I’ve been reading this community for a few months and have found so many useful things and now I need your help.
I’m including an image (behind the cut) of my vagina because describing this thing is just not going to do it justice.
But first let me give you some background. This is going to be quite long… I’m sorry.
I’m a 28 year old sexually active cisfemale in a relationship with cismale(s …it’s complicated, but for the most part I have been seeing just one guy since September 2011, I have had a pap and STI test in October and nothing came up at that time).
I’m not on any medications except Yazmine 21 (it’s been about 2-3 cycles), regular periods, usual cramping. I’ve started a course of pro-biotics to kind of balance out my digestive system which I hope will help with the yeast infection issues. Otherwise healthy (Except for some joint inflammation and anything else I will get into in the rest of my entry). I use the Diva cup for the heavier portions of my period and then just a pad to soak up the left over spotting near the end. Although I don’t think I will use the cup when my period arrives this week because I don’t want to irritate the area with insertion/removal. That’s all I can think of in terms of the physical side. Now for the emotional…
To make a long story short I have been under an enormous amount of emotional stress since the end of Summer 2011. I was laid off in July, and making ends meet as best as I could when in August I found out my grandfather was essentially on his death bed with kidney failure and flew from Toronto, Canada, to Poland to be with him for his final days. At that time my mother traveled from Toronto to join me and stayed in Poland with me caring for my very ill (broken hip, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson etc) grandmother. At the beginning of October my mother returned to Canada to arrange some formalities with her impending move to the USA (she had married an American and was going to move to Florida) when in the middle of the night she suffered a fatal stroke and passed away at the age of 55. Completely unexpected and devastatingly shocking to say the least. I then had to fly back from Poland (leaving my grandmother in the care of neighbours and friends) to deal with my mother’s funeral and formalities. In all the shock and traveling back and forth between Poland and Canada I developed a slight yeast infection but, fearing it was something worse because I had met a new partner while in Poland, I went to have it checked out… I hadn’t had a pap in about 2-3 years at that point due to busy life getting in the way…
So I had the test for STI’s and a pap and the doctor doing my exam actually said “Oh, do you know you have a cyst on your vagina?” And I said no, I wasn’t aware, and she guided my finger down to feel it and it was a bump that I admit I had felt for some time but never thought it was anything out of the ordinary. I honestly can’t recall ever NOT having it, and if it appeared it wasn’t something noticeable over-night, it probably developed over months, if not years, and thats why I always thought it was just a part of my regular anatomy. Nevermind that NONE of my sexual partners that were exploring down there with there hands/mouths ever seemed to notice anything out of the ordinary (thanks a bunch boys, those are some real great skills of observation…).
A basic google search only shows a bunch of images of vaginas with Bartolyn gland cysts which always seem to appear on one side of the vagina or other. Mine isn’t like that. The reason I never took much notice of it is because it’s right in the middle below my urethra and above the entrance to my vagina. If it was off to the side I may have noticed the change in my vaginal “symmetry” I guess, but this being exactly where it is makes it stand out less… It’s actually in such a position that it kind of blocks my urethra and makes me pee at a bit of an odd angle. It doesn’t actually block any urine or anything like that…however I have noticed that I am more prone to UTI’s than usual lately.
The doctor that “discovered it” told me that if it doesn’t bother me I can leave it and maybe it will go away. I told her it only ever bothered me when there was some rougher sex or manual stimulation down there and sometimes I would get painful urination for about 12-24hours after the sex in question, it always went away after that (drank some more water than usual etc.) So I guess you could say that it didn’t “bother me”.
I would say it’s about an inch “long” and half an inch “protruding” and it feels kind of like an eyeball behind an eyelid: mostly solid, and kind of movable but not really, it is firmly lodged in place and doesn’t slide around under the skin.
I have been dabbing it with tea tree oil to sooth the pain/irritation and I find the pain-killer properties of tea tree oil work quite well, but each time I pee I have to re-apply. Still drinking lots of water/herbal tea and 100% cranberry juice to keep things flowing around there. I can’t quite say whether the CYST hurts, of if it’s just the skin around and above it (concentrated around my urethra) that hurts, specifically. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the pain. But it is kind of a dull ach, a mild version of an improperly inserted tampon at times. If I “palpate” my vagina, I can feel it through the folds of my labia, it hurts when touched/moved.
Anyway, lately I’ve been getting symptoms of a UTI and went and found all the cranberry juice in Poland (oh by the way I’m back here, taking care of my sick grandmother again, because there is literally no one else left, but I’m happy to do it because she was such an amazing part of my life and I want to give her the best care possible within her home environment as long as she is still aware of who she is and where she is – but that’s another story).
