- Women's Health
The Bartholin Gland and Hygiene
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.