Soaking in warm water four times a day for several days usually provides some relief and causes the abscess to open and drain on its own. However, the opening is usually very small and closes quickly, so the abscess often returns.
DRAINAGE OF THE ABSCESS
A small surgical cut can completely drain the abscess. This relieves symptoms and provides the fastest recovery.
The procedure can be done under local anesthesia in a doctor's office.
A catheter (tube) may be inserted and left in place for 4 - 6 weeks to continue to allow draining while the area heals.
You should begin soaking in warm water 1 - 2 days afterward. You cannot have sexual intercourse until the catheter is removed.
Antibiotics may be prescribed, but they are not usually needed if the abscess is drained properly.
Women who have repeated abscesses may consider a minor surgical procedure called marsupialization.
The procedure involves creating a small, permanent opening to help the gland drain.
Butler KH. Incision and drainage. In: Roberts JR, Hedges JR, eds. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 37.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.