Treating a Bartholin cyst naturally involves soaking the area in shallow, warm water and avoiding having sex until the cyst heals, according to WebMD. These soaks, called sitz baths, are also effective at treating infected Bartholin cysts, explains Healthline. To encourage healing, women should commit to three to four baths per day that last at least 10 to 15 minutes.
In addition to natural treatments, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the cyst becomes infected or the woman has a sexually transmitted disease that caused the cyst, states Mayo Clinic. Large or infected cysts may also require surgical drainage. During this procedure, the doctor inserts a catheter that stays in the cyst for up to six weeks to allow the area to drain completely.
To treat persistent cysts, a surgeon may perform marsupialization to prevent recurrence, notes Mayo Clinic. This surgery creates a permanent opening in the area that is less than 1/4 inch long. A doctor may also recommend the complete removal of a Bartholin gland if it does not respond to any other treatment.
E. coli and sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, may lead to a Bartholin cyst becoming infected and creating an abscess, according to Healthline; therefore, a doctor may take a fluid sample when she diagnoses a Bartholin cyst to see if the patient needs additional treatment. A doctor treating a woman over 40 or a woman who already has undergone menopause may suggest additional testing to verify that the lump is a Bartholin cyst.