Bartholin cysts or abscesses are primarily unnoticeable, but sometimes, they become bothersome. Like many home remedies, people also use castor oil packs for this minor ailment. But every individual claims a unique experience. Some affirm that castor oil packs are pretty effective and are, in fact, the best natural way to cure Bartholin cysts. On the other hand, some say that castor oil is a potent irritant and cannot be used on delicate areas such as the vagina. So, do COPs work? Should you use castor oil packs for a blocked Bartholin gland? What's the final review? Read below to learn and clarify all facts and myths about castor oil packs for Bartholin cysts.

What are Bartholin Cysts? Do They Bother You?

Bartholin glands are tiny pea-sized glands located on either side of the vulva (opening of the vagina). The gland secretes fluids that help in lubrication during sex. Sometimes, the gland ducts become clogged for many reasons, and the fluid within them accumulates to form a cyst. However, this backing of the fluid takes years to occur and forms a cyst. Typically, these cysts are unnoticeable as the glands' size is only 0.4 inches (1 cm), but some people develop a large cyst enough to interfere with their normal urination and sexual function. Such a large cyst is pretty painful and discomforting. Moreover, usually, there is only one cyst or abscess at a time.

Upon bacterial attack, the cyst becomes infected and results in an abscess. Consult your OB-GYN immediately if your cysts are infected or causing pain and difficulty during urination or sex. Smaller cysts can be dealt with at home using natural remedies, such as Phoebe's cure, castor oil packs, sitz bath, calamine lotion, tea tree oil, silica supplement, witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera. If natural remedies don't work, you can go for conventional treatments, including antibiotic course, marsupialization, and drainage via word catheter. Remember that the last resort is the surgical removal of the gland.

What Causes a Bartholin Cysts/Abscess?

In some people, fluid accumulation in the Bartholin gland causes a cyst to form. There's no definitive cause for this fluid backup. Still, several reasons may be involved, such as hormonal changes, infection, injury/trauma, inflammation, poor hygiene, and anatomical differences. Nevertheless, Bartholin abscesses develop due to bacterial infections, mainly via E. coli and STDs caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea. Such bacterial growth in the tiny Bartholin gland causes swelling, obstruction, and infection. It takes years for a cyst to form, but an abscess may occur rapidly.

The Benefits of Castor Oil Packs for Bartholin Cysts

Despite various home remedies, such as Phoebe's cure, sitz bath, hot compress, calamine lotion, and aloe vera, castor oil packs are the most convenient and beneficial natural cure. Here's how castor oil packs work and aid in healing Bartholin cysts/abscesses.


Castor oil, which you add to the packs, has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. This is due to the rich amounts of ricinoleic acid (the active principle of castor oil), precisely about 92+%. Since ricinoleic acid reduces inflammation in the Bartholin gland and its ducts, it is a fantastic elixir that helps drain cysts naturally. The anti-inflammatory effect of ricinoleic acid is brought about by:

  • Inhibition of prostaglandins
  • Inhibition of COX-2
  • Inhibition of NF-kB
  • Inhibition of inflammatory cytokines
  • Antioxidant activity



    Bartholin cysts are rarely painless. Typically, these cysts are small, and that's why they are not uncomfortable, but sometimes, some people grow them to a considerable size that causes pain during urination and sex. But don't worry—castor oil packs and a hot compress are great saviors for even larger cysts. Besides being anti-inflammatory, the ricinoleic acid in the castor oil is a potent analgesic. It gives its analgesic effect through several mechanisms:

    • Inhibition of prostaglandins
    • Activation of cannabinoid receptors
    • Inhibition of TRPV1 receptors
    • Release of endorphins
    • Anti-inflammatory effects



      Studies have shown that castor oil has antimicrobial properties. More precisely, ricinoleic acid (the main API) has been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is quite effective in inhibiting the growth of E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and other microbes. This antimicrobial property of ricinoleic acid is attributed to its ability to disrupt microbial cell membranes and biofilms. Therefore, if you use castor oil packs for Bartholin abscesses, they will kill the microbes that cause infection. With consistent applications,

      How Do You Use Castor Oil Packs for Bartholin Cysts?

      Gather supplies and Follow this 3-step method:


        • Unwrap your best-quality castor oil pack. Pour one tablespoon of the castor oil into a bowl and microwave it for a few seconds to warm it up. Then, pour the oil onto the pack, avoiding the edges. Wear this pack on your lower abdomen or wrap around the vaginal area.
        • If you want to lie and meditate with your pack, spread an old towel on the bed or couch. Then, lie down, placing the pack on your vaginal area. Wrap the pack with a plastic cover and place a heating pad over it for warmth and comfort.
        • Let it sit for 30-60 minutes. Observe if your cyst starts to drain. If not, repeat the application 3-4 times weekly until the clogged gland opens up. You can use this therapy in addition to conventional treatment. Nevertheless, consult your gynecologist before starting this natural remedy and ask about reactions.

        Myths and Misconceptions

        Myth 1: Castor oil packs are just a home remedy with no scientific basis

        Scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of castor oil packs is indeed limited. Still, traditional medicine systems and the literature on pharmacognosy logically explain the mechanism of action of castor oil packs in healing cysts and abscesses.

