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Bartholin's Cyst Drainage and Marsupialization

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I am now 32 years old, and have had Bartholin Cysts on both sides since I was about 17 or 18 (before I was sexually active). I have found that sexual arousal increases the size of the cysts, and they will slowly grow in size over the course of a few months. As long as they do not enlarge in a short course of time (which is indicative of an infection, and you need antibiotis to fight the infection) I can drain them on my own.

The left gland only has a partially blocked duct, so if I am in the shower, or just after a warm sitz bath, I can apply pressure to the gland, and I can depress the fluid out. It should be a relatively clear, mucousy discharge. If it is not, then you might need to get to a doctor to get some antibiotics and a culture. But, manual manipulation will decrease the size of my left gland.

However, the duct of my right gland is completely blocked. This requires a little more drastic measure to drain the cyst. If you are squeemish, please stop reading this paragraph, and continue onto the next paragraph. I go on ebay, and purchase about 10 needles at a time. Make sure when you get them, that the paper appears to never have been wet, and there is a good seal on the needles, or do not use them!!! I would suggest buying somewhere around a 22gauge needle. You need it to be large enough, to have a decent size hole in the middle, to let the fluid escape. My first gyno at 18 taught me how to drain it. She said, make sure to take a shower, and wash everything good. Then, after you are dry, take a cotton ball with a very mild hand soap on it (I use Ivory hand soap) and wash the area, pretty close to the vaginal opening. Then use a couple more cotton balls with warm water to rinse the area. (Its almost like you are cleaning for a urine specimin, but in a slightly different area.) Then, pull back on the labia, to expose the inner area. I generally sit backwards over the toilet, with a mirror between the seat and toilet basin, so I can see. You can see the difference between the two types of skin, with a sort of line as they change appearance. You want to be on the inner type of skin. Imagine the Bartholin's cyst as a little water-balloon just under the skin. You want to press the needle directly into the cyst. The pressure inside the cyst will push liquid out the hole of the needle. Does the needle hurt? Yes. It sometimes takes me several minutes to get up the nerve to push the needle in. But, the relief is almost instantaneous as the fluid drains out. It will kindof drip out the end of the needle. Normal, uninfected fluid should be a relatively clear, mucousy consistency. Once it slows down, you can put a little pressure on the gland, and maybe push a little more out. I can get the size down to about a grape, by using the needle. You cannot get all the fluid out, because the needle will start to rub against the inner walls of the cyst, and you don't want to cause damage. If the fluid is green, or smells, or has more of a puss-like consistency...immediately go to the doctor, because it is not normal fluid build-up, but rather an infection. Again, please make sure to dispose of any used needles in a safe manner. My local casino has sharps containers on the walls of their bathrooms (I guess for all the older patrons with diabetes.) However, if you do not have access to a sharps container, then place the needles in a very sturdy container, such as an empty film container, like the 35mm or Advantix films came in, tape the lid shut, and write “SHARPS” on the tape. Then it can be tossed into the trash.

In about 15 years of double Bartholin Cysts, I have only had 2 infections. An infection has a tendency to grow exponentially fast (in under a week becoming so painful that you cannot sit, stand, walk...) and needs to be immediatly treated by a doctor. But, if it just slowly grows and accumulates fluids, you can manage them on your own. I do not have any insurance, so spending a few bucks on ebay, has allowed me to handle most situations myself.

But, in dealing with them on my own for 15 years now, I am ready to actually have surgery to hopefully eliminate the problem. I will be scheduled for a double marsupialization sometime in the next month. I can handle quite a bit of pain, and it should be relatively short-lived, right after surgery. But, my question is, for those who have had marsupialization of their Bartholin glands, how big has the resultant opening been. I have heard anywhere from healed completely/cant’s see it, to a one-inch gaping hole. My doctor says it should be about the size of a pencil eraser, but I am curious about the real life experiences and outcomes you ladies have seen.
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First Helper torrell
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replied September 27th, 2009
Community Volunteer
I have talked with several women that have had this done and their results varied...They have been happy with the surgery...This post will bring this back to the front page in hopes that you may get a response...Good luck...

