Bartholin Cyst Gland Excision Experience - POSITIVE

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It's extremely hard to find any positive experiences of this surgery, and even the horror stories are almost slim to none. This is such a common problem and the longer I've had these cysts, the more people I've realized get them too and I'm not the only one. I hope this helps someone going through the same thing because I get it. It's AWFUL.

I have had 8 Bartholin cysts, which became infected every time in the last 7 years. I am 23 now and I got my first at 16. About a year ago, I had a marsupialization as a permanent solution after several in-office lancings, catheters, etc. 3 months later, I developed another cyst and discovered that antibiotics made it drain on its own and it was gone. Got another one 3 months after that, 6 months post-op. Same treatment at home - antibiotics made it drain. 4 months after this, 10 months post-op, I got my third since my surgery. Antibiotics didn't take, so I made an appointment after about a week and they happened to have a cancellation the next day for surgery and my OB/GYN suggested I go through with the excision surgery I have been dreading because of these horror stories I have read (and cried) about for months.

I had my excision 6 days ago and am feeling okay. Waking up after the surgery was terrible and I was in excruciating pain for a few hours, but I was told no morphine/pain medicine was used during the surgery, so it was warranted. I took pain medication for the first 12 hours in conjunction with 500mg ibuprofen every 6 six hours, and it mostly just uncomfortable. I did not sleep for more than 3-4 hours at a time, and slept with a pillow in between my legs for comfort, but I was able to keep up with my medicine. I used an ice pack on and off for 20 mins at a time for the first 36 hours to help with swelling.

Now 6 days out, I am somewhat pain-free. And mind you, I have like, ZERO tolerance for pain. I'm the biggest baby. There was some bleeding right after the surgery, but it turned to just some discharge by the next morning, and I have had a tiny bit over the last day or so. Here and there I get a pang of slight pain or a pinching feeling that hurts, but it goes away. I am a bartender so I have to be off of work for 10-14 days and have been resting as much as I possibly can. It is mostly just uncomfortable and I can't stand for too long of a time before needing to sit/lay again. This experience is straining on my relationship (he was here for my marsupialization in the very beginning), but we both agreed that this was the right thing for me to do. I know that I can't live my life afraid of this happening forever and always wondering when it's going to come back, so I went through with the surgery. I have a check up appointment with my OB/GYN who also performed the surgery this week, a little after a week post-op. I am still taking my ibuprofen every 6 hours to manage soreness/discomfort and I have been on a week of antibiotics to prevent infection.

I decided to look today after the swelling and possible bruising has gone down and was definitely surprised at the amount and placement of the stitches. My doctor said they were inside the vagina rather than outside like my marsupialization (which was terrible because I had them for 8 weeks and they hurt like hell), but they run all the way from the gland and up to the top on the right side in the inner labia. It's not pretty but I'll take a little ugliness over pain and fear for the rest of my life.

All in all, I'd say this is going to be worth it so far. Happy to post updates if it helps someone else reading comments on the internet until they're crying themselves to sleep out of fear like I did. I would have loved to see A) real information that is actually helpful and B) positive experiences that made all my anxiety and tears worth it.

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  • Edited

    I also have a positive experience to share:

    I am a 31 year old, 135 lbs very fit and active female. I had surgery for BC excision Sept 2017. After a year of trying every home remedy that I could find and battling having a painful sex life and not being to bike I decided it was not going to stop flaring up. My gyno recommended a complete excision of my bartholin cyst, gland and a labial cyst. It was a minor surgery but the recovery was really scary and extremely painful. I thought they hit a nerve for about 3 days where I had burning shooting pain down my legs. It subsided. It took about 6 weeks to feel somewhat normal again. Was surprised when I had to take a full 7 days off work for recovery and then had to sit on a donut for a month. I must say though now that I am 100% recovered (took a minimum of 6 months for me to feel really normal again), I am very thankful I was brave and chose to undergo the surgery. Knock on wood I have not had any flare-ups again and my vagina feels back to normal. I have a super sex life with no more pain. My vagina looks and feels normal. I have great lubrication as well, so don't worry there are three other glands that can do this if you take one out. I even horseback ride now which goes to show there is really no more pain. I actually started that two months post-op.

    One thing that really helped me on recovery which I highly recommend is to have a pelvic floor physiotherapist see you weekly a few weeks after the surgery. This will prevent scar tissue formation and ensure everything heals properly. This will help to prevent pain with sex (dyspareunia) I am surprised a how few doctors recommend this. I actually never read this anywhere and my sister had the idea that I go to one. Best idea. Anyways, if you choose excision, be prepared for a crappy recovery but now that I am on the other side I am so thankful I chose this route. My surgeon was very well skilled and I would recommend you get an experienced surgeon. He was rude but I can't complain because he did performed well during the procedure. Also, bring an advocate with you for after the surgery. I didn't and didn't take the correct post-op meds and ended up having to spend the night in the hospital and having a catheter inserted because of swelling.

    My advice: Be brave and don't be scared. You are strong. Many other women have been in your shoes. It is a minor procedure and yes it does suck tremendously but it will all be a memory in a few months if you choose this route. And the home remedies don't work for a persistent cyst. Do pelvic physio if you choose surgery.

    Best of luck and health!