        Castor oil is a natural elixir obtained from the castor beans of the Ricinus plant. Its principal constituent is ricinoleic acid, a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Castor oil also shows effective antimicrobial activity. Due to these therapeutic properties, castor oil packs kill microbes that cause abscesses, soothe inflammation, relieve blockage, and alleviate pain. In short, castor oil packs effectively manage Bartholin cysts- Explained scientifically!

        Myth 2: Castor oil packs can cure Bartholin cyst

        Castor oil packs cannot cure Bartholin cyst. This natural remedy can only help you alleviate pain and inflammation caused by the blockage in the Bartholin gland's duct. It can also kill bacteria, causing abscesses and infection in the gland. Nevertheless, castor oil packs are a great help as they aid in draining cysts naturally.

        Myth 3: Castor oil packs are messy and inconvenient

        Castor oil packs are a bit messy but not inconvenient. You can reduce the mess by making little effort, such as placing an old towel on the couch where you lie and meditate with the pack on. You can also wear an old T-shirt while donning the pack. Read-to-wear castor oil packs are readily available on several marketplaces and websites. You can grab them to ease your application every time. All you need is to drop a tablespoon of castor oil on the pack and apply it to the affected area of your body.

        Myth 4: Castor oil packs work immediately

        Natural remedies do not work immediately. They take a long time, like weeks to months, to give the full effect. Consistently apply your castor oil packs 3-4 times a week, and alter the duration and frequency of use according to your needs and body response.

        Myth 5: Castor oil packs are Risk-free

        Though castor oil packs are a natural remedy with minimal side effects, they may cause an allergic reaction. This is because some people are allergic to ricinoleic acid and may develop a rash after exposure. To avoid this, you can do a skin sensitivity test and apply a few drops of castor oil to the inner side of your wrist. Wait a few minutes to see the reaction. If your skin remains intact, you can use this remedy comfortably.


        What is the best treatment for Bartholin cysts?

        If you have asymptomatic, smaller cysts, the easiest way to drain them is to use warm sitz baths. If your cysts are infected (presence of abscesses), you can use castor oil packs to help them drain quickly. Nevertheless, if your cyst is causing too much discomfort, you can go for marsupialization or other minor procedures involving catheters. In the end, there's no ONE best treatment; it depends on the severity of the condition and which procedure is most effective for you.

        Can you put castor oil in a Bartholin cyst?

        Castor oil is not a proven method for Bartholin cysts and abscesses. Nevertheless, traditional medicine systems approve of it as the best natural way to drain cysts. Castor oil has remarkable anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help soothe the glands' ducts and kill microbes that cause infection and pus build-up.

        Can you put a heating pad on a Bartholin cyst?

        Yes, you can put a heating pad on your Bartholin cyst. Heating will help the duct dilate and soothe the inflammation, allowing it to drain appropriately.

        How do you make castor oil packs for Bartholin cysts?

        Ready-to-use, high-quality castor oil packs are available on various marketplaces. You can use the finest-quality COPs from here. Nevertheless, if you want to make them at home, fold an oversized cotton flannel multiple times to get the desired size. Next, pour one tablespoon of organic, cold-pressed castor oil on the pack.

        You can also warm the oil slightly before pouring it on the pack. Then, place your DIY castor oil pack on your vaginal area and sit for 30-60 minutes. You can apply slight warmth using a heating pad to help soothe the inflammation. Repeat this session 3-4 times weekly until our cyst drains appropriately.

        Does Bartholin cyst affect periods?

        There's no direct relationship between Bartholin cysts and period problems. In other words, a Bartholin cyst does not affect periods directly. Still, indirectly, it can increase the discomfort and pain associated with menstruation or with the insertion of tampons or menstrual cups because of the inflamed vulva. Moreover, a Bartholin cyst does not cause changes in the menstrual cycle or is not the reason for delayed or missed periods.

        Can a Bartholin cyst grow back?

        Yes, a Bartholin cyst or abscess may recur. Some people experience a single cyst once in their lifetime, while others may grow it again. Still, a few don't get a Bartholin cyst or abscess ever in their life. Obviously, there are specific reasons why a Bartholin cyst grows back. It may be because of incomplete drainage or the persistent blockage of the glands' duct. It may also occur if you don't treat the underlying cause or infection causing the fluid build-up and cyst formation.

        Therefore, it is essential to complete the antibiotic treatment for an infected Bartholin cyst. Moreover, drain your cyst properly via minor surgery, word catheter, marsupialization, or home remedies, such as castor oil packs. Also, maintaining good hygiene is crucial to prevent Bartholin cysts from growing back.


        Castor oil packs can be a valuable natural remedy for Bartholin cysts. They offer antimicrobial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory benefits. These advantages collectively help drain fluid or pus from cysts and kill the microbes that cause the infection. You can use ready-to-wear castor oil packs for easy application. For this, you only need to pour a tablespoon of castor oil on the pack and just place it on your vaginal area where the Bartholin gland is located. Let the pack sit for 30-60 minutes.


        Repeat this application 3-4 times weekly and adjust the frequency according to your needs and body response. Castor oil packs are generally safe, but observing any signs of skin rash and irritation is crucial. While they may not be a cure-all, the potential benefits and convenience of castor oil packs make them a valuable holistic remedy for gynecological health.

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