drainage for a Bartholin's abscess includes:

  • The labia minora is sterilized using rubbing alcohol or an antibacterial soap.
  • A local anesthetic is injected into the tissues surrounding the abscess.
  • An incision is made with a scalpel.
  • Pus is drained from the abscess.
  • The abscess cavity is flushed clean.
  • In some cases, a rubber drain or a strip of sterile gauze is packed inside the abscess cavity.
    • The gauze or drain placed inside the abscess cavity is usually removed 24-36 hours later.
  • In some cases, a catheter is placed in the cavity, and a balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated.
    • The catheter may be left in place for 2-4 weeks.

Additional treatment for a Bartholin's abscess may include:

Abscess in the Vagina Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of Bartholin's abscess.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
    • Is surgery an option for me?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • Am I contagious?
    • For how long?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this problem again?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Abscess in the Vagina Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat Bartholin's abscess:

Last Updated: May 5, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Abscess in the Vagina References
  1. Omole F, Simmons BJ, Hacker Y. Management of Bartholin's duct cyst and gland abscess. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Jul 1;68(1):135-40. [12887119]
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