Caroline

P.S. Years ago I had these too...Thankfully they healed...
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replied July 3rd, 2012
Bartholin's Cyst cure
My wife has had a bartholin cyst for two years. It was drained 4 times, and a marsupialization was done within the last year. We tried home remedies like one of the ones listed in this thread. For years I have looked for some positive information on getting rid of this pest. After she was cut up, the doctor mentioned that next time she wold remove the gland, but since my wife was 6 months pregnant at the time, they would not do that intense of an operation until after the baby was delivered. The last thing we want is the gland to be removed. In most cases when a gland is removed the cyst will appear on the other side. After the marsupialization ( no anesthesia, so painful), the cyst came back just three weeks later. Dry sex can irritate the bartholin gland, so doctors recommend to use some type of lubricant when having sex, no extreme work out (like stair masters or sprinting). Doctors also recommend sitz baths with some additive added like epsom salt. Obviously this will not work, since epsom salt with heal any damaged tissue. This is not what you want to happen. The tissue needs to get soft in order for the contents of the cyst to ooze out. You would not believe that after 2 years of trying nearly everything, the simplest of things got rid of this cyst. All my wife did, was for two week, she sat in a warm sitz bath, or tub with water high enough to cover the infected area, for an hour (JUST Warm Water, nothing else). She did this once in the morning and once at night before bed. We watched the cyst get smaller an smaller, until it went away, 10 days later. Now after having sex she will sit in a bath for an hour, to keep the skin around the gland soft, so it can breath properly. So, please don't try any of these silly remedies, because they don't work. All you need is to be consistent about that bath, and put off your partner until you see the cyst go away.
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Users who thank wlin for this post: thilD 

replied October 14th, 2009
You are SO brave to stick the needle in there yourself
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replied November 10th, 2009
I just had a marsupialization done today. IMMEDIATE relief, and it feels different from when they simply drained it or put the word catheter in - strangely enough, this seems to hurt less, and it just "feels" right again. There is still some swelling and drainage, bur that was to be expected, and the minor pain is being managed just fine with vicodin. I know it is only the first day in my recovery, but I am praying to God this is the end of it. I'll even settle for a non-recurrence of 5 years. I just need a break from this nightmare!!!! And I truly hope this marsupialization provides that break... I'm soooo grateful to have my lady-parts back, and even more grateful my dr. appears to have done a good job hiding the stitches! Crossing my fingers for a speedy, pretty, permanent recovery not just for me, but for all of us dealing with this hell... :->
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replied July 28th, 2010
I had have three cyst in over a four year period, which all needed to be drained by my Gyno. On the thrid one, I decided to do the marsupialization and put this ridiculous pain to an end. I was told that this would take care of the painfull cyst from returning by taken out this Bartolin duct (marsupialization). Surgery went very well, I healed quickly and felt like my feminine self again after a day or so. The scar is barley noticable, and I has happy with the outcome. Almost a year later ( actually nine months later) the cyst came back. I noticed a small lump, there was no pain. I started at that point with some warm bath soaks, just to be on the safe side. The next day a little bigger, a little pain, and unfortunately on my vacation. By the fourth day (driving back from vacation) I was very uncomfortable and could not understand why this damn thing came back. My gyn seen me right away and was also some what puzzled......however, she drained it again and then sent the fluid (basically blood) off to the lab to be tested....she stated that this one was bigger than the others and I felt more pain with this one as well. I go back to see her tomorrow and hopefully she will have some answers for me as to why it came back. She was going to talk to her collegues and see if they known of any cases where this has happened....
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replied October 16th, 2010
I have had marsupialization on the right 2 months a go. when i look at it, i feel regret for the doctor i let handle marsupialization. My first marsupialization on the left 1 year a go leave no scar and look originally good, done by famous gyno ,but now the doc(gyno) look no good at this, it look so different before. She cut some of mine. now it look so short and the hollow look bed. wish you find a famous gyno not unfamous gyno for your operation.
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replied July 6th, 2011
You don't need a 'famous' doctor to help with your bartholin gland problems, just look online at reviews and ratings..Ask friends for referrals. Some doctors even have a higher accreditation than others, so that's a good sign.. And ask your doctor exactly what will be done. If you are getting the marsupialization, they should tell you that you do have a chance of things not looking 'normal.' You are cutting something huge with a possible infection out, and literally sewing it open so it will always drain without the actual gland.

I had the procedure done 6 days ago and it has been extremely painful. While in the hospital, I was given a shot of 'something more powerful than morphine', motrin, and loratab...and none of them touched the pain. I am still stuck in bed and I am not able to sit up.. When using the bathroom, I am unable to use toilet paper. (They give you a water bottle like after childbirth to use until you heal.) I have used ice packs since the surgery with 15 minutes in between and it has kept the swelling down compared to what others have said, but I still have never felt a pain like this.

My doctor told me it would be 4-6 weeks before I would 'feel anything even close to normal....' and that 'this procedure is not a joke. It is serious and it is painful, so clear a good month to heal."

But the end result will be worth it... Just have to look forward.
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replied October 14th, 2011
bartholins cyst marsupialization
I have just had a marsupialization, and i must say it is quite a relief. I had recurring cysts every other week, and they swell to about the size of a tangerine, I have no insurance but I went into the same hospital so many times, and bugged the ob/gyn hospitalists so much that she decided to marsupialize it. I had no problem with the pain, seeing as nothing can really compare to an bartholins cyst. Im 7 weeks post surgery, and intercourse is still painful, and I still can feel the slight pinching from my stitches every now and then. Other than that I am extremely happy.
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replied March 23rd, 2012
After reading some of the reviews online about marsupialization I was worried going into my surgery. I had mine done this morning under general anesthesia. My gyn Dr Blair Bergen did an excellent job. So far no severe pain nor discomfort, nothing to complain about. As the hrs goes by, sometimes I didn't even remember I had a proceedure done just today. Was a little drowsy sometimes but that's ok, I needed the rest. Thank God, I am happy I did it. I know it's early into post surgery but I am praying for the best. Will keep u updated as my recovery progresses
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replied April 3rd, 2012
bartholin cysts coming back after Marsupialization
I had a Marsupialization about two months ago. This would have been my fourth visit to lance my bartholin cysts. My Doctor decided on the Marsupialization becasue he thought it would keep the duct from getting clogged. Here it is 2 months post op and Im going in for another Consult for a bartholin cyst in the same exact area. I cant figure out if this is normal or if I should just have the whole gland removed and call it a day.
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replied July 25th, 2012
Barthalon Cyst
I had a Bathalon cyst last year about this exact same time. I had no idea what was going on down there, except I knew I was really, really swollen. Once I noticed "she" was swollen, it was about 24 hours later and the pain increased so much that it awoke me from my sleep that night. I checked her out in the mirro and coulnt beleive my eyes!!!! It looked like I had a penis!!!!I then realized that this swelling was abnormal and so was the pain. The next morning I went to the womans walk in clinic, only for them to confirm that I had the cyst and then refer me out to Harbor View Hospital to the gyno clinic there and got me ready for surgery!! I did not know what they were going to do to me until I got there. I did end up having a MARSUPIALIZATION. It totally SUCKED!!!!! They did not give me any pain pills (not even Ibruprofren) and they went to stick me with the needle and I jumped off the table. The doc was annoyed, but come on, cant you tell by the looks of her, that she is in EXTREME PAIN? I sucked it up and allowed her to numb her up. Once it kicked in, she pretty much stabbed the cyst and it popped (it actually popped on her!!)The massive pressure was gone, but the pain was not. They did not send me home with any meds or really any kind of "care plan" The next day, I was much better, but still really sore. It actually took me two to three months before I could have sex again!! It has now been exactly a year since all of this happened and now it has happened to me AGAIN!!!! I thought getting the Marsupialization would prevent this from happening again?? I am tripping out!! It has not got to bad this time because this time I know what it is and have been able to take care of it by taking two to three "sitz baths" a day and putting a wet, warm tea bag on her when I cant soak. I don't know if this swelling goes away on it own? or if I actually have to drain it myself??(actually, Id have the doc do it)
Has anybody else had the Marsupialization and still had the cyst come back?? Once you get a cyst down there, is it something that will now Always come back?? Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening ever again??
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replied September 14th, 2012
Bartholin Cyst Marsupialization
It sounds more like they numbed you with lidocaine and then drained it. Not the Marsupialization. When they do the Marsupialization they actually cut you and drain then stitch that cut open to help with continuing drainage. A Bartholin Cyst is never really cured. Some people get the Marsupialization and never have a problem again where others still do. The next step is having it removed, the Bartholin Gland removed that is. And results are the same, some never have anymore issues, while others have issues arise on the other side. There isn't a whole lot to do to prevent it other than being aware of when one is coming on. When you feel the pea size swelling start doing the constant hot sitz baths that usually will help. If it continues to swell and get painful it is infected and you will have to have it drained again and get antibiotics. They suck. But there's no cause other than a blocked gland which I have seen range from being caused by ingrown hair to just no reason. I have had MANY drained and had the Marsuplization about a week ago and it is instant relief both ways however after a day from the Marsupialization it feels so much more normal (minus the thought and occasional poke from stitches).

The best preventative measure is just awareness and research.
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replied August 28th, 2012
Marsupialization, the young and unaware
I am only fifteen years old and I had the marsupialization surgery three days ago. I wasn't aware of what was going on with me at all so I went to the ER. Once getting there they quickly brought me to a room and minutes later I have a doctor telling me they called a specialist so I could get surgery. The doctor that came in said it was best for me to do so I'm too young to be going through all this already. I was sent home the day I got the procedure alOng with plenty of prescriptions. I was given no information about this other than "I will make a large cut, drain it, and you will be fine. It will heal by itself" after thinking for days, and taking closer looks, I realize I have stitches . I came to the conclusion they are what's causing my pain an it seems the doctor sewed them so tight that my skin is curled together and the stitches are just dying to rip. They told me after tree days I'd be fine, I'm getting ready to start school and already can't take it because I can hardly walk. I'm quite disappointed with how the doctor decided to handle me in the situation. I hope that this procedure works because it's not sOmething I'd like to go through again.
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replied October 8th, 2012
recent marsupialization operation
i had problems with bartholin cysts over the past 2 years the same one swelled up 3 separate times to the size of a golf ball in which i had to go to hospital but by the time a specialist seen me the cyst either shrunk so they wouldnt operate due to the fact of big blood losses & me needing a blood transfusion or the cyst self ruptured, but then a week & a half ago i noticed the cyst growing again but within 2days i woke in the early hours of the morning in extreme pain, & unable to sit, walk, & stand for a while went straight to the out of hours doctor who sent me up the hospital, they seen straight away, they didnt have any beds available so they sent me home with strong painkillers & anti-biotics to start immediately & then went back to the hospital the following evening to be admitted for an operation, i had marsupialization on tuesday morning & by that time i was so swollen i couldnt even go to toilet, the operation took 2 & half hours & woke up in recovery in immediate relief with exception of stitches, i had to stay in hospital for an additional 24hours as i was bleeding quite a bit, i got discharged on wednesday & by thursday i was back to my normal self, im still on anti-biotics at the moment as i need to finish the course, I have to be careful when getting out of the bath with reagrds to drying myself as to not catch the stitches, but hopefully fingers crossed this is the last of my cyst problem as everytime i had the cyst it was extremely painful
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replied October 23rd, 2012
Bartholin cyst/abscess
I have just had my 3rd bartholin cyst/abscess marsupilized yesterday.
This is my 3rd in a 4 month time frame.. It gets to the 2 month mark and its back again always on the same side (left). It's so frustrating and so painful. It makes it really hard on my partner and our sex life. I am being scheduled in for a full gland removal in 6 weeks time... Can anyone tell me what their recovery time was like for a full removal? Have you experienced or problems afterwards with sex?

Thanks very much

Gen
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replied November 9th, 2012
Help with drainage
I found out I had a cyst on my right side at the end of April. It didn't hurt just felt it. Went to my obgyn and she drained it. It felt better for about a day then came back infected which was horrible. Got it drained again this time the hole remained but for months I continue yo have drainage which is good but wont stop. So a month ago I got the marsupilization and I'm still having drainage. I take sits baths all the time. Any suggestions
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replied November 9th, 2012
I found out I had a cyst on my right side at the end of April. It didn't hurt just felt it. Went to my obgyn and she drained it. It felt better for about a day then came back infected which was horrible. Got it drained again this time the hole remained but for months I continue yo have drainage which is good but wont stop. So a month ago I got the marsupilization and I'm still having drainage. I take sits baths all the time. Any suggestions
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replied June 15th, 2013
I just had the procedure on Thursday. I had the bartholin abcess for a year. Originally my ob was going to insert catheter but on day of procedure she said it wasn't large enough yet to follow through and hopefully would resolve on own which they normally do not. Within the last month it got larger where it was uncomfortable to sit and was throbbing. Before it was more of an annoyance and embarrassment to me. When I called ob she said they no longer do the catheter because they tend to not be successful and fall out. It was now big enough to do the marsupialuzation. I was very scared and wasn't happy about the length of healing. For a year I haven't been sexually active but now I have an awesome sex life. It seems when you can't have it you want it more.

The procedure was very painful. Lidocaine isn't pleasant. I even tried to make it less painful by using topical lidocaine 45 minutes prior to the procedure. During the procedure we found a very sensitive area that wasnt injected with lidocaine. I felt it 100%. A couple days out I'm very sore. Still sit on a pillow. They used dissolvable stitches. It doesn't look any better or smaller down there. I take ibuprofen to help with swelling. I hope I get back to normal down there and heal fast. I want my sex life back!! My ob was honest with me about the procedure not preventing it from reforming. I'm hoping since it took a year to get big enough it won't reform. I don't want to have the procedure again. If it wasn't painful beforehand I wouldn't have had the procedure done.

I'm hoping for the best. My significant other and I didn't have any problems with lubrucation before the procedure. Is that going to change now? What's the earliest I can become active again sexually? I'm a small girl and he's well endowed. How much is it going to hurt when we do again? Does the pain mostly having to do with inadequate lubrucation? Thank you for all of your information.
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replied June 15th, 2013
I just had the procedure on Thursday. I had the bartholin abcess for a year. Originally my ob was going to insert catheter but on day of procedure she said it wasn't large enough yet to follow through and hopefully would resolve on own which they normally do not. Within the last month it got larger where it was uncomfortable to sit and was throbbing. Before it was more of an annoyance and embarrassment to me. When I called ob she said they no longer do the catheter because they tend to not be successful and fall out. It was now big enough to do the marsupialuzation. I was very scared and wasn't happy about the length of healing. For a year I haven't been sexually active but now I have an awesome sex life. It seems when you can't have it you want it more.

The procedure was very painful. Lidocaine isn't pleasant. I even tried to make it less painful by using topical lidocaine 45 minutes prior to the procedure. During the procedure we found a very sensitive area that wasnt injected with lidocaine. I felt it 100%. A couple days out I'm very sore. Still sit on a pillow. They used dissolvable stitches. It doesn't look any better or smaller down there. I take ibuprofen to help with swelling. I hope I get back to normal down there and heal fast. I want my sex life back!! My ob was honest with me about the procedure not preventing it from reforming. I'm hoping since it took a year to get big enough it won't reform. I don't want to have the procedure again. If it wasn't painful beforehand I wouldn't have had the procedure done.

I'm hoping for the best. My significant other and I didn't have any problems with lubrucation before the procedure. Is that going to change now? What's the earliest I can become active again sexually? I'm a small girl and he's well endowed. How much is it going to hurt when we do again? Does the pain mostly having to do with inadequate lubrucation? Thank you for all of your information.
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replied January 1st, 2014
I had a left marsupialization the after result about the size of a pencil eraser or smaller. I have never had a problem with the other side and that has been 25 years ago. No problems whatsoever. I think you will be very pleased. Recovery very painless.
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replied January 7th, 2014
First cyst
This is my first Bartholin's cyst I had a marsupialization done today. I was given general anesthesia and woke up feeling fine. I can't believe that some of you have had to endure the pain with only a local anesthetic or worse, no numbing at all! I was given some pain meds but the pain is pretty manageable.
I'm in Canada so the surgery is covered. I feel so bad for everything you have all gone through. I hope I'm one of the lucky ones who doesn't have this re-occur.
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replied May 8th, 2014
Hi I'm 19 years old noticed a small and painful lump on my left side bartholin gland on the 10th of April I visited an health center on the 14th at this time the lump had grown to the size of a marbel and was vey painful. The doctor who examined me perscribed me with pain killers and advised me to by a medicine and come every day for it to be injected into me , however I didn't like this one bit so the next day I visited anothet doctor who examined me and told me I had developed a bartholin cyst the doctor percribed me with pain killers and antibiotics for a week along with a transfer to see a gyne within two days I noticed the cyst srunk and on a third day increased and I was still in very much pain.....visited the gyne on the 22nd and right there and then had my cyst drained it was the most painful experience for me got home after and feel asleep work up in a pool of blood and my pad completely soaked.....when back to the hospital that very day and was told I had gotten an hematuma the doctor cleaned up my cyst openin and put back the iodine gauze the following day I felt a little better and removed the guaze them bleeding had also stopped the nignt.Its now the 8th May and my area where the cyst was is hard and appears a bit swollen still but no pain....how do I get rid of this bump that is still here ? I can't feel it......also I'm staying away from intercourse. Any help? Should I use a steroid cream or vaseline on the area or go back to using my antibiotics?
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