So anyway I’m trying to get an appointment with a gyno here in Poland, but it’s very confusing for me as their health care system is foreign to me (I left this country as a child 25 years ago, so while I’m fluent in the language, the actual “living” portion of being here is very much a culture shock and I am adapting as best as I can). I’m very lucky to have helpful neighbours who have adopted me and are a life line, but it’s quite lonely since they are all older ladies and the nearest family around my age that I have in Poland lives 3 hours away.
So I will probably end up at a private clinic and paying cash for the check up, which is OK, at this point I have some savings for something like that.
But the discomfort I’m feeling now is really bugging me and I just wanted to know what you all thought of this.
Right now I haven’t had sex in over a week, yet for the past 2-3 weeks I have been fighting that UTI with cranberry and water and it worked, except now I have this pain/soreness above and around the cyst, somewhat concentrated at the opening of my urethra, but also spreading around. I’m also considering the fact that my constant mild yeast infection may have moved up into my urinary tract? Maybe the cyst is just an innocent bystander caught between my UTI and Yeast Infection, but I’m much more aware of it being there and frankly when I look at it in the mirror I get really self conscious and want it gone…
So. Without further adieu I present my cyst for your inspection. I don’t know whether I should accept it, love it and call it George, or be freaked out by the fact that it’s starting to hurt and…I may need surgery and “oh god what if it’s a tumor and they damage/deform my urethra and I have to wear a diaper for the rest of my life, I’m only 28 how could this be happening…” train of thought.
I basically have no one to turn to about this right now since normally I would ask my mom…but I can’t do that anymore. So any thoughts/comments would be great.
After I pee I swab it with a q-tip dipped in tea tree oil because I really find the topical analgesic properties of the oil work wonders. I do this with a little mirror that hooks on to the edge of my toilet seat and I can see that I’m getting in and around the cyst (I can’t just shove a cotton ball back there it hurts too much), anyway on a whim while I was swabbing the cyst itself I pressed a little harder into the centre of the cyst with the q tip and some yellowish/white fluid leaked out of my urethra right above the cyst. I noticed this and pressed a little harder (it wasn’t anymore painful than swabbing or poking at it while wiping) and more fluid leaked out and stopped. I think this only confirms that the cyst’s drain is somewhere just inside the opening of my urethra and it’s most likely a urethral cyst and not a vaginal cyst which is why I couldn’t find anything describing it when searching “vaginal cysts”. I DO think I have a yeast infection on top of everything else, it feels so good to “scratch” around there with the q-tip. So I am going in to have it checked tomorrow but I’m kind of relieved it just drained from some light pressure and didn’t like…explode painfully. The size of it hasn’t changed much, maybe it’s wishful thinking that it’s gotten smaller. Will keep ya’ll updated. Thanks for reading!!
EDIT LE DEUX
So after some drama I got into a private clinic this morning with a gynecologist who very calmly asked me the usual questions, had me hop up on the table, poked around for a few minutes and then sat me back down and said that I do, indeed, have a urethral cyst. Because of the size and position it is preferable not to lance or operate at this time. He said lancing would meaning cutting an incision and draining it but that did not guarantee it wouldn’t return and require more lancing. Which, every time you do it, means a little scar. So the only thing to do to ensure it goes away and stays gone is to perform an actual surgery to open the skin enclosing the cyst and scrape out every last bit of it. This is a somewhat invasive surgery in a very sensitive area and he is very concerned about damaging the opening of my urethra and causing a whole bunch of other problems in that regard. If the infection doesn’t go away with antibiotics and/or if it returns persistently then perhaps at that point we can weight the risks of complications after surgery vs. subjecting me to constant bouts of antibiotics/pain from the recurring infection. I, personally, also thing that at this point a urologist may be also someone I may want to consult with since s/he may have a bit more to say about all this, it being more a urological “jurisdiction” than a vaginal one.
I was also prescribed a cream for my yeast infection. And there you have it. Case closed? I think not. I’m really self conscious about “George” and would like to shrink him down as small as possible, so I will be seeking other opinions for how to deal with that non-surgically so that perhaps my body can simply heal itself? Sadly one of the treatments I see online is simply taking lots of hot baths. I only have a shower stall at the moment but have been thinking about installing a bathtub for sometime.
Once again if you’ve read along this far thank you for your interest, advice, thoughts and insights.
All the best Vagpagers! (Vag-badgers?!)