Scalpel + Vagina = A Painful Week

In the spirit of sharing personal experiences around reproductive health, here is a window into my week–a week filled with swelling, infection, scalpels, heat pads, pain and frustration.  Oh, my poor, poor vagina.

For 5-6 years I’ve had a Bartholin Gland Cyst in my lower labia.  No big deal.  Usually it’s the size of a grape, and although I can feel it from the outside, it gives me no discomfort or trouble.

And to be clear, this type of cyst is benign, common, and of no serious concern medically.  It’s merely a clogged duct that will likely drain itself over time.

Unless you’re me.

Last weekend, it began to swell.  And swell and swell and swell.  And hurt and hurt and hurt.  By Wednesday, I found myself at the OB/GYN, wimpishly asking for help.  I’d been doing all the right things–hot baths, compresses, resting.  So I fully expected the doctor to take a look, reassure me, and send me home.

Instead, he and the nurse gasped when I opened my legs.  She quickly assembled a tray of equipment and he superficially explained what was about to happen.  The cyst was too inflamed for anesthetized surgery at the hospital, and instead he would “incise and drain” it.  What he really meant was that he was about to slice my vagina open and squeeze the cyst mercilessly with his fist.

All I remember hearing was, “Seven blade, please.”  And then ensued 15 of the most painful minutes of my life.

And the kicker?  In order for the cyst to continue to drain, a catheter was inserted, which will stay in place for 4 weeks.  That’s right–a catheter inside my vagina, draining cyst-goo out my hoo-ha for a month.

I went back to the doc Friday, because after 2 days of “healing,” nothing had improved.  I was given the option to have him go back into the cyst with a plyer-like instrument to break up the infected tissue (ha!), or to have immediate surgery, or to wait the weekend out for improvement and go ahead with surgery on Monday if needed.  I reluctantly decided to wait, thinking I should try to be patient, despite my aching desire to just get this ordeal over with an have the surgery right away.

Maybe I’m being a melodramatic wuss.  But in the time since this procedure happened on Wednesday, things haven’t improved much.  I’ve been flat on the couch for 4 days, unable to sit, stand or walk due to the pain.  And if I’m not healed by Monday morning, I’ll be admitted to the hospital for surgery to remove the entire cyst.  At this point, I wish we’d gone ahead with that yesterday when the doctor gave me the option.


17 responses to “Scalpel + Vagina = A Painful Week

  1. I’m so sorry for your poor vulva!

  2. One of my close female relatives had to have hers removed after years of the draining and catheters. I think you’re making the best choice for speedy healing! Xo

  3. OMG! Have the surgery and done with this torture. So sorry!

  4. Oh no, hope you’re feeling better soon. Thanks for sharing these personal details with us.

  5. Thanks for sharing this info . Most women don’t know anything about this condition. And it is not that uncommon. We all need to be more knowledgable about our bodies. I hope you heal rapidly and get back to your fabulous self !

  6. I have one too. I’m sorry to hear yours took a turn for the worst I hope you feel better

  7. Pingback: Update on My Painful Week: Gynecological Surgery is the Scariest Thing Ever, and the Best Thing Ever. | CUNTastic

  8. Pingback: It’s Been Four Weeks, and I’m Still Scared to Use My Vagina. | CUNTastic

  9. Wow, I have one right now that started giving me trouble about a week ago & as of today it hurts to sit, walk, etc, and when I have to urinate I dread it & don’t want to have to touch the area. I’m miserable, I plan to call my doc in a few minutes when they are back from lunch & try & get an emergency visit. And I hope he can see me soon because I will have my monthly visitor in about 6 days or so, UGH..

  10. Just found your blog, I’m having a similar problem right now too. It just started swelling the other day and is not very painful right now but I’m concerned (especially since we have no insurance right now). Glad to hear the surgery got rid of this issue for you and you once again have a happy vagina.

  11. Its been 1 week today that i had the surgery to remove the gland, didnt have much pain day of…cause of still being numb, but the next day was rough. But im doing slightly better, the main problem im havin now is that the stitches are super itchy and sometimes painful, but they are comin out on thurs. 🙂

    • OUCH !
      Poor Girl !
      So very sorry that you are having Yoni issues again.
      Did your doc recommend Sitz baths??
      These are very soothing when necessary, although with the drainage catheter in place it may be contraindicated. Due to infection risk.
      Although , remember this is not a sterile field you are dealing with, It is considered ” clean ” in medical terms. just fyi 🙂
      If you can do a sitz bath, salt water with colloidal silver and calendula is soothing and speeds healing.

      Healing thoughts going out to you dear one !

      Jeanne R.N. OB-Gyn

  12. Oh I feel so bad for u. I have experienced the same issue and went through the same procedure. For me going to the ER after going through unbearable pain my pain was relieved after the slice to the cyst. Ur blessed bc my catheter needs to stay in for six weeks my ob says. Nothing worked hot baths, warm rags etc. Although putting vasiline on it gave me mins of relief from the pain. So now pain meds and antibiotics for two weeks for me. Hope urs worked out for u. Woman goes through alot, we r strong god created creatures.

  13. I had the same thing happen. The worst pain I have ever had in my life. 6 trips to the doctor to keep draining, the catheter fell out & I couldn’t even sit at work (talk about an awkward convo as to why I needed a standing desk!) It’s back & I am so scared to go to the doctor tomorrow. I’m almost hoping for surgery as an option to never have to worry about it coming back again, so this entry made me feel better!

  14. Ooo I think I have what you do, I’ve just discovered thats what it was called, and plan tip get it drained, as its made mostly every intimate encounter extra insecure for me^_^ ive head mine for 8 years lol

  15. You have to go back, you see, because your doctor did not poke your inflamed abscess enough! They poked mine in four different places and squeezed and squeezed and all without anaesthetic (topical didn’t do a damn thing) (they said the puss came out “like a geyser.” Charming!) (I screamed the longest and loudest screams of my life). And now we know what it feels like to have a bullet dug out of our guts on the battlefield during the Civil War. But without the whisky.

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