I'm MISERABLE !!!!!!! - My Bartholin abscess experience so far

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Hello to any lady who will dedicate her time to reading my post ❤️. It might turn into a long one because I feel hopeless and I want to pour my emotions out in this post.

I'm a 29-year old woman living in Sweden. I had my first ever Bartholin cyst when I was about 20-21. It was on the right side. I find my case very strange though because the majority of comments from women experiencing this and trying to find the root cause of it allude to having sex after which their cysts and abscesses flare up. However in my case I started my sex life quite late. I was 25 to be more precise when I met my current boyfriend with whom I started having sex. So when I got my first Bartholin cyst, I was a virgin so to say :>. Moreover, I've never had any vagina related infection. I was a healthy young girl and ready for a beautiful life ahead of me. Hence, my first Bartholin cyst came out of nowhere. It was a rather small but hard bump which caused me a bit of pain. Maybe 5 days later it popped on its own and a bloody, smelly, yellowish discharge came out of it. I did not go to a gynecologist however... Miraculously I was free from this problem for about 6-7 years. So even after I met my boyfriend, we were able to enjoy a healthy sex life for approximately 3 years of being together which, considering were we're at right now, is nice and I will always cherish this :}}

However, "all the good things must come to an end", right? It definitely did for me. About 2-1,5 years ago my Bartholin cyst came back. That time it was a bit worse compared to the first one. It was bigger, more painful, I had a harder time walking and sitting, and when it popped again on it's own, even more blood and puss-filled discharge came out. Probably worth mentioning that by this time I had bacterial vaginosis and bladder inflammation (although nobody can tell, but I think that these might have affected why I got Bartholin again). Anyways, that Bartholin infection scared me and I ended up getting antibiotics from a gynecologist. After taking them, I was free from it for about 8-10 months. It came back again and this time even more worse. When it popped after about 5 days of torturing me, the pressure from the stream of blood and puss made me weak that I almost fainted. I was prescribed antibiotics again. To make matters worse, I was diagnosed with a Bartholin cyst on my left side in the meantime, which was not infected... (then) .

Unfortunately, 2-3 months later I had another infection on my right side. This was February 2022. However this time I could not afford waiting for it to pop on its own again at home. It was HUGE! My vagina on the right side got all swollen. My hands were shaking when I looked in the mirror and saw how the infection was progressing. I could not sit, walk or lay down without excruciating pain. I could not sleep because of pulsating pain due to the swelling. I could not stop tears running out of my eyes. I ended up going to an emergency late at night (probably close to midnight). The doctor made a small incision to drain the abscess and I went home. 2 weeks later it came back again yet more worse. This time I even had fever about 38,5 C°. I was shivering. My vagina got swollen badly once again. The abscess was increasing in size right before my eyes. I rushed to emergency again. This time I had my first ever Word catheter. The doctors and the nurse who worked on inserting it were very nice to me. They said I can take it out after 4 weeks and showed me how to do it. It was painful however to have this foreign object inside of my body, especially for the first 2-3 weeks. I was taking pain killers to alleviate the pain. After having the catheter for about 3 weeks and getting used to it, I started to feel strange pain. I walked into the bathroom, started touching it and I could feel a hard bump forming behind the balloon. It was another infection. It started to drain after 4 days.

After taking out this first catheter I felt good. Although I had stinging pain in the gland when I was getting horny and also from a clitoris orgasm. It was quite unbearable. So, as ridiculous as it sounds, I was trying to avoid getting horny. This pain started to get better about 1 month post catheter removal. In the meantime, the bartholin cyst on the left side increased. I think it was due to sex. The hard lump stayed for about 1 month.

Sadly, my problems did not end here. 3 months post catheter removal I got my 4th Bartholin abscess on the right side. This was July 2022. My temperature jumped to 39 C°. Once again I rushed to emergency where I gotmy 2nd Word catheter. This time the experience was traumatising. Before giving me local anesthesia, the doctor decided to squeeze the puss out. There're no words to describe the pain I felt. I was shocked and unprepared since I was not handled like that during my 1st catheter insertion. I started shaking in that chair, my legs started shaking too and the doctor looked at me with frowned eyebrows... I was in so much stress... Why would she squeeze the abscess if she knew she would give me local anesthesia and I would feel nothing after the medication would kick in???? By the way, she actually wanted to cut me open and insert the catheter without anesthesia. She was applying some gel on my vagina and as I was laying there I wondered "what is going on? what is she doing?". So I asked if she's gonna give me anesthesia. Her rather arrogant and discontent answer was that "my experience proves that women experience the needle as more painful compared to the cut of the scalpel". Something inside of me made me doubt this. I am so glad I trusted my gut feeling and demanded anesthesia. Everything was so swollen and painful there that a needle was just a tiny tiny pinch. I do not know how it would've been with the scalpel and no medication, which I am happy about. But I was still feeling enormous pain from all the squeezing of the puss she did before. After finishing her job, she also left that tube of the catheter outside of my vagina. The previous time, the doctor put the catheter inside the vagina so it wouldn't touch my legs and cause me discomfort. I asked her to do it this time too and she said "it will fall out anyways". However, it didn't. Sad that we women who are already in so much pain and suffering have to meet doctors who do not sympathise with you. It can be very difficult for a sensitive person, like me. I went back to my boyfriend who was waiting in the car. My legs and hands were still shaking from this experience. I burst into uncontrollable crying. I could not utter a word. I was screaming in the car. My poor lovely boyfriend was shocked too and tried to calm me down. However, I continued crying as we drove back home and cried at home too until I finally calmed down. I was supposed to keep this 2nd catheter for 4 weeks, as usual I guess, but I ended up keeping for 6 weeks instead. The reason is because once again, there was another infection forming behind the balloon...

While I had the 2nd catheter, I started desperately looking for other treatments as I realized the catheter is not going to solve my problem. I knew from researching earlier that there is a so called CO2 laser treatment for these glands. Unfortunately, no such option is available in Sweden. I looked for clinics in Europe. I found 2 in Italy, wrote to them but never received a reply. I continued searching and this time tried Spain. I found 2 clinics in Barcelona. Both of them replied!!!! I was so happy just to receive a reply from someone!!! I am glad that they also replied in English :}}. However, after communicating with one of the clinics and almost booking a flight to go for a consultation, there next message was that "we can't help you, because the doctor who does CO2 laser procedure does not work here anymore". I found this very strange, because on their website they have a seperate page where they present this procedure in greater detail. Till this day I think it was because of communication and because of all the inconvenience I was causing to them as I was not in Spain.

Anyways, I continued my communication with the second clinic. I booked an appointment on 10th of October. In the reviews on Google I also found a girl who did this procedure. It was not easy to find here contacts, but my boyfriend managed to find an email. I wast not sure if it was hers, but wrote to her regardless. She replied!!!!!!! She was so nice, I can't even describe. You seldom happen to meet truly kind people who are genuinely willing to help you. But there she was - a woman who has suffered from this problem for over 10 years and was almost 1 year post CO2 laser procedure. She was even so kind as to suggest to accompany me to my consultation and help to communicate with the doctor.

As all this happened, I was free from my 2nd Word catheter. However, I was not free from pain. I do not know why, but ever since I took the catheter out, I started to feel an intense burning pain in the area where the catheter was placed. Sometimes the pain is pretty sharp. The worst thing is that it is always there, turturing me everyday. I went to a gynecologist 3 weeks later after I took the catheter out realising that something is not quite right (I did not experience this after my 1st catheter). I was told that she has no clue why it hurts because there is no puss there now and the cut is healing nicely. She said that it's maybe because the gland was healing from the inside. However, almost 3 months after removing my 2nd catheter I still have this pain. EVERYDAY!!! I am so exhausted from it. Pain killers are not helping so there is no point it taking them. I also got very horny last weekend, but I had to force this feeling to stop because the pain in the gland was so sharp, so intense. Also (because of getting horny or I don't even know why), my left gland increased. Yesterday for the first time since I was diagnosed with a Bartholin cyst on this side, blood and puss started to drain from it. It drained a bit today too. So my vagina is on fire because of the pain on the left gland and the chronic pain on the right side after removing the catheter. Because of all these problems and how I feel, I haven't had sex with my boyfriend since July. Not even a clitoris orgasm because it causes excruciating pain/stinging in the right gland. What's supposed to give me pleasure, gives me only pain. I am so sad that this is where were're at right now in our relationship. I am dealing very badly with this whole situation psychologically. After trying to live some kind of life during the day, I end up crying in bed before going to sleep because I am tired of the pain and suffering. I cry at different points during the day also... I feel so sorry for my boyfriend who tries to calm me down without succeeding...

I did go to Barcelona on 10th of October and I did meet with that wonderful girl I mentioned. We went to the doctor together. I find out that the doctor can only do the CO2 laser treatment when I have the abscess. Actually the bigger the abscess is, the better it is for her because then she can see the walls of the abscesses and the gland itself. I was sad to find this out, because this means that I will need to take a 3,5 hour flight with a huge infection. I have no idea how I am going to do this and if do it at all. But I really want to finish what I started with this CO2 laser treatment and actually do it. My gynecologist in Sweden said that since I had 5 infections from February the next procedure for me is marsupialization. But I don't want to do it just yet. First, I want to try this CO2 laser. I have nothing to lose anyways, just a bit of money. But it does not really matter for me on which operation table to lay down. It's either a CO2 laser or the marsupialization. However, the CO2 laser is not as invasive as marsupialization is as it does not need stitches and consequently does not leave scars. That's one of the reasons why I want to try it first. Maybe this will be the solution for me. I can always get sliced and have marsupialization if the CO2 laser does not work. But I do not know if I'm gonna make it to Barcelona when I have my 6th Bartholin abscess... I guess I will figure this out relatively soon considering the times it reoccurs for me.

