My First Bartholin Cyst at 20

Posted , 4 users are following.

Today is Thursday, January 20th, 2022.

I'm here to write about my experience with my first Bartholin Cyst for any other young women who come to this site, like I did, in search of answers, validation, some sort of comfort.

I first got my bartholin cyst on December 8th, 2022. It was the night before my flight to visit my parents. I had invited my partner over, and we engaged in foreplay for the first time. This whole time, I felt this aching feeling in my vaginal opening. I've felt it before, when I'm really aroused with no relief, but this was a bit more intense than before. As he was fingering me, I felt myself fill up and the aching became painful. I told him to stop. It was pretty late in the evening, so I told him it was time to go. I knew something was wrong when even as I was walking him down the stairs, the aching was still there, and quite uncomfortable.

I had to sleep with my legs open, and with a little bit of sleep while in a lot of pain, I waddled through the airport and onto my flight. It hurt to sit and walk.

When I arrived at my parents house, I was tired and in pain. I barely remember the day; just taking a shower and getting in bed. My step-mom hooked me up with a doctor. I went to the doctor's office a few days later-- which was tricky as I had travelled within 14 and you know how COVID-19 restrictions are. Because I was also on my period by the time I saw the doctor, she couldn't look at it, and just prescribed me anti-biotics, citing how common it was and making jokes about how girls would waddle into her office just like I did.

The anti-biotics took down the cyst (which I suspect was an abcess) quite a bit. After a week of anti-biotics, instead of a painful golf ball sized cyst, I just had a small grape. But it was still there. So I visited the doctor again, expecting her to drain the remaining fluid. But she just told me to leave it alone, and that it would go away on its own, and booked me in a month's time for a pelvic exam/first gynaecologist visit, as I would be "at that age" now.

Okay, so now we're two weeks in. The cyst is still there. And it has gotten a little bigger, bit by bit. What no one tells you is that if you are aroused, whether it be with a partner or by yourself, your Bartholin gland will secrete lubrication. And that will continue to fill your cyst. Which is what happened to me.

On the fourth week, I end up flying back to my home country, with the cyst a bit bigger.

I called a walk-in clinic. Because of COVID-19 I can't walk in; I have to book a phone call appointment with the doctor. Over the phone, they prescribed me another set of anti-biotics, which I started taking. A few days later, no changes. I also saw my partner a few times; no sex, just intimate touching, and I could feel my cyst filling up. I could walk and sit, but I could feel my labia filling up and stretching. It was quite uncomfortable. This is now five weeks after December 8th, when it first became a cyst.

Eventually, I went to the hospital. The emergency department to be exact.

There, a nice doctor explained to me all about the cyst, and the two procedures he could do, and the experiences of the patients he had treated with them. Instead of the word catheter, which is common, he gave me a Jacobi ring. I was spread-eagled on the table, a nurse helped open the area, and said I could hold on to her arm.

"I feel for you, girl," she said.

The doctor was surprised it was so big, and that they had been giving me anti-biotics to treat it. "Anti-biotics only take down the initial infection, but it won't treat the actual cyst. With all cysts, they have to be drained."

They gave me local anaesthia with a needle, which hurt. And then he did the procedure.

I watched it happen. I don't want to traumatize anyone further. You can imagine what it was like.

It sucked, but I did feel immediate relief.

He told me to leave the ring in for a week, and come back and see him on Saturday. If I could leave it in longer, he said to do that.

I walked home the happiest girl in the world until the anaesthia wore off. The area was so sore and tender, and in pain. I was basically on my back for three days-- during which I also got my period, and then a cold, and then started my courses. FML!!

It burned to pee, too. After about three days it got better. It still burns to pee, but I can massage the area and touch it, so long as I don't move the ring. The cyst part, which doesn't feel like a cyst anymore, is kind of hard on the inside, and just there. I'm not sure what that means.

Now, here I am, two days before Saturday, contemplating if I should leave it in with hopes that it will somehow increase my chances of never having to go through this again, or take it out, to begin my healing process "sooner".

I think the worse part of this is that it almost feels like a chronic illness. There's no "cure", you can't prevent it, it happens to a small amount of women, and it's not a pleasant experience. It's also in a very private area, so it's not easy to talk to others about this.

For me, it's really been the anxiety that has bothered me the most.

