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Ladies only....cysts in bad places...asking for help again


ktgrok
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Warning, this is very much TMI, but I'm desperate.

 

I think I've asked about this before, but trying again as it's getting bad again. I get cysts, like a sebaceous cyst I guess, on my labia, both the labia majora and minora. Needless to say, this is not comfortable. They get inflamed, usually never come to a head, then eventually go away. Usually takes about a week. A painful week, depending on where one is. Right now it's worse, and I have FOUR at once!!! One is on the very edge of the labia minora, and that labia is larger than the other (I think from swelling/trauma from the birth of kid number 2) and so the cyst is exposed to my underwear, etc and darn it it hurts.  These are NOT barholin cysts or whatever those are. These happen in all different places all over my girly bits, and are some kind of inclusion cyst or something. 

 

My mom gets cysts on her bikini line, recurring, and needs antibiotics for them, but not on her vulva like I do. 

 

I've asked every ob/gyn I've ever met. I have never gotten much help. The last one gave me some antibiotic ointment to use, but it doesn't seem to help. I don't think it penetrates down into the cyst. If I'm still in pain tomorrow I'll call and ask about oral antibiotics I guess. I've been told by one Gyn that he could remove them when they happen, but the stitches would be more painful than the cyst, so not worth it. 

 

I used to use antibacterial soap down there, which maybe helped prevent them a bit, but also led to me getting yeast infections, or at least the start of them, so I'd stop the soap. Going to get some today though,because this is ridiculous. I can treat a yeast infection easily if I have to. 

 

My ONLY possible correlation that I can figure out is maybe wearing tight pants. Not like hot pants, lol, but things with a tighter crotch, like yoga pants and jeans that area bit snug. Not tight, fitting properly, but still, they are up flush with my crotch versus say baggy shorts or something. I can try to lay off that for a week or so, but I can't wear baggy clothes 24/7 the rest of my life!

 

I've tried shaving down there vs not, it makes no difference. And it's not like the labia minora has hair in the first place. 

 

I suppose I could go to a dermatologist, but appts take forever to get, and so timing it when I have a cyst is hard. And although i am fairly comfortable going to the gyn the idea of a dermatologist working "down there" is not something I'm very happy about. 

 

so, any thoughts?

Edited by ktgrok
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No advice, but sympathy.  I've had a couple of cysts down there and they;re very painful!  Mine went away in a week or two, and I've never had enough to pursue treatment.

 

Thanks, just knowing I'm not the only one to have this kind of helps. It seems it isn't very common :(

 

Sometimes I go months without any, but lately they are bad. I had one that lasted weeks, and that's when the gyn gave me the ointment, that really didn't help. It did eventually go away. But now I'm just a mess. blergh. 

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I haven't had one in a long time.  But I'm almost 53..  I guess there's at least some connection with hormones?

 

Very possibly. I've decided to start tracking that, to see. This batch seems to correlate with mid cycle, so ovulation maybe? Yesterday was day 14 of my cycle, and when I realized there were FOUR! I've never had more than 2 at a time. 

 

With all the weight loss my hormones have been a bit crazy. I am taking DHEA, which is known to cause acne, but I have no acne anywhere else, and we tested my levels before I started taking it and I was low on DHEA, so it's unlikely I have an excess now. And the cysts were there before I started taking it, in fact, I had a bad one while I was at the Gyn, before he prescribed the DHEA (for other reasons). 

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I have had them a few times and they ARE very painful. A few of mine have come more to a head so I have used a sterilized needle to "pop" them and drain them. That provided a great deal of relief but is not the easiest thing to do on yourself and dh was not about to help with that one.

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Off to church :(

 

If I had my way I'd sit home today with hot compresses on my crotch, but my daughter has a song to sing at a church event this week, so needs to go to Sunday school to rehearse. Blergh. I'll be the lady walking like a cowboy, bowlegged, up to communion. 

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I have no idea what they feel like or what triggers them, but my best friend in college got them in the places you describe, and the only thing that helped her was a dermatology visit. Establish a relationship with a derm so you can be seen quickly in the future. The only thing I can remember is my friend had bad acne, controlled by derm visits, but I don't know of that's related.

 

Warning, this is very much TMI, but I'm desperate.