    • Posted

      how soon after marsipulation did you have sex? im currently on week 4 of the healing process, everything looks and feels fine, however i still see maybe 3-4 stitches in my labia. but my doctor said 4 weeks so im anxious to have sex lol.

    • Posted

      Hi there, I’m hoping you might be willing to share the name of the doctor who performed your excision surgery? I'm having a hard time finding a doctor with experience. My current ob/gyn has zero experience with it and he's been practicing more than 25 years. I had a couple bartholins abcesses in my late teens/early 20s, then I started getting skenes gland infections. A doctor showed me how to manually drain skenes gland using qtip and peroxide, so i could clear those on my own. This year I've had two bartholin infections (one is right now). My doctor just gave me three weeks antibiotics last time and it never drained. I'm terrified of surgery by someone who is not experienced with this exact issue. i will travel out of state if needed. thank you!

    • Posted

      hi there,

      Mine was in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada at the IWK womens hospital. Our healthcare system is public, so it would be tough to get it done here. I had to wait for about a year to get scheduled in. Its a standard and minor procedure. I suggest contacting a hospital with a womens specific research focus. There will be gynos on staff that can do this procedure.

      I am now 6 years post op with thankfully no recurrrences.

      Good Luck and it can get much better!

  • Posted

    Hello everyone!I ve unfortunately had this issue for many years.I am a medical student so i had all the information possible and still could not convince myself to have the excision of the gland.My first cyst appeared 15 years ago.I was treated with antibiotics and it went away.Or so i thought..Anyway,i was lucky to have a 9 year break from these little demons,but as the doctors have said the first time,the cyst returned 6 years ago and it was even worse than the first time.Since then it didnt stop giving a flare up every few months.Antibiotics and a lot of pain were my best friends.I study medicine and i talked with many many doctors and it seems that not everyone wants to perform the excision of the gland which made me even more cautious about my decision.But 3 months ago i decided i couldnt take it anymore and scheduled the operation.I am 2 weeks after my surgery today and though its been a tough one(for the first 6 days the pain was unbearable)i am very very happy that i ve done it.I know i ll be uncomfortable for some time(cant sit properly yet) but its worth it.Its the only way to free yourself from this problem.If you are thinking about having the surgery dont be afraid.It will be hard for the first few days but afterwards it gets better.And you get your life back.Excuse me for my english,its not my mother language.I really wanted to talk about my experience hoping to encourage all the wonderful ladies who suffer from this horrible and very painful health problem.I wish you all a bartholins gland cyst free life!

  • Edited

    Thank you! I have been dreading this operation since day 1 but now I am looking forward to it. I've had flare ups for about 4 years now. I've had it cut and drained 14 times since then and a marsupialization. I have begged my doctor to remove the gland since about the 5th cut and drain. but they are very hesitant

    it is now my 15th flare up and bigger and meaner than ever. its is a little bigger than a large chicken egg right now. the last 5 days have been hell for me. I cant not find relief. motrin doesn't work well so I went to the ER and they are setting me up for surgery this week. they did try to drain it again in which I replied " I have let you drain this cyst 14 times already, I have listened to your instructions time and time again, but I need to draw the line somewhere. I feel as if I've been tortured for the last 4 years and I've had enough" I didn't allow them to touch me with a scalpel. they gave me pain meds to hold me off till surgery. I am very scared and nervous but it can only get better from here right .

    • Edited

      You're making a good call. It is a tough recovery but you will get through it. my advice is to bring someone with you to surgery check out and ask them to double check with doctors on the directions for post surgery recovery meds. Sitz baths will be your best friend. I found that pelvic floor physio therapy worked well for me about four weeks post op.

      I'm now 1.5 year post op from labial and bartholin cyst excision and back to normal with no flare ups. i have less lubrication than before but still more than enough for great intercourse.

      best of luck and speedy recovery!

    • Posted

      How is everything doing after the surgery? You don't feel any pain? Would you recommend it? Thank you

  • Edited

    I am having my surgery tomorrow morning at 8 am! Like all of you, I haven't been able to find many patient experiences following this surgery. I have a few questions for you all. Will I ever want to have sex again? 😃 (Much more of a question from my husband!) Will it hurt to urinate? Do you have any recovery tips? What is the cause of these cysts? I appreciate this thread and your willingness to talk about this uncomfortable problem!

    • Edited

      I am so happy for you!!Look everything will be perfectly normal afterwards and of course you ll have sex again and you will enjoy it too!!For the first week i have to tell you that you will be in pain.I am sure they ll give you pills for the pain(but for me they didnt do much.)Every patient reacts different and has different tolerance for the pain.But be prepared for the first seven days.You will need some help.After that everything will be perfect and you will be brand new and happy!we dont know why these things happen.In my opinion stress has a major rol.Iwish you a fast recovery!!Welcome to health😊

    • Posted

      Thank you so much! Before my flare up I had started getting Brazillian waxes and using a menstrual cup. Now I'm scared to do either but am hopeful this will solve the problem!

    • Posted

      Please keep us updated about your recovery and if everything feels normal after the surgery.

  • Posted

    Hi all,

    I just had an excision a few days ago and i am really struggling! The pain going to the bathroom is awful! and i have a huge swelling with a purple spot on my labia where the cyst was.

    im scared i have a heamatoma!! how much swelling is normal?

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