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I had my first in January and I had never even heard of this before! At first I thought I'd had an in-grown hair or some such thing and within days I obviously knew it was something frightful. I thought my labia looked like the elephant man's disease! I could feel a lump the size of a marble and was very scared.
My doctor suggested I do the sitz baths with eposom salts and that, and I did every so many hours. I work from home and I'd sit in the tub with my laptop propped up on the toilet several times a day. Nothing worked.On New Years day I was in so much pain I went to Emergency and had it lanced.
What to expect when lanced: the exam is very quick, because it is very obvious. It's more embarrasing than anything. The part that can really hurt is when they give you the local anaethetic - its a very small needle and a very small amount, but they must prick you in several places there and it smarts. But honestly to me - no more than poking it with a fingernail, really. Still, both times I've had this done it helped to ask the nurse if I could hold her hand. It only took about oh, one or two minutes honestly.
Once you are lanced: the doctor will make an incision - but weirdly, because you are numb, you will be more freaked out by "feeling it", but there really isn't any pain. It's more anxiety than anything. It doesn't hurt. What DID kind of hurt was the last time where my doctor squeezed it like a huge zit, trying to squish out all the yucky - the doc before that did not do that, but instead had the nurse flush the wound out with saline and water several times before the cathedar insertion. It was not painful really, just super uncompfortable - like someone squeezing on a bruise you alaready have. Very annoying!
The cathedar insertion: This takes like 3 minutes maybe - I didn't feel him actually putting it in. Both times though, they said they had to cut me a little bit more again which made me very anxious. They have to make the cut big enough to intert it. When they cut you DO NOT MOVE around if you can help it. It's natural to freak out, but just pretend you are at the dentist - the less you move, the more accurate they are. Again - not painful, just freaky so just relax as best you can. I personally tense up my upper body and hold the nurse's hand and relax my lower half.
The whole procedure is done in 10-15 minutes.
You will feel IMMEDIATE relief. Yes, it's invasive, yes, it's unplesant, but I have never thought 'oh gosh, I regret this' at all afterward (physically anyway).
The Aftermath: the first time I was told to keep the cathedar in for ten days. The second time I was told to keep it in for 4-6 weeks! It is generally advised to keep it in for a month. The first one I had fell out in 3 days. The balloon and the inscision was too large I guess and it drained and fell out very quickly. My doc said I'd likely have a recurrance and he was right. Here I am 6 months later and here I go again...
However, this time, my doc made a smaller inscision that kept it in there. A Word Cathedar is very uncomprtable for some people - mine kept rubbing up against my clit and pee-hole (just being real, sorry!), and after a few weeks I thought I could cut it shorter.
The purpose of the cathedar is NOT drainage, acutally. You might look at it and think your yuck is draining from there, but it is not. It's actually draining from your cut only. The purpose of the cathedar is to make your bartholin gland bigger - so that it may drain better - and also maybe never close up again.
If the cathedar falls out too soon, there is a good chance you have a) not drained the yuck suffiently and/or b) will get it again because your opening shunk back to size for your lovely gland that is having the problem. So it is good to have a larger gland, as uncomfortable as that stupid tube is.
This last time around - I dont know if I made a mistake or not. I did not realiize that the tube was only there to make my gland more open. I thought it was a 'drainage tube'. Make no mistake - it is not. The thing that hangs out is only a "handle" for the thing keeping your bartholin gland hole open to heal you. If you remove it yourself, you risk getting another one.
Sometimes the Word Cathedar can simply fall out: if it does, a doc usually will not replace it. They might decisde to give you antibiotics, but that's rare if you have a good doc beause most of them will tell you that an issue that is 'encapsulated' cannot usually be addressed with drugs. It's not directly accessed by your blood stream. Isn't that great? Lame!!!
If you have a Word Cathedar in there and can't stant it anymore:
I would obviously advise you to go see a doc. Again, the earlier it comes out the more chance you have to get another cyst.
The tube that sticks out is only there to make the opening in the cut proper to heal right. Remove it too soon and you risk it closing quickly. The issue with that is that is has no drained like it should. That being said, I might have made mistake: but those who want to remove it themselves, it's actually very easy: I thought I could cut it shorter because I thought it was a drainage tube, and I was tired of it bothering me. So I took scissors and cut the tube near myself - and all of the saline immediately drained out and the balloon fell out.
The best thing to do is to squeeze out as much yuck as you can out of that opening if you wind up doing it yourself or having it fall out. Either way its best to follow up with a doc, nurse, or clinician. Last time I had a lump left over but it went away and I still had a reccurance. This time I feel no leftover lump, but that doesn't mean anything.
The best treatments I had during my experience was in my baths: 4 times a day, epsom salts and tee tree oil, and with my cath was ibuprofrin and cold compress.
DO NOT by any means do a cold compress with a cyst - it will only shrink the gland instead. It is as tdll as a tear duct, maybe smaller, It will only make it worse! I only advise that for healing with a cath!
Know that weirdly SO many women get this: my first one was when I was 34, and my GFs said they were in their 20s - god bless and good luck
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