The pain, I can handle, especially knowing that there will be an end to it. But not knowing if I'll have to go through this again? That's been the hardest. The lack of knowledge? Like, even doctors don't really seem to know what they're doing. Everyone talks about their experience with it coming back, but I haven't seen anyone say they've been cyst free for years.

Then, there's sex. Sex is great, let's be honest. But there's a fear that I won't be able to have sex again, not like before. Like, there will always be this worry that sex will cause me enduring pain. Not that it's the reason for the cyst, but it's associated now, you know? Even me getting slightly aroused kissing my partner made the cyst refill. I do have to remember that was before treatment. But it's scary to think of the future. I feel a lot of insecurities coming up; I feel like pushing away my partner. How can he want to be with me when I'm like this? And if it keeps coming back, won't he want to leave? I really don't want to live in fear.

I don't know if this helped anyone, but it helped me to write it all out. It feels like no one really cares or understands. It's really just me, here. With that being said, I have to give myself grace and go easy on myself. You should too. I know you're looking for answers, more information. But I don't know if endless scrolling will help.

Just take care of yourself, love. This isn't easy.

0 likes, 3 replies

3 Replies

  • Posted

    gosh im so sorry you had to go through all that. hows it holding up now??

  • Posted

    Hopefully you're one of the lucky ones who never get it again. I suffered with it for years trying every single damn home remedy with no relief. Countless lancings and marsupializations later, I was lucky to find an oncologist gynocologist in my area and she excised it. She was more knowledgeable than my other regular gyns I visited, who would just slice and dice me and just send me on my way with no real resolution. I wish I would've done it sooner and not suffered for 8 years with it. At first, I didn't want to do surgery and wanted to stick to the natural route but it wasn't working out for me. Honestly, I believe if you have a recurring and stubborn cyst, excision is the way to go. Suffering with it is just not okay. It can be really depressing. But do your research. I promise there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And finally, if your partner isn't understanding, they're not it. I hope you're feeling better now and best of luck!

  • Posted


    Hi, your story sounds just like mine. I had my first BC at 20 years old as well. The "filled up" sensation, sleeping with legs open to avoid discomfort in the crotch, and the waddling sound all too familiar. I've had over 5 drainage surgeries with catheters put in. I couldn't find any home remedies online, the bath salt tub sitz did nothing and the BC just kept coming back, sometimes when it showed up it filled up within a week.

    One or two times when it was small, I went to the doctors for antibiotics and the cyst went away on its own. I was getting them almost once a year, I couldn't keep going through the procedures and the pain. I was also afraid of enjoying sex too much at times out of fear of a BC appearing afterward.

    It's been 3 amazing years since I've had a BC!

    Here are 2 things that work for me when I feel "filled" or "heavy" in one or both labia's. Sometimes getting that sharp pain.

    (After intercourse, masturbation or intense arousal)

    I either:

    1.) Shower- After sex I jump in the shower, standing on one leg I prop up my other leg on the wall so the shower head lets water fall directly on my crotch. I gently rub my crotch under the water on either sides of the labia. Your vaginal fluids feel slippery under the running water, its easier faster and more comfortable to use your fingers than any cloth to clear the fluids. You'll no longer feel the slipperyness under the water when its all gone.

    2.) Damp Paper towels- If you can't take a shower or don't have one at the time use a damp paper towel.

    I use about 2-3 paper towel sheets folded on top of each other to make one and then get it damp. Using either my index or middle finger I start at a corner of the paper towel and place it on my finger like a mask. I then insert my finger in the space at the bottom of the crotch close to the labia (not sure of the proper name){but there's enough space to put your finger in] with the damp paper towel around it (do not wrap) fluids will cling to the wet paper towel. I just move my finger around in the space to get fluids out and keep doing this on both sides of either labia until the paper towel comes out clean. sometimes using up to 6-8 sheets of paper towel (its okay).

    Every once in awhile I'll use a damp paper towel in the morning after I wake up.

    Doing these two things has kept BC's at bay for me for years. When I got my first one I came running to forums like this one. I'm hoping this helps you or anyone reading this because no one should go through this pain! it's horrible and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. if you have any questions or just want to talk please feel free to reach out to me!

    Best of luck, C.

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the community to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the community are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the community is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.