A Bartholin's Cyst?

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Many of you active in this forum have recurring Bartholin's cysts and are very experienced in the subject, so I'd like to compare notes.

Sunday morning when I used the toilet and wiped, I felt a twinge of an ache around my vaginal opening. I didn't think anything of it--I use the vaginal ring NuvaRing as contraception and had recently put a new one in, which requires pushing and positioning in that area and can sometimes leave the vaginal opening a bit sore. But then yesterday, whenever I used the toilet and had contact with my genital area, the ache continued. At one point, I used a compact mirror to try to see if I had any razor burn that would be bothering me. At first I saw nothing, but when I pulled the lips back from the vaginal opening, I saw a small, red bump on the right side that looked inflamed. 

Immediately, I panicked. My first thought was that I had an STD. I'm single and sexually active in the dating world, however, my last contact with a partner was almost 8 weeks ago, and he and I were transparent with one another about our testing status. I was last tested in June and had a clean bill of health, and he was my only partner in the interium (and, before anyone asks, I realise that healthcare providers don't include testing for all STDs in an "STD panel," however, I always ask for HSV 1 & 2 by name, so I know that, as of June, I was negative for herpes). I then started researching other causes of vaginal lumps and bumps, and came across the Bartholin's Cyst. From the descriptions on a number of healthcare provider websites, the cyst forms in the spot where I found my bump, and commonly forms on either one side or the other of the vaginal opening. I read about home treatments such as sitz baths and hot compresses, and took a long sitz bath last evening that helped a lot. I looked at the area again this morning and saw it was much less inflamed, though there was still a small bump. I also recall that I had a similar bump a number of years ago, also on the right side of the opening, and was told by my doctor to bathe in warm water. 

In reading through these postings, many of you have chronic recurring Bartholin's Cysts that you describe as painful. Mine is not painful, and I don't feel it when I walk or sit; I only notice it when I use the toilet or when I'm specifically examining the area. It is tender, but certainly not a sharp, shooting paing. So I'm wondering, are Bartholin's Cysts necessarily painful? Or is sharp pain only associated with abscesses?

My plan of action is to continue the sitz baths, keep the area clean and dry, and monitor the bump for the next day or two. If it doesn't go away, I'll see my doctor. Any advice or experience you can share would be very helpful! Thanks!

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    I think your action plan is a good one. They can be painful or grow in size and become painful, however, I know lots of people have said that their bartholins are painless; sometimes not bothering them for years at a time. Monitor for any changes and try not to mess with it too much. If the baths are helping, that's a good sign.
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  • Posted

    Sometimes Bartholins can come and go and be quite painless and sometimes they can grow quite large  and discharge on their own.  Megan has given you good advice...dont mess with it,ie squeezing etc. That can cause a worse infection.

    Warm baths do help. The cyst is caused when the exit to the gland is blocked,by the normal secretions keeping the vulva healthy. If these become excessive then the cyst may become infected .   They are common so dont worry.

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  • Posted

    Hi

    Mine was painless but intrusive sitting and walking and appeared from nowhere. It also started leaking I had mine removed under local anaesthetic (not very comfortable I might add and wouldn't advise it!!). I haven't had a recurrence yet and hope I never will.

    It all happened so fast for me and no-one advised me of any alternative treatments so I would definitely give it a go.

    Good luck

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  • Posted

    Bartholins cyst can be painless but you have to remember that they can get big and inflamed and be extremely painful. So if you feel like it's getting bigger and painful the sooner you get to the doctors the better. My first one that I had I let it go on for too long and it ended up getting infected and so bad that literally the whole side of my vagina from the top to the bottom was extremely swollen. I've googled pictures of what bartholin cysts looks like and I haven't came across one that looked as bad as my first one. I would keep doing the warm baths and also I would massage the area to promote drainage through the duct. I hope you're one of the lucky ones and it doesn't ever come to getting how some of ours do!
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  • Posted

    Update: As of this morning, the bump is gone.Yesterday when I looked at it, it no longer had any kind of head on it, but was still slightly raised and flesh-colored. Today there's no trace of it! I'm hoping this means it was a cyst or pimple and the sitz baths I took helped to clear it.
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  • Posted

    they are painful when they become infected and turn into an abscess.. i have had 3. my first was unbelievable that actually had me in tears! the second was nothing..came and went. i am currently suffering my third and sadly...excruciating! i'm more or less living in a red hot salt  bath!! 
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