How to make a vulvar pimple hurt less.
July 3, 2012 7:23 AM   Subscribe

I've got a giant painful cystic pimple on my vulva (where the mons pubis meets the labia majora, as in this illustration ). Even if it weren't a bad idea, I couldn't pop it--it's too deep. What can I do to make it less painful?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is it a Bartholin's cyst [NSFW]? You might see a doctor about draining it, if it's infected, or using that as a search term might help you find home remedies for pain.
posted by unknowncommand at 7:28 AM on July 3, 2012

Wait it out, I'm afraid. These things go away by themselves.

Or they don't, in which case you need to see a physician. Make an appointment with your internist or go to an urgent care clinic.

But there's not a heck of a lot you can do about these things other than that. I get them on my jawline and neck with some regularity, and if they don't get to the point where you can drain them, you just have to let them be. They usually last less than a week.
posted by valkyryn at 7:31 AM on July 3, 2012

Ah, ignore me, my anatomy's...uh...rusty or something.
posted by unknowncommand at 7:38 AM on July 3, 2012 [6 favorites]

When I get those, I use a washcloth soaked in hot water - even if it doesn't bring the pimple/cyst to a head, it at least provides some temporary relief.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 7:41 AM on July 3, 2012 [9 favorites]

I am an OBGYN, not your OBGYN, etc etc.

It probably isn't a Bartholin's abscess given the position, but it could well be another vulval abscess. I personally would not wait it out if you are in substantial pain. They can get very large, and they can rarely progress to cellulitis or worse. We don't know how old you are, but there is also a small but definite risk that they are hiding something else nastier. They definitely benefit from surgical drainage and/or antibiotics. I would see your OBGYN urgently, or even visit ER if it's really painful.
posted by roofus at 7:42 AM on July 3, 2012 [9 favorites]

A warm (not hot!) compress will help. Also, a black tea bag that's steeped in hot water for 5 minutes or so. Let it cool down and press it directly onto the pimple for at least 20 minutes. That should help bring it to a head so it can drain.

What kind of underwear are you wearing? Make sure it's cotton and loose, if possible.
posted by lootie777 at 7:44 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use drawing salve (draw out salve, drawing out salve, draw salve, it has a million names), which I can sometimes find at CVS and almost always find at independent pharmacies. Boil-Eez will work, though it has an inferior amount/quality of ichthammol.

Which is not to say you shouldn't see a doctor because these things tend to recur; they're so deep they don't fully drain and you get a vicious cycle. But drawing salve will keep you walking relatively normally until you can get there.

Do not touch it with your hands unless they are freshly-washed, have soap on them, or you have gloves or gauze as a barrier.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:59 AM on July 3, 2012

IANAD, but when I had similar irritation in that area my doctor told me to use Domeboro. Her instructions were to mix the solution (packet + water), chill it in the fridge, and then soak a facecloth in it to make a Domeboro compress. Then apply the compress to the area for a while to get some relief. In terms of making you feel better, it definitely works. It can be a bit awkward because of the area, but I put several towels down on my bed so I won't soak my sheets or mattress, then just lie there, holding the compress against the area. You can find it over-the-counter at any drugstore. Hope that helps!
posted by katemcd at 8:00 AM on July 3, 2012

A quick-and-DIY version of cystic pimple treatments (which is surprisingly effective!) is plain old toothpaste. The plain white paste kind, not the gel kind. Since you'd be using it close to your pink bits, I'd even avoid the whitening stuff; if you want to pick something up, get the plainest and most basic stuff you can find. Just dab a tiny bit on and leave it on overnight.

(Although, if it's not possible to do this without getting stuff onto the inner folds of your labia minora, maybe skip it, at least because it would REALLY be painfully tingly for a moment or two.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:34 AM on July 3, 2012

IANAD, not mess around with this. Do not try to treat this at home. The only advice you should be following here is that of roofus. Gynecologist or ER ASAP.
posted by anonnymoose at 8:56 AM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Agreeing that medical stuff is best left to the experts. In the meantime, you might find that a soak in a hot (comfortably so, not boiling) bath brings it to a head.
posted by atropos at 10:39 AM on July 3, 2012

This is not really an area where fucking about with it yourself is a good idea.

Seriously, get a professional to take a look.
posted by Jilder at 10:40 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

From the OP:
The update: Thanks for the advice, everyone. I've got an appointment with an OBGYN this afternoon.
posted by jessamyn at 10:53 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe you could ask the OBGYN for something topical for the pain like they give people who get laser hair removal?
posted by MidSouthern Mouth at 1:45 PM on July 3, 2012

OK, I've had this exact same problem for the past few days, and considered posting here about it. In fact, the only thing that convinced me I didn't submit this anonymously while drunk and then forget about it is that mine is in a slightly different location.

I saw a clinician about it today because it was SO painful and in such an inconvenient location that walking and sitting were difficult, and she recommended I spend a couple of days with frequent warm compresses, and if that didn't get it to come to a head and drain, I should come back on Thursday to get it lanced and drained by a doctor. I sat on hot washcloths all day, then had a very long, very hot bath, and shortly thereafter the pimple/cyst/whatever came to a head and burst on its own. It's not magically gone, but it's much, much better now.

Here's hoping OP's resolution was as favorable!
posted by rhiannonstone at 11:43 PM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

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