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Can I have intercourse if I have bartholinitis?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The Bartolino glands, which are found on each side of the vaginal lips, are responsible for secreting fluid to help the female reproductive system be properly lubricated; However, the openings of the glands may become clogged for various reasons, and the fluid that secretes accumulates in them, causing an inflammation known medically as bartolinitis or also called inflammation of the Bartholin’s glands.

This disorder is one of the most common infections of the vulvar area. However, it is estimated that it affects 2 out of every 100 young women, that is, those of reproductive age since vaginal lubrication is important during intercourse. If you suffer from this pathology, you probably wonder, can I have intercourse if I have bartolinitis? In the following FastlyHealarticle, you will find this and many more answers on the subject.

Causes of bartolinitis

A Bartholin’s abscess occurs when an obstruction occurs in the opening or duct of the gland with this name. In other words, bartolinitis refers to any inflammation of the glands located on both walls of the vulva, whether due to infection or not.

Bartholinitis can develop when the fluid secreted by the Bartholin’s glands is accumulated in them due to a proliferation or skin infection that obstructs the opening of the glands. The other common cause of bartolinitis is bacteria, which can cause a cyst to become infected, making it easier for pus to collect in the affected area. Some infections spread through sex, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, can also cause bartolinitis.

Nowadays, the belief that bartolinitis can be transmitted through intimate relationships has diminished considerably; However, some years ago, it was believed that gonococcus and Chlamydia trachomatis were germs that caused this disease to be sexually transmitted.

Can I have sex if I have bartholinitis?

Bartholinitis symptoms

In those patients with non-infectious bartholinitis, also known as Bartholin’s cyst, the most frequent symptomatology is an inflammation located in the labia majora of the vagina and, in some cases, can cause some pain. This inflammation is palpable from the beginning and is usually very small; however, it may or may not progressively increase in shape.

Those who suffer from infectious bartolinitis, that is, an abscess that has pus inside it, also has as its main symptom an inflamed lump in the vulvar area but, unlike the previous one, pain is a present widespread condition. It can be very intense, so much that, in some cases, women who suffer from it have difficulty walking or sitting. It is also frequent that there is dyspareunia or pain with intercourse. It can be painful at the time or after vaginal penetration. Sometimes, the discomfort is almost intolerable, so it becomes impossible to perform this act for those who suffer.

Likewise, women with infectious bartolinitis may suffer from high fever, chills, and general malaise. There may be cases where the symptoms disappear together with a spontaneous release of pus from the area due to an abscess rupture. However, it is essential to consult with a doctor for any symptoms.

Sexual intercourse with bartolinitis

Since bartolinitis is not sexually transmitted, it does not impede having intercourse. However, the symptoms of this disease do compromise the comfort of maintaining the sexual act, so if you suffer from this condition and have asked yourself, can I have sex if I have bartolinitis? You should know that this will depend on the degree of discomfort experienced and the doctor’s indications for their treatment, but it is best to avoid them to ensure a better and faster recovery.


Bartholinitis treatment

Depending on whether the bartolinitis is infectious or not, on the symptoms and degree of the same, and the progression of the inflammation, it will be the treatment that the doctor recommends curing this disease. In milder cases, when there is no infection and the discomfort is null or minimal, it is generally enough to follow some care. The most recommended treatment with sitz baths several times a day consists of immersing the hips and buttocks in warm water and may be accompanied by some other healing substance recommended by the specialist.

On the other hand, when the inflammation of the Bartholin glands is infectious, the doctor may choose to cut the abscess to drain it, which is sufficient if this abscess is small. Still, if it is larger, it may be necessary to place a catheter for 4 to 6 weeks to promote complete drainage and longer until the incision heals. This does not prevent you from doing everyday activities, but you will not have sex until the catheter is removed.

Also, another alternative to drain the cyst that forms is through the technique known as marsupialization. It is used when there is a predisposition for the cyst to reappear or if drainage with other methods has not been adequate. It consists of making a cut in the Bartholin’s gland to subsequently suture the edges of the skin, leaving the cyst open, allowing continuous drainage. It is essential not to have sexual activities until the wound has completely healed, usually about 2 to 4 weeks.

Whereas, if the abscess formation problem is constant, the symptoms are aggravated, or the drainage with other treatments does not work, the specialist may request the removal of the Bartolino gland. Recovery time can be in a couple of weeks, being necessary not to practice intercourse for at least the first 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.

Regarding pharmacological treatment, the administration of antibiotics usually complements the treatment for bartolinitis due to infection, and the ingestion of analgesics and antipyretics help alleviate other symptoms.


Other care includes applying warm compresses to the affected area, not using tampons, avoiding scented soaps, and not practicing vaginal sex until the treatment has been completed, lasting about four weeks.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Can I have sex if I have bartolinitis? We recommend that you enter our category of Female reproductive system.

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