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Pain after Bartholin gland removal

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My left Bartholin gland has given me trouble off and on for the last 30 years. I tested positive to e coli. My family doctor would lance it and it would go away for years. This last time it did not go away and my dr. felt I should see a gynocologist. It was decided to remove the gland. I am surprised at the level of pain I am in. I can't stand, walk, or sit w/out pain. I cannot work which is very frustrating. Is this normal?

I have also developed a lump in the other gland. I am on antibiotics, then the dr. will check me in a week. She said if there is no improvement I will need the other gland removed. This is very upsetting, considering the addtional pain and work loss that will result. This gland has never been a problem! Could we try lancing it instead?

I would really appreciate advice on this!

Thanks!
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First Helper sr143
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replied November 6th, 2009
Community Volunteer
Has your physician suggested sitting in a very warm bath water to see if this will give you relief?...Years ago I had this problem and this is what I would do...I found this comforting as it seemed to drain and the swelling would decrease...I was always careful to have a clean wash rag to pat this area dry after I got out of the tub...Another thing I would do was to take a wash rag and cut it in small pieces to use as a separation in the inner vaginal area so that the friction was not there...Just throw it away each time I had to pee and use another...

Honey, these are just a few tips from my problems of years ago....Maybe one may help...Believe me, I feel for you....

Caroline
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replied March 30th, 2010
Hi everyone!I'm from the UK and am recovering from having my left Bartholin Gland totally removed. I'm 36 and have suffered from Bartholin cysts and abcesses since I was 17! It always came in the same spot and I had the same cyst marsupialized 4 times in hospital! Finally one of the surgeons said they wanted me to be examined when the cyst wasn't infected to see what could be done about permenantly sorting this recurring problem! So I went to my GP (doctor) who immediately referred me to a specialist gynae consultant who agreed to remove the gland for me. I don't know if people in the UK know this, but all patients now have a 'patient choice' where you are allowed to choose your consultant and hospital that you want to be treated in. You get a choice of 5 hospitals close to you that perform your surgery and you pick where you want to go. You can review the hospital online and check what feedback it gets from patients and government inspectors! My GP told me which hospital would be best (not my nearest one but one a 20 min journey away) so I went there!
I had the surgery 20 days ago and it is still very painful. I'm still not back at work, because it hurts to stand for long periods of time, and it hurts to sit down still. I also have pain if I try to sleep on my sides, but the pain is slowly getting better. Be warned, my consultant told my doctor (who called him to check my swelling of the area was normal) there are 3 things to know about this surgery; total removal of the gland is a very rare procedure, very painful as they have to dig so deep to remove the gland and surrounding tissue and a long recovery to boot!
I was given morphine when I was in hospital, and lots of painkillers and antibiotics when I went home (Augmentin antibiotics).
One tip you must take a laxative medecine when you get home as the morphine and anaesthetic caused me major problems in that area! I was prescribed 2 spoons of lactulose a day and am still taking it because the surgery and stitches made that aspects of things very painful!
10 days after the operation I developed an infection so I called the hospital again who told me to come straight back in and I was re-admitted as an emergency patient. I have to say they were fab-I saw a lovely female consultant gynae who called in the original senior consultant who performed my surgery cause she wanted him to check it as he would know how things were progressing! After 2 days of being on a drip and strong antibiotics I was allowed home and have to see the same consultant again for a check up this week to see how thing are! All in all, I'm very happy with the care I received here in the UK-after all this was free and I know you can pay a fortune in other parts of the world for medical treatment! Never once in all my visits to casualty A&E did any of the doctors not know what my problem was too!
The bruises are slowly going, I am still bleeding slightly but am reassured this is normal! Hope this helps, I will be happy to post more info if anyone likes!
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replied February 17th, 2011
Hello everyone,

I have one thing to say to anyone suffering with those pesky bartholins: GET THEM OUT!!

I also have read a lot of scary post op stories, but do not be discouraged. Make sure you do your research well. Chose a surgeon who has performed a few of this type of surgery with a successfull rate. Ask questions and make sure you are comfortable with what you hear. I was very blessed to have a surgeon who has performed many of this type of surgeries successfully, but the only thing is that she told me that it was going to be a "simple surgery". Yeah, it was "simple" for her because she did a great job, but for me it was not. I felt I should have been in intensive care for a week, but surgery was done outpatient. I was in such pain I could not sit or walk for 2 weeks, I also feel that it was all worth it. It healed nicely eventhough it looked like it reopened, that is the way the surgery is done to facilitate drainage. It is now 6 months post op, I still have very very very mild pain at the spots where the glands used to be. The Dr. said that it will all go away when the scare tissues are all healed. I am fine with because my vagina looks normal and pretty without those lumps on the sides. I do not get embarrassed at the GYN visit or when my boyfriend looks at it. I feel relieved and free knowing that I will NEVER EVER have bartholins pains anymore. Ladies get them excised because catheterization and marsupiolization do not work, they are just temporary relief. I was also a little bit apprehensive about the surgery but I am not sorry that I did it. If you have bartholin issues do not suffer get them out. Good luck!
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replied February 17th, 2011
Hello everyone,

I have one thing to say to anyone suffering with those pesky bartholins: GET THEM OUT!!

I also have read a lot of scary post op stories, but do not be discouraged. Make sure you do your research well. Chose a surgeon who has performed a few of this type of surgery with a successfull rate. Ask questions and make sure you are comfortable with what you hear. I was very blessed to have a surgeon who has performed many of this type of surgeries successfully, but the only thing is that she told me that it was going to be a "simple surgery". Yeah, it was "simple" for her because she did a great job, but for me it was not. I felt I should have been in intensive care for a week, but surgery was done outpatient. I was in such pain I could not sit or walk for 2 weeks, I also feel that it was all worth it. It healed nicely eventhough it looked like it reopened, that is the way the surgery is done to facilitate drainage. It is now 6 months post op, I still have very very very mild pain at the spots where the glands used to be. The Dr. said that it will all go away when the scare tissues are all healed. I am fine with because my vagina looks normal and pretty without those lumps on the sides. I do not get embarrassed at the GYN visit or when my boyfriend looks at it. I feel relieved and free knowing that I will NEVER EVER have bartholins pains anymore. Ladies get them excised because catheterization and marsupiolization do not work, they are just temporary relief. I was also a little bit apprehensive about the surgery but I am not sorry that I did it. If you have bartholin issues do not suffer get them out. Good luck!
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replied July 31st, 2012
I had the bartholin gland swell up on the right side of my vagina in the end of June last year. The gland was lanced at the hospital and drained. I was back in two hours with sepsis. After leaving the hospital, the gyno dr. lanced it again and put a drain in for two weeks. A few months later the gland started to swell again. The dr. put a drain in for two more weeks. In December of this year I had the gland removed. While the surgery was healing, it created a "pocket". There was nothing in it, but it was very painful. The dr. gave me a shot hoping that would take the pain away. It didn't, so he performed surgery again. I still had pain. The doctor thought that maybe I had a stitch that wouldn't heal. After two more shots and no relieve the dr. went in again to try to find out what was going on. While there he cut out some tissue which he had biopsied. They came back pre-cancerous. I still have pain and there is a lump there. Now, I am having pain more toward the front of my vagina on the lip. There are two small bumps inside the skin there. I am also having pain in my butt where my cheek and leg meet. I am so tired of all this. This has been going on for over a year. I am a teacher and I cannot go through another year in pain. I cannot focus and it is not fair to my students. I need some help to figure out what in the world is going on.
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replied November 24th, 2012
Gland removal
Hi! I wanted to share my positive experience about the surgery I've undergone last week. My entire gland has been removed and it was really big (my doc' said it was the biggest she's ever seen) and located deep inside as well. The operation went very well and I needed painkillers only for two days - in the afternoon after the operation and the next day. I could hardly feel any discomfort at all in the next days. So I wanted to share my story to encourage others and say it's not so scary at all, nothing to compare with the pain when giving birth, for ex. I was lucky to be treated in a good hospital and I had an excellent surgeon. I have no swelling at all and everything looks nice, because she has also made me a plastic surgery after the excision of the gland. I guess the success of the operation depends largely on the surgeon so I'd recommend to get the best one you can.

I would also recommend going to the doctor as soon as you can, it's not the kind of things you can treat yourself at home. I've tried all the methods of home treatment and nothing helped. As much as I hate operations and all things related to hospitals, I had to make this operation and never ever regretted it, it's absolutely worth doing.

Good luck to all!
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replied February 26th, 2014
Hi,

who was your surgeon?
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replied June 5th, 2013
Hi, I'm 27, in Ohio, and I had my left bartholin gland removed on March 22nd, 2013. So it has now been 75 days. I still have sharp pains down there on occasions. They feel sort of like paper cuts. Also I still feel raw in that area around where I really don't think they touched...Kind of the labia area. Today I can definitely feel the soreness. Its not too bad though, very easy to bare even without any kind of medication.
(my significant other is deployed overseas and has been since around the time of my surgery so please don't think my soreness is from intercourse because I have most definitely been abstaining. So that is not a factor.)

Aside from the really crappy soreness and not being able to get comfortable for about 3 weeks after the surgery, I HIGHLY recommend that anyone who has repeating bartholin cysts and infections have it removed. I am so glad I did.
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replied June 5th, 2013
added
ohiomomma3 wrote:
Hi, I'm 27, in Ohio, and I had my left bartholin gland removed on March 22nd, 2013. So it has now been 75 days. I still have sharp pains down there on occasions. They feel sort of like paper cuts. Also I still feel raw in that area around where I really don't think they touched...Kind of the labia area. Today I can definitely feel the soreness. Its not too bad though, very easy to bare even without any kind of medication.
(my significant other is deployed overseas and has been since around the time of my surgery so please don't think my soreness is from intercourse because I have most definitely been abstaining. So that is not a factor.)

Aside from the really crappy soreness and not being able to get comfortable for about 3 weeks after the surgery, I HIGHLY recommend that anyone who has repeating bartholin cysts and infections have it removed. I am so glad I did.


I also should've said: I've been dealing with these cysts since I was 17. The doctor said that it was much deeper than she expected as well.
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replied June 22nd, 2013
Bartholin gland removal
I have had recurrent Bartholinitus for 2 years. The pain when the cyst became infected was unbearable. During this time I also became pregnant and gave birth. During the birth it appears the cyst was eradicated but left in its place was a hard infuriated area and a chronically inflamed mass. I met with a micro surgeon who suggested removal of the gland and the affected skin. She made a less than a 1 inch incision near to the entrance of my vagina ( it is not visible to my gentle inspection). Whilst I felt like I had been kicked by a horse in the buttock for 2 days the pain underneath was minimal and there was no bruising. I stopped taking painkillers on day 3 post surgery. I am only a few weeks pst op but it is already the best thing I could have done. I have been warned that there may be side effect of painful sex but as I really couldn't have sex towards the end anyway I think I can deal with it as it comes. At least I won't have horrible puss etc!
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replied July 3rd, 2013
Bartholin gland - 5 surgeries in under 11 months
Hi I wanted to share this with you all because it has been a hard road.
I had a cyst pop up (after they ran me through the biopsy and cancer scare diatribe, this was confirmed) and went to my doctor who sent me to a gyno who told me i needed a marsupialization of the bartholin gland. It had become hard to walk and harder to sit and to top it off - i was becoming 5-10 minutes late for work every day because to walk there just kept taking me longer and longer. So I got the marsupialization and was back at work in 2 days and within 2 weeks - the giant lump was back and i was back in consultation with the gyno. She said she had never had a repeat bartholin customer and in we went for another bartholin marsupialization- by this point i have lost my job and am on job number 2. I'm now on a whole lot of pain killers and walk like a pirate and sit on a rubber ring. But I am making it work - after surgery number 2 I was in rougher shape and had the day off for surgery - 1 for recovery - got back to work but the next day i was down for the count for a couple of days. And now I am on to job number 3 (it has been 2 weeks since the surgery) and what do you know but the giant lump has reformed with aggression. So I go see my gyno and she says we will just have to remove the gland - great! By this time I am just over it and I want it gone so the next week i rang to book the surgery and what do you know but she has gone on 3 or so weeks holiday - so my GP recommends another gyno who had trained my last one.

The new gyno brings me in and tells me that my cyst is infected and that he will have to shove a rather large medical needle into it without the use of anaesthetic - so he stabs it a few times and the damn thing wont burst so he sends me home with the understanding that it should rupture on its own - which it did - externally (at which point i knew that it was actually never infected to begin with) ! and as it ripped through layers of skin it was really really painful.

And in 2 weeks time I am back in his office and telling him I want the gland removed but he disagrees - telling me that the risk is too great for someone of my age (27 years old). So he brings me in for surgery number 3 and i take a day off for it - then a day to recover - then i have the weekend and then monday back to work only to be down again wednesday with an infection - back at work friday. Back in the gynos office 2-3 weeks later with a giant cyst again - but now i have read all the horror stories about gland removal and am starting to think that maybe the gyno knows best. At this point I am just trying to damage control what little i have left - my job. The solution that was decided between my GP and my gyno was that I could rupture the gland every morning before work - this was after all the only option available to me. So this went on for weeks (I'm still walking like a drunken sailor and in a whole new kind of pain). So I stop to give myself a break from this torture every morning - and trust me it is hard on the nervous system to do this and then complete 8 hours of a fairly manual job.

I go back to the gyno and he says he won't remove it - he wants one more shot at marsupialization. I'm not usually a crier but by this time I am a complete mess and just break down into tears.

To give you an idea - I was single by surgery 2 and most of the way through i was so tired that I was barely feeding myself. After surgery number 2 I ended up with a row of cans next to the bed so i didn't have to move if i got hungry and a cup of clean forks and a cup of dirty forks. I was exhausted and had had it. I just wanted this over but the gyno said this was for the best. So in I went for marsupialization number 4 - and about 4 weeks and 1 infection later - I was back at the gyno and begging him for a removal. so he finally agreed.

I went into the surgery not caring if there were side affects - not caring if something went wrong and i died on the table. I'd lost my job and had nothing left really. Of course I had my parents and friends but all I had known for a better part of a year was pain and struggle and had lost all that i had fought to keep, I'd lost a big chunk of myself and trust me I am a fighter and not at all the wallflower type. I am also very well known for having a pretty high pain tolerance (my friends used to stick pins in me while i was sleeping - to prove that i barely felt it). So yeah - this is a painful experience and don't let people tell you otherwise. I kept moving but darn did i feel it. So I come out of the gland removal surgery and my entire vagina is black (since i am the whitest person on this planet well..... bit of a shock). I caught public transport from the hospital to my GP because well the hospital gave me no care whatsoever and didn't even give me antibiotics or pain killers. My GP bathed the scary looking wound and then i spent 45 minutes standing up on public transport to get home. I bathed the wound like it was a religion and i was a fanatic but still ended up with a wound infection about a week later. Got through that after feeling sicker and more exhausted than i have ever in my life - Glandular fever had nothing on this infection. The pain was still bad about 5 months later - I had to rebuild my body and my ability to do physical exercise and now I am about a year after the gland removal (surgery number 5) - I walk a little wonky from time to time and some days I get phantom pains. I started dating and at about 7 months after my surgery sex was still a difficulty but now at a year it is happening - but I can't use the leg too much on the side of the removal and afterwards I am always uncomfortable and there is some swelling - but hey it IS working. My doctors said that it would take 2 years to get back to normal and my GP seems pretty proud of my recovery thus far but he attributes that to my being a little tank that just keeps rolling. I tried so hard not to let any of this get me down or hold me back - i battled through right up to surgery number 5 with a never say die attitude but I have to tell you - the entire experience really has changed me.

If you are going through this then you have some really tough decisions to make. If it keeps coming back - heck if it has come back after 2 marsupializations - I would say remove the gland because the more marsupializations the more muscle and tissue i lost and the more hits to my immune system. I now catch every bug that comes near me and my leg is always just a little sore like it has been walking all day without the rest of me.

In an 11 month period I had 5 surgical procedures and outside of work - i went nowhere and did nothing but sleep and lay flat on my back. I stuck so many needles in myself to make it through the work day. I threw up through so many infections. I ruptured externally without assistance from anything twice. I feel like i went through this hellish ordeal that noone really understands or gives enough credit. If I could go back I would threaten my gyno to do the gland removal at surgery number 3 or..... (death of a family member doesn't seem too harsh a threat to be honest) (just to give you an idea).

If you are dealing with this - stay strong and remember it is manageable even though some days it will seem like it is not. And DON'T BE ASHAMED. This disgusting thing that is happening to your body - well it just is NOT A REFLECTION ON YOU !

Also - remember that male gynos can not give you any real idea of how this is going to make you feel - or how much it will hurt. Mine told me right before he plunged a needle into me once - this will only be a slight pinch you will barely feel for a second. Just after this - I grabbed his arm in a defensive maneuver and screamed into his face for about 10 seconds (and I'm loud, I could coach football). So don't take what all the gynos and doctors say to heart - what your feeling IS WHAT YOUR FEELING. no matter what they say !

Goodluck to you and from the bottom of my heart I wish you well and health and support. Don't be like me - take support if you can get it !
xoxo
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replied July 3rd, 2013
Totally agree Pained Down Under. I put up with just about the same as you. With the first 2 my GP said they would go eventually which they did and after that I had repeated marsupialization. Work covers me for private health care and I eventually gave in and explained my sorry tale to a young man at BUPA. I was referred to a lovely surgeon who remarked that had I been treated correctly with a marsupialization for the first one then I wouldnt be in the state I was in. She chose to remove the gland and the ruined skin around the gland that was causing the residual pain. So my message is insist on correct treatment from the first one! This is a horrible thing that I have barely explained to my Mum let alone anyone else but to steal a phrase this is no reflection on you!
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replied December 2nd, 2013
gland removed 8 months ago still in pain
I had the gland removed 8 months ago, and 9i still have discomfort down there. is tht normal, im n the army n when I run it get swollen were the surgery was, it get raw and tender, It feels like sharp shooting pains and sometimes it shoots up and I gt bad cramps. can someone please help me out
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replied December 13th, 2013
5 operations
I live in Denmark and I've been suffering from bertholins cysts since 2003. I'm now 31 and had the first cyst when I was 20. I had my first marsupialization in a clinic in local anesthesia in 2003. I went home afterwards but quickly found out that it was bleeding massively from the wound. Latersameday it was picked up by an ambulance and re-operatiot that same night, the docters stitched together for the bleeding to stop. I was in pain atired from the bloodloss for 4 weeks. In 2006 a new cyst came,I had a new marsupialization in the hospital, no bleeding - but painfull. It healed up nicely, but after just 2 months a new cyst was there. I had then the whole gland removed, I woked up in the hospital feeling very sick and I was in a lot of pain. It took around 4 weeks for it to heal just a bit. Then, for 6 years I had no problems but now a have a new, in the same place as the others - even though I had the whole gland removed! I'm really uppsetand a going to have it removed in the hospital on december 18th. The doctor is good and he's going to puncture the cyst and remove the pellicle/membrane that surrounds it. This is the 5th time! And I really, really hope that it is the last time!!
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replied February 10th, 2014
So im in Jamaica and on day 20 of my recovery. I was soooo freaked about the surgery to have my gland removed because of all the horror stories online. My doctor was just so calm and confident though and assured me I had nothing to worry about. I freaked for the whole week before all the way to the operation theater. They put me to sleep, I woke up and it was over.
The first night and next day was difficult but by the second morningt I could go to the bathroom on my own (was heavily medicated still) and by day three I was showering by myself and they took me off the IV and pain injections but gave me suppositories which though I hated became my best friend because they really took away the pain. Im on no pain killers now, bleeding has stopped and ive healed well, i started back my regular workout routine a week ago . Looking forward to my next and final follow up at which time im hoping to be cleared for any and all activity. Don't be afraid. Do your research and find a good doctor like I did and you should be fine.
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replied February 10th, 2014
So im in Jamaica and on day 20 of my recovery. I was soooo freaked about the surgery to have my gland removed because of all the horror stories online. My doctor was just so calm and confident though and assured me I had nothing to worry about. I freaked for the whole week before all the way to the operation theater. They put me to sleep, I woke up and it was over.
The first night and next day was difficult but by the second morningt I could go to the bathroom on my own (was heavily medicated still) and by day three I was showering by myself and they took me off the IV and pain injections but gave me suppositories which though I hated became my best friend because they really took away the pain. Im on no pain killers now, bleeding has stopped and ive healed well, i started back my regular workout routine a week ago . Looking forward to my next and final follow up at which time im hoping to be cleared for any and all activity. Don't be afraid. Do your research and find a good doctor like I did and you should be fine.
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replied February 13th, 2014
Bartholin Gland Removal .. The Pain & The Healing
Hi ladies. I am 27 years old and have had this problem for the past 5 years. When the cyst first presented itself, I thought it was an ingrown hair. So being the picker that I am, I decided to take some tweezers and investigate down there with no success. About 1 hour later, my left labia swelled up so bad, I couldn't do ANYTHING but cry & scream. I had no idea what was happening to me so needless to say, I went to the emergency room. They lanced and drained it & sent me home. Right when it seemed to be healed, it abscessed again. So here I am in the emergency room, being cut & stuffed. Around this time, I did not have insurance so I would have to go to the ER and every time, they would just bandage the problem. This went on for another 3 years with occurrences 3-6 times a year. Once I got insurance, it took 9 months to come back. This time I was able to get a marsuplialization. I was so happy and relieved! The marsup was not painful at all, it actually gave me relief since when I went into surgery, my labia was the size of a large egg and very painful. I went a whole year without a peep from this dormant demon. Literally one year to the day of my marsup, my cyst presented itself again and abscessed rather quickly. I went to my OBGYN and he said we could go ahead and remove the whole gland. While I was waiting for my surgery date, the abscess burst open and I had some relief and the pain was relatively gone! HERE'S WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING... When I woke up from having the gland removed, I was in pain but not anything I couldn't manage with pain meds. I peed, I walked, I sat, I layed down! I am still in the recovery stage but it's going well. Be prepared to be down for a few days & YES no sex for a while! I know we have our urges & needs ladies (and our men too) but just be patient. Full recovery takes 3-6 months, depending on the person. I am making this post for two reasons. 1: When I was going through all of this, it was very difficult for me to identify with anyone and everything I found on the internet was pretty much useless. 2: All I have seen is one negative post after another and I am here to tell you, IT'S REALLY NOT THAT BAD!! REALLY... I understand they everyone's pain tolerance is different so I can't stress enough discussing pain management with your doctor. It's going to be hard and painful but WE ARE WOMEN! WE ARE STRONG! Keep a positive mind and DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED! Remember that you are doing this to improve the quality of your life. With any surgery, there are risk. With this surgery in particular, the risk are highly outweighed by the benefits! DON'T BE AFRAID, YOU GOT THIS GIRL!!! GET YOUR WOMANHOOD BACK!!!
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