So this is where I am at right now. The quality of my life has been ruined by this problem, as it has for many of you. I will go to a gynecologist on Monday regarding this chronic pain in my right gland... However, I doubt I will get it solved. I made a post about it in this group, but got no replies. Can it be that I am the only one experiencing this pain? Maybe.

Thank you so much once again if you read this post. I tried to make it as chronological as possible for it to be more understandable. I know it is not very helpful, but I just wanted to get some of the things of my chest by writing it. Not that it will change anything sadly... I get so hopeless realising that I will also be one of these poor women who suffer from this problem for decades.. Why should it be otherwise for me? I can only hope that I do not go insane :}}}

0 likes, 6 replies

6 Replies

  • Posted

    hello emma ! i am 34 years old and dealing with my second bartholin gland abcess . i am happy to respond to your article although it being an unfortunate similarity of ours. . It's been some time . I had my first scare about 10 years ago... I went to the emergency and they got me into a gyno and surgery within a week.... I was on auto pilot. had the entire gland removed. Never had I ever heard about the gland, but I was aware it could happen again. So here I am and this time in a relationship ship. which your lucky your man is very supportive and helps calm you down... curious how your story has been . very interesting about the laser method I have never heard of that yet... but I can say from experience the balloon catheder. I have had in for 3 days. has been terribly uncomfortable compared to the removal of the Gland. I look forward to saying bye to this bartholin gland problem.. and I wish they would find a better less invasive and painful way to relieve what seems to be a rare but reoccurring issue for women in prime baby making ages...

    I feel your frustration. and hope your doing better and that we all have less visits from the bartholin csyters

    • Posted


      How are you doing? When did you have gland removal? How are you feeling and how was your healing?


  • Posted


    Thank you replying and for reading this post I wrote. I believe it was at one of the lowest points of my Bartholin gland experience that I wrote this...


    I don't have much news to share. I haven't done the laser yet. It has to do a lot about perfect timing in terms of when the abscess starts to develop and the point of getting an appointment and actually having the procedure done. I missed doing the laser 2 times already just because the abscesses started growing right before the weekend and both times they burst on Monday /Tuesday. So I didn't even bother contacting the clinic for an appointment because I knew I won't make it with an abscess still there. They can't do the laser if the cyst/abscess is not there. Just like with the other procedures (catheter, marsupialization). I was hoping to get it done quicker.


    However, even until this point, my last abscess was in April. This is the longest period I've been abscess-free since the time it all started and became a 2-3 month thing. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the next time it comes, I make it to the clinic for the laser. I really wanna try this procedure.


    I also have to deal with a Bartholin cyst on my other side. That one I get every time after sexual arousal and clitoris orgasm. Me and my boyfriend don't even reach the point of having sex, because sexual arousal and clitoris orgasm is already painful to me and results in a cyst. So, we just stopped with anything sexual... I am devastated by this whole thing. It's hard to think and expect anything positive out of this in terms of our relationship... But so it is...


    How are you doing so far? Has the catheter become more comfortable? Do you mean that you had your entire gland removed and you still have a cyst/an abscess on that side?


    Stay strong ❤️. We're all suffering because of this...

  • Posted

    Okay, I just found this forum. I've dealt with Bartholin Cysts for almost 30 years and it looks like we have fairly similar experiences. Short answer is that I found strength training, specifically heavy deadlifts and squats to be most beneficial. I believe it's because they strengthen the pelvic floor (way more than kegels!) and it just makes everything down there work again, including sex and hormones.

    It started I think with a bacterial infection from a yeast infection in my 20s. I never really had an active sex life because I was embarrassed by the cysts. I've been to so many doctors and had so many surgeries that I'm not sure if my recount will be all correct. I'm in the US so our health system is different so some experiences are different. The first time I got a cyst an emergency doctor lanced it and it was gone and then the other side grew and by the time I got an appointment it had already exploded and the doctor said there was nothing to be done if it was gone. I was sent to a dermatologist and she gave me acne treatment and an attitude, anyways. Later, I got it again and the same thing happened where it exploded before I could get a doctor to see it. I was told it comes and goes and not to mind it if it isn't painful, but for most of my adult life it was an embarrassing and uncomfortable part of me. Doctors here are often dismissive and unable to answer a lot of questions. I had a lot of difficulty pre-internet understanding anything about my condition. It was often assumed I had an STD and it was frustrating to get tested over and over despite my assertion it's not an STD. I really hated going to the doctor so it had to be painful for me to go.

    But it was also uncomfortable. I had some really bad depression and gained a lot of weight and then I decided to get off the couch and started walking. I got bored and started running. Running was the only time I didn't feel it. I was going crazy because I could feel it sitting, standing, lying down; but running I didn't feel it so I ran for a few years to get some sanity. It got worse as I ran more distance because the infection got worse. I started to smell really bad during COVID because all I was doing was running. I got lanced several times during the pandemic, wore a catheter twice and it fell out because my doctor wasn't available for months at a time, and I was marsupialized twice. I was told I was a superhealer. I was told to do kegels, I took several antibiotics and antifungal drugs and pain killers. They lanced me without anesthetics and I did feel good because the pain was so bad that being stabbed wasn't so bad!!! One time I did go home crying and shaking and my husband said it was because I was undergoing so many surgeries together.

    Running wasn't solving the problem, surgeries, medication, kegels, whatever else I did. I ran so much I started strength training to keep running and I wanted to get stronger so that I could keep running so I was progressing into heavy lifting. Finally, a gynecologist suggested doing deadlifts. She knew I was a dedicated runner and said it would strengthen my pelvic floor more than kegels. So I started doing deadlifts and, I swear, as soon as I could deadlift my weight the cysts became much more managable. I still am a little misshapen but the cysts come and go much more easily. It's been a blissful full year and I haven't seen a doctor since. I finally feel normal so I'm looking to share my experience. It isn't usual and I don't know how likely you'll get into a weight room, but it has given me some sense of normalcy. And I can have sex without embarrassment, which has actually really meant a lot for me and my husband. Maybe if our experiences are similar you'll be motivated to strength train at least to maintenance.

    Let me know what you think. No matter what you do, you have someone who understands on the other side of the pond.

    Catherine Beverstock

    • Posted

      Hi Catherine,

      Thank you reading my comment and for sharing your story. I'm currently having another Bartholin abscess on my right gland as I write to you. I'm suffering greatly and I'm also crying desperately and hopelessly as I write this... It has grown in size considerably in just 2 days and it's painful to walk and sit.


      I started a new job just 2 weeks ago and I'm dreading to tell I'm sick and not go to work because I already lost one job because of this after having worked for only a week. The employer said it was unacceptable that I got sick so early and asked me to resign.


      I understand what you went through with this problem. To have this for 3 years as in my case is horrible and you had it for 30... I fear I will also deal with this for the rest of my life. I don't think I've been so unhappy in my life before. I've had health problems, but they were solvable. This thing is becoming unbearable and I feel I'm on my way to a nervous breakdown.


      I'm not sure if I should go to get it drained. I've definitely had worse abscesses which HAD to be drained. So I fear that this time it might be more painful to get it drained at ER than to wait at home for it to burst. However, I'm scared that it will burst at work.. Maybe tomorrow and tomorrow I need to be out of the office and meet people....


      I actually work out already and train my pelvic area. However, I have a back injury, so doing something heavier is not recommended. But thank you so much for dedicating your time to suggest this to me. I truly appreciate ❤️.

      We need to share our discoveries about how to deal with this with other women. Maybe it will help to someone 🙏


      Very deep inside I just wish that there was a permanent and definitive solution to this... 😢

  • Edited


    Firstly, thank you so much for sharing. I had to reply after reading your story. I am 22 years old and am currently on #… i couldn’t even tell you. I started getting a bartholin cyst on my left side in maybe 2020 or 2021? I had it a couple times, maybe 2-3, before going to a doctor and getting it drained for the first time in Jan 2022.

    After speaking with a doctor I began tracking & writing notes about my experience when I would get the cysts.

    I should’ve gone back.. but just due to life I didn’t and I had it an additional 5 times in 2022. I had almost forgot about the reoccurring cysts (as much as I could lol) until I got my current one.

    Of course they were super painful, but I noticed with my current cyst and the last one that each time it came back it moved slightly inner towards my labor minora. Whereas the previous ones were in the same spot, but the lump was more under my outer lips

    (if that makes sense, basically just more painful😭)

    This time I had no choice but to contact the doctor and am currently waiting on a response to see if they can fit me in the OR for marsupialzation in three days. Who knows if i’ll make it. If it doesn’t pop own I can get it drained again., but I just wanna be done with it😩

    I FEEL YOUR PAIN!! You’re not alone, and this hurts but it does feel good to know I’m not alone🩷

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