Dealing with Bartholin’s Cyst

Complements of the season dear readers! We made it to 2022 – yaaaay?

I’m happy that 2021 is done and as I reminisce about the past year, I realize how many miracles and challenges I experienced and scaled through. One draining experience last year was dealing with my Bartholin’s cyst.

Okay, let’s not rush this. Some of us have never heard of Bartholin’s cysts and neither did I until I had it. In fact, even after I carried this thing for seven years, I didn’t know what it was until I spoke to a doctor friend of mine (he’s a vet by the way) and that conversation sent me down a rabbit hole, through the pages of Google and Youtube, because what the fuck!? Excuse my french but let me explain what this shit is.

There’s a gland in every vulva-having person called the Bartholin’s gland. This gland is responsible for lubricating the vagina in preparation for some adult action and other types of intimate plays – if you fancy. When this gland is infected, there’s a blockage that causes the lubricant to accumulate and form a cyst. It’s not life-threatening and the size differs. Some have a head that you can pop so all the pus comes out but other times, they don’t and you have to visit a doctor to have it punctured and removed.

This is where things get interesting. There’s no one reason why your Bartholin’s gland can get infected. There are several reasons. It could be pregnancy, some pads (I swear I suspect Always pads in my case), your age, your sex life, if you’ve had it in the past, or just bad luck!

I first noticed my Bartholin’s cyst at University. I think in my third or final year. Once, I visited a doctor for an examination. He saw the lump, asked me if I felt any pain, which I did not, and he left it alone. When that happened, I figured it was something I shouldn’t worry about and that it’ll probably go just as it had come. Biiiig mistake.

Fast forward to 2021. I started experiencing discomfort in that area especially around the time of my ovulation. Sometimes, it’ll be bearable, other times it would stop me in my tracks. Imagine you had a muscle pull but in your vagina! (vagina pull? Ah! God o!)

Anyhoo, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when it hit me in the bathroom one night. I couldn’t move guys. For a full minute, this thing was pulling the shit out of me. I just respected myself and scheduled a doctor’s appointment pronto! There was some delay with the hospital and my insurance but the day finally came for me to take it out.

Stepping into the theatre and undressing, I just felt so anxious. And can I add that medical instruments are intimidating. Bartholin’s cyst removal is a minor procedure, but when the lights came on, and I saw the injections, and smelt that heavy antiseptic, it felt like I was there for something major and I could die in the process.

The doctor and matron were kind in the most Nigerian way possible. They assured me that it was completely normal for me to be anxious, so I put my big girl swag on and tried to act tough. Lmao. I have a massive fear of needles so I covered my eyes and tried to relax. Dear readers, there are no words to describe the pain of that numbing injection. I screamed like a fucking banshee.

Twenty minutes and it was over. I was given a shitload of antibiotics, and an instruction to wear a pad for the next week or two while having a sitz bath every day till it healed. Recovery was painful and discomforting but the cyst was gone, right?

Naaah fam. Two weeks later and it came back again. This time, I said I wasn’t going back to the hospital. So I went to Youtube and found that there are a lot of women battling Bartholin’s cyst. Some have been to the hospital up to eight times and were trying out home remedies. I couldn’t imagine myself experiencing the discomfort for that long but I did come to a place of acceptance. It is very possible that I will have to deal with Bartholin’s cyst for the rest of my life or keep trying the home remedies till it goes and never comes back. I have armed myself with a sitz bath, tea tree oil, witch hazel, and cotton pads. Right now, the cyst is down to a pea-size and it doesn’t hurt. Who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll wake up and find that it is completely gone. That would be the day!

My lesson in this whole saga is that if there is anything off with my health, I’d seek medical help immediately. 2022 is for being the best version of myself and that includes stewarding my health. I hope this inspires you to do the same, this year.

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