 

I think I've asked about this before, but trying again as it's getting bad again. I get cysts, like a sebaceous cyst I guess, on my labia, both the labia majora and minora. Needless to say, this is not comfortable. They get inflamed, usually never come to a head, then eventually go away. Usually takes about a week. A painful week, depending on where one is. Right now it's worse, and I have FOUR at once!!! One is on the very edge of the labia minora, and that labia is larger than the other (I think from swelling/trauma from the birth of kid number 2) and so the cyst is exposed to my underwear, etc and darn it it hurts. These are NOT barholin cysts or whatever those are. These happen in all different places all over my girly bits, and are some kind of inclusion cyst or something.

 

My mom gets cysts on her bikini line, recurring, and needs antibiotics for them, but not on her vulva like I do.

 

I've asked every ob/gyn I've ever met. I have never gotten much help. The last one gave me some antibiotic ointment to use, but it doesn't seem to help. I don't think it penetrates down into the cyst. If I'm still in pain tomorrow I'll call and ask about oral antibiotics I guess. I've been told by one Gyn that he could remove them when they happen, but the stitches would be more painful than the cyst, so not worth it.

 

I used to use antibacterial soap down there, which maybe helped prevent them a bit, but also led to me getting yeast infections, or at least the start of them, so I'd stop the soap. Going to get some today though,because this is ridiculous. I can treat a yeast infection easily if I have to.

 

My ONLY possible correlation that I can figure out is maybe wearing tight pants. Not like hot pants, lol, but things with a tighter crotch, like yoga pants and jeans that area bit snug. Not tight, fitting properly, but still, they are up flush with my crotch versus say baggy shorts or something. I can try to lay off that for a week or so, but I can't wear baggy clothes 24/7 the rest of my life!

 

I've tried shaving down there vs not, it makes no difference. And it's not like the labia minora has hair in the first place.

 

I suppose I could go to a dermatologist, but appts take forever to get, and so timing it when I have a cyst is hard. And although i am fairly comfortable going to the gyn the idea of a dermatologist working "down there" is not something I'm very happy about.

 

so, any thoughts?

Edited by reefgazer
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Thanks. I actually don't have any acne, just down there! How weird is that? But I fear you are right. I just so don't want to do that :(

 

And I mean, i think antibiotics are the only treatment for cystic stuff, at least that is safe with few side effects. Hopefully my Gyn will do that for me. My mom's gave her a standing prescription for when she gets them, on the bikini line. 

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Test your hormones again, or just try going off the DHEA for a while.  Weight loss can shift hormones dramatically.  That's my guess as to what's going on.

 

Also try drinking a lot more water.  Basically if it's not near a meal time, try to force water.

 

Washing with baby shampoo might also help. 

 

Have you had a biopsy?  I would schedule an appointment with a dermatologist if it lasts past ovulation or gets worse.  There is such a thing as vulvar cancer, and I think most of them start as some sort of skin cancer.  I only had one patient with this though, and she was transferred to oncology as soon as the labs came back, so I don't know that much about it.

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If you decide to shave down there again, get "Tend Skin" (it's on Amazon) to use as an aftershave. It is an alcohol-based aftershave that you swab on with cotton balls after shaving. It 100% stopped razor-burn/redness/pus-acne like eruptions in the shaved area/etc for me. Of course it stings a good bit for a few seconds, but really, it's just a few seconds. You only use it on the shaved skin, so it shouldn't cause UTI since it won't get in your urinary tract. 

 

I have had a few cysts over the years, and I've had two in recent months (after many years of not having them). Dh is a vet so I have easy access to sterile needles and a handy partner in "crime" . . . I decided I wasn't waiting for them to come to a head or to go to a DR, I had dh "lance" the cyst with a (truly) sterile needle.  Just poke it into the (washed) pus-filled area/cyst and watch some pus ooze out. Follow up with washing and hot soak. A medium to large size sterile needle is probably easiest to allow pus to "escape" the hole you poke. If you are tempted to squeeze now, try to resist. It's smarter not to, as you might force the bad stuff into deeper tissues. I think I used around 18 gauge needle. I don't remember specifically, as I brought home a variety of sizes . . . It hurