Bartholin Gland Excision - Post Surgery

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Hello -

I am so grateful to have come across this platform and especially thankful to the women who shared their experiences here. I was surprised to see how little information there is on Bartholin Gland Excision surgery especially, considering how debilitating this condition is . I recently just had my Bartholin Gland removed and the experience has proven to be nothing short of unexpected. Aside from the pain, it is hard because the surgery is often downplayed as a "simple" procedure when in fact it is not. Despite the research and all the questions I asked prior, I still feel that I was ill prepared & misinformed on what having this surgery and recovery would be like.

I've tried to be as thorough as possible and address a lot of questions I've seen on other posts. I hope you find this helpful.


I am 36 and have been suffering with Bartholin Cysts since I was 22. I've had 4 cysts and a Marsupialization done on my right gland and Lancing, Marsupialization, and Excision done on the left gland. I will focus this post specifically on EXCISION (removal) of a Bartholin Gland as there is very little information out there on this procedure.

My cyst was the size of an Orange and after years of unbearable painful cysts, the opinion of 3 Doctors, and 2 years worth of researching this surgery -- I decided that Gland Excision was the best course of action.

I had the procedure done in New York City -- and I am currently 4 weeks Post-Op.

The Doctor explained that the surgery was simple, would take approx. 30 - 45 min, that I could expect to feel better in about 5-7 days after surgery, and make a full recovery in 2 - 4 weeks. That could not have been farther from the truth in my case.

It is important to note that everyone's body and pain tolerance is different. The below is simply my experience.

My surgery lasted about 2 1/2 hours. Unlike the Marsupializations I've previously had, this surgery was done under General Anesthesia. I woke up with extreme pain. The nurse said that they had administered Fentanyl to help but yet the pain felt so sharp & raw, I could barely speak let alone move. The nurse went on to give me another round of Fentanyl, then another, and still I did not have the strength to get dressed to leave. The hospital experience in itself was different as I was not allowed to bring anyone with me to help, due to the Covid Pandemic. After three rounds of Fentanyl, the nurse gave me an Oxycodone pill and I was able to push through the pain to get myself dressed and leave the hospital (in a wheel chair).

The Doctor prescribed Augmentin (antibiotic), and 5 mg. of Oxcodone & 600 mg. of Ibuprofen for pain management.

The next day I felt throbbing pain & bruising in the wound area, as to be expected. I slept face up with a pillow between my legs. I also had a mild discomfort in my throat from the tube that was inserted into my windpipe (to assist with breathing during surgery) from the General Anesthesia -- this lasted 3 days. 48 hours after surgery, I did a (20 - 30 min) sitz bath with warm water then showered, as recommended. The baths were not painful & actually a little soothing. I was told that it is best to wash up with just warm water (no soap) for the first few days to prevent any irritation. I had very minimal blood spotting for the for the first 3 days. I did not have any gauze packing put in the wound, just dissolvable stitches, so I just continued with the sitz baths and eventually started using a mild unscented anti-bacterial soap (Dial brand).

I started to feel well enough to start moving around the house by the 5th day. Then suddenly, a few days later I woke up with a new shooting pain. This time the pain was mostly concentrated on the upper left labia area, not really on the wound. The pain was odd, it felt as if there were sharp knives underneath my skin and gave the sensation that my labia was being ripped & bleeding (but it wasn't). I mustered the courage to actually look at the wound with a mirror and it looked like my labia had been torn. I tried touching it but it felt completely numb & firm. The whole left side was inflamed and at this point, I was in excruciating pain and could not walk, sit or get myself out of bed so I rushed back to the Doctor. He didn't seem to have a clear answer as to why I was suddenly feeling worse than I was before & after surgery. He did say that perhaps I was experiencing this extraordinary pain due to the size of the cyst/gland that he had removed which he said was the size of his fist. He explained that everything in that area is connected so it is not surprising that I was feeling the pain in the labia and extending to the buttocks. He recommended that I rest as much as possible & take the pain medication every 4 hours instead of the 6 hours stated on the label -- that recommendation made a massive difference. It really helped to stay ahead of the pain by taking one Oxycodone & one Ibuprofen every 4 hours. This and lots of rest was the only thing that helped me stay in control of the pain.

By the 3rd week, the pain was much more tolerable and even my labia was starting to look natural again. I stopped taking the Oxycodone and kept up with just the Ibuprofen. I was able to walk a little bit by dragging my left leg. However, I noticed a very small pale yellow spotting so went back to the Doctor. They said the wound looked very clean but were not sure if the spotting was puss (which is very common for this type of wound) so they put me on 2 more antibiotics (Ciprofloxacin & Metronidazole) as a precaution for any possible risk of infection. The antibiotics are very strong and I threw up aggressively 5x in an hour on the first day that I took them. I started taking them separately after meals and that seemed to work for me.

At times, I really felt hopeless but I am now 4 weeks post op and feeling so much better. I still can not sit but can finally lay on my side, and walk using both legs with mild discomfort and occasional throbbing.

Overall Post Surgery Recommendations:

  • Bring a pillow for car ride home after surgery.
  • Keep the wound clean.
  • REST
  • Take the pain medications BEFORE you start feeling the strong pain (Ibuprofen worked better than any of the other pain medication!)
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take a Stool Softener
  • Sleep
  • Wear very loose cotton underwear and clothing.
  • Take it one day at a time

1 like, 5 replies

5 Replies

  • Posted

    thankyou so much for sharing your experience. it is so helpful to have some sort of idea of what may be coming and prepare!

    I have had a deep infected cyst for nine months! i havent had surgery yet as it has only just been discovered as the source of my pain and discomfort. i was thinking if it was deep the only surgical option available may be removal!

    • Posted


      Thank you for your feedback, I'm so glad you found the post helpful. I'm sorry to hear that you have been living with an infected cyst for 9 months -- they are so unbearably painful & debilitating!I've had several cysts over the years, and actually also had a deep Bartholin Cyst 2 years ago. It became infected so my doctor performed a Marsupialization surgical procedure. However, unfortunately a new cyst formed again in just two months so I ultimately decided to have the gland removed after getting the opinion of three doctors. Gland removal is considered the last resort. I would suggest looking into the Marsupialization surgery first before Gland Excision surgery as that may be an effective solution in your case. I hope you get the relief and treatment you need. Wishing you good health!

    • Posted

      im having my gland taken out because the cyst is apparently too deep for any other procedure! im nervous but so excited for this to be over!

      this condition is the worst 😦. skin started peeling off again from the cellulitis this morning

  • Posted


    thank you for sharing your experience. i pretty much went through everything you experienced. i had my excision in March this year and 4 months post op im still in pain and cannot have sex. the doctors arent able to give my any answers and I guess at this point i just want to know if it ever gets normal? any inputs that you might have ?

    thank you!

    • Posted


      i had my excision 3 months ago. just like you I am still in pain. Sex is absolutely not possible. Being aroused hurts, even without touching. It burns and feels like having a flare-up. it even burns when I have to pee.

      Sorry, this is a lot of information. But may I ask if you have the same pain?


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