I'm brand new to this and could use some support

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Hello everyone, 

I'm Tommi and I just discovered this site today. I'm a few months shy of 22 years old and am from California in the United States, if that makes any difference.

Last night I was very excited to have sex with my boyfriend after more than a week with no action on account of my period. I didn't have any problems really until after we were finished. We stopped because the condom broke and my vulva felt very hot and kind of burned. We were having pretty rough sex, so I didn't think much of it until my boyf said that my labia was very red. I look in the mirror and near fainted. I'm African American/Black, so seeing my normally brown right labia blood red was so scary! Both were also swollen to like 3x their normal size with a pea sized lump on the right one. I can be quite a worry wart, but this really terrified me. It was uncomfortable to walk and to sit because of the swelling. I haven't experienced any pain, but I'm still concerned about what this can turn into. 

I just knew something wasn't right. I took to google and quickly found out about BC and I had all the symptoms of an uninfected cyst. After reading about so many women's unfortunate experiences I was so upset that I woke my mom up to talk to her. I told her I was very scared that something was wrong and when I described the symptoms her face softened. It turns out that she had a cyst and a couple of abscesses that had to be lanced when she was my age. She even said it was called a "Bartholin something" which made me feel so relieved because I knew I wasn't a crazy self dx-er. She assured me it was nothing to cry over and told me about taking sitz baths in epsom salt and massaging the cyst. I had taken a picture of the area earlier that I showed to her and she said it was so small that there's a good chance it will go away from taking the sitz baths and massage alone. That all made me feel much better. But I'm still concerned... I made an appointment with my GP because that's who could see me the soonest (my usual gyno gal is a nurse practitioner and her office said I need to see someone with an MD and the GYNs in their office didn't have an opening for another 8 days). I will be going to the appointment day after tomorrow! They take plenty of money out of my mother's checks for health insurance so I'm gunna use it goddammit! 

Right now I'm concerned with prevention! I've already taken a sitz bath with epsom salt today and plan to take another one this evening. I've been drinking a lot of water and bought some comfy 100% cotton undies. I will be stocking up and getting rid of all my non-cotton ones. I've also been cleaning the area with witch hazel after I use the bathroom just in case. At this point I cannot see or feel the cyst. The swelling was pretty much completely gone when I woke up this morning. My bf says the right labia looks a teeny bit enlarged, but not noticibly. I've had some small bits of discomfort and strange feelings, but knowing myself that could easily be psychosomatic lol. 

What else can/should I be doing to help prevent an infection? Is this going to be a lifelong ailment? I'm shying away from sex for a while, but what about oral sex? Anal? If my cyst isn't even visible anymore is that a good or bad sign? Does it matter that I'm seeing an internal medicine doctor as opposed to a GYN? Any tips or secrets anyone can share?

I'm so thankful for this website and group. Just seeing all of these posts makes me feel so much less alone and like a freak. Any trouble in the more intimate parts of your body can be distressing, so I'm just glad this group exists. I never knew this existed or could happen until it happened to me. This place makes me feel so much less lost. If you made it all the way to the end, thank you for reading my long anxiety ridden ramble. 

<3, 

Tommi 

1 like, 8 replies

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    I never knew what it was until it happened to me...they began when I was 30 and I had it lanced several times, then marsupialization (which failed and was done correctly by my GYN) then I had the entire gland removed...every time it reared its ugly head it was right after sex with my husband of 10 years...it wasn't like we were being rough everytime...but FOR ME, none of those treatments worked, none of the sitz bath with or without epsum salts, or witch hazel or anything has worked. And my beautiful vagina, labia...well it will never be the same. I'm sorry to say that I too am looking for advice....even now that the gland has been removed I am told that the gland is very small and pieces of it can be missed or regrow
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    • Posted

      My biggest fear is disfigurment of my pretty kitty sad I'm sorry to hear that has happened to you *hugs* I wish I had some advice to give you. I can't imagine what an ordeal you been through. Please, try to keep your head up. Do you mind my asking what your husband feels about this situation? It's only been a day, but my bf felt awful for me yesterday and was very comforting today. I'm just worried about how this will affect our sex life and relationship...
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  • Posted

