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The Bartholin Gland and Hygiene

Updated on September 25, 2010

It may seem like a no-brainer that the health of your Bartholin Gland and Hygiene are interconnected, but for the sake of being all inclusive in this Hub Series on Bartholin Glands I have chosen to include a section explaining just how interconnected the Bartholin Gland and hygiene really are.

At any given moment your body is covered literally head to toe in billions of different bacteria. Most of these bacterial serve a beneficial purpose and do not create a problem when one has an established hygiene routine. It is when these bacteria reach high populous levels that problems on the dermis begin to arise. For example, Tetanus, is actually a bacteria and is not transmitted via rusty metal contrary to popular belief. What happens in the case of tetanus is that something (be it metal or some other capable object) breaks the surface of your skin and allows bacteria to enter the wound (in this case tetanus). Individuals who for what ever reason have poor hygiene will have higher levels of that (and others) bacteria on their skin, increasing the odds that they will contract tetanus. Tetanus is on you, on me and on just about everything we touch. In the case of the Bartholin gland, the opening of these two glands are small and sit at the 4 and 8 o'clock positions just a half inch below your urethra. Because of their position in relation with the outer labia, this is prime nesting real estate for germs and bacteria to accumulate. So keeping this area clean is beyond crucial.

All soaps were not created equal! Because so little is known about Bartholin Glands and why they develop cysts and abscesses, it is wise to limit as much potential irritants as possible. Soaps and other cleansers often contain chemicals that for sensitive individuals can irritate and the skin and strip the dermis of its beneficial barrier, staging the scene for potential problems. It is important to consider using only soaps that are chemical free ( look for Natural or Organic), fragrance free (most fragrances are synthesized in labs and do not come from a natural source) and wax free (waxes can cause buildups of the surface of the skin, ie Paraben). Very Private (brand) makes an excellent body wash specifically designed for our intimate regions.

Intimacy. Bartholin Glands are not just painful in the physical sense, they can be debilitating to your intimate relationship. When a gland is swollen ( a cyst has formed) it is very important that you respect what you body is trying to tell you. Abrasion of any kind will increase the blood flow to this area, and with that comes more inflamation and a higher risk of the cyst turning into an abscess. It is very important to realize that intercourse has the propensity to drive bacteria and other fluids into your urethra and glands. With that being said, it would be a wise decision for both partners to shower before and after intercourse. Additionally, lubricants are something else to consider. Many lubricants contain chemicals that you want to keep away from this region if you are prone to Bartholin upset. Look for natural alternatives, particularly aloe based lubricants that are soothing, natural and WATER based. Desert Harvest (brand) has an excellent, affordable lubricant.


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      Oubli 14 months ago

      This happened to me also! Hubs and I were on the tail end of a cold when we partook of each other and my Bartholin glands became inflamed and irritated. Apparently these lady bits are really susceptible to errant bacteria such as Streptococcus. Moral of the story stop taking offense that it could be hygiene, hubs and I are very clean people and yet this still happened to me. Yeah I once got PID from a chest cold of hubby's after we had sex and a far friend of mine had gonorrhea in her throat, bacteria/virus' are endemic and cleanliness alone won't keep you from getting sick.

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      Brittany 2 years ago

      This article is not saying it is FULLY from poor hygiene, but that hygiene plays a role as well. You've gotta think about it, if you have a cut or a whole, do you think that it will get better if you just keep throwing dirt into it? The glands are tiny holes near the vaginal opening. If you don't have good hygiene then it is obviously going to affect you some way or another.

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      Tasha 2 years ago

      And what if one has very good hygiene since as long as I can remember, yet still has this problem of Bartholin cysts? I've now had it 3 times in my life, twice when I was a teenager and once now (at age 34). I am very particular about personal hygiene, especially in that region so why do I still get this cyst/abscess???

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      innocent 3 years ago

      I have been sufering with this batholin cyst for years. When I could not take it again I went and do surgery and got my gland removed, five months past I thought Yes am free from this stuff until bam!!here nation comes again.y me? Need help

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      Cori 3 years ago

      Severe stress and depression during menopause is when the first and second Bartholins cyst and abcess formed at age 53 on the left side of my lower vulva. I'm also a smoker who has recently cut my habit in half by taking Champix. The menopause has caused excessive sweats and the depression has for some reason prevented me from regularly showering. So I believe there's some truth to extra bacteria building up causing a Bartholins cyst to abcess, causing it to swell large, turn red, feel hot and hurt.

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      Anony Moosey 3 years ago

      I actually think this page should be removed due to misinformation. Developing a Bartholin cyst has absolutely nothing to do with hygiene, and in my extensive research about this issue, this is the only site to suggest as such. It is this kind of old wives tale that makes those suffering from other more visible cystic issues (i.e. cystic acne) feel embarrassed because people think it's caused by a lack of hygiene or eating junk food, when in fact it is categorically out of their hands.

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      anon 4 years ago

      Im sorry but I do not have poor personal hygiene! And am suffering with my second bartholin cyst. I feel like this is very misinformed!

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      Glandlady 4 years ago

      Bacteria has nothing to do with the onset of this disorder. Keeping clean is common sense but had no bearing on the trigger of this disorder. It's a clogged duct that causes this, for me allergies trigger the response.