    Hi Tommi, I think you're doing the right thing by going to the doctor. I'm from New Zealand, so I'm not entirely sure what it's like in the states, but my GP who I went to initially then referred me to a gyno. The gyno recommended I get mine marsupialised (I think this is the right term?) and so I had surgery. I got this done when I was about 13 - it's been 10 years and I've never had a cyst down there again. If yours doesn't go away, I think you might want to consider getting it dealt with surgically. I've not tried sitz baths or any of the home remedy treatments because I didn't have to deal with it for very long before I had surgery. Hope this helps :-). 
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    • Posted

      Wow 13? I would've just about died if this happened to me at so young of an age. I'm a big girl who isn't afraid to bust it wide open for a doctor now, but as a young teen I would've probably been too shy and let things get worse. Major props to you for dealing with that! I honestly can't even see or feel my cyst now, so I'm hoping that's a good thing. My mom had one lanced and it never came back after that, so I'm hoping I have the same good luck and you and her have had(: Hearing that some people have relatively easy experiences is comforting, so thank you for that
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    • Posted

      Yep, it was mortifying. My GP was a guy at the time, too, so it was so awkward having him examine me. I told a grand total of one friend at school, and anyone else who asked why I'd taken a sick day just got told I had a cold or something. I wondered about the necessity of surgery, but I think my gyno at the time said that they can go away on their own, but the only way to make sure they don't come back is surgery. She said that I'd probably had it since I was a baby, but it had only appeared once I hit puberty. Nowadays I can't even see where it was, if there was a scar it's gone, and it's never interfered with my sex life. 
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    • Posted

      I'm really glad to hear that everything worked out for you. My biggest worry initially is what the effect on my sex life would be. My bf is such a good sport that he says he would be okay with it if we could never have sex again because I give great oral :P But still! Who would want that once you know how great it feels lol. This seriously assuaged a lot of trepidation for me. I know everyone is different, but this gave me hope that this isn't a life sentence
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    • Posted

      Thanks! I'm sure it'll work out for you too. I reckon your sex life will be fine - it's not contagious, and if you can't see it chances are he can't feel it or see it either. My boyfriend prefers oral to sex :P although I think it's because I'm not too big a fan of oral so he doesn't get it very often. Mines gone through thick and thin with me - I had a period of time in which I got pretty much constant yeast infections and so it really hurt when we had sex - and he's still sticking around. Anywho, best of luck :-)
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  • Posted

    I got my first ever one when I was 19 and I nicked myself shaving in that area of the gland with electric clippers. I had sex with my then boyfriend and the next day I was swollen and sore on the left side. I had it for 18 months, every month without fail. I went to the hospital once for the first ever one & it popped on its own, but after that I just went on with it, did warm salt baths every time. No one actually told me the exact name for it.. And I never thought to actually Google it either.. So one day after 18 months it disappeared.

    Seven years later, 6 weeks ago.. I go out of bed and felt pain in that area.. Felt and sure enough there was a lump which was sore.. I froze. Why after 7 years has it come back? Went to the doctor, explained what happened, 9 years before, what was happening now and she said 'it's a batholin cyst'.. Finally a name for it. She gave me antibiotics but said to come back in 2 days if no better. Two days later, I went back in tears because it was getting worse not better.. So I got a letter and off I went to the ED with my boyfriend. We sat in the treatment area, I got examined & then down came a gyno surgeon, who examined me again and said 'I'm having you admitted. We will do a marsipualization'. So they admitted me and I had the surgery the next morning.

    It's been 6 weeks this Sunday and I have yet to have any reoccurence. More times than not its successfully. I think sadly there is a handful where it's not. I've since had sex with no bad things happen & im on my first period since the last occurance ( I skipped my last period because I was going away on an 8 hour car trip & was 2 weeks out from surgery so I didn't want to play with fire.

    Surgery is a god send. I still have hot salt baths just to keep the area clean, even after sex. I respect any woman who has her own methods without surgery of getting rid of the sucker but I personally couldn't go through it all again.

    Good luck. Hopefully yours doesn't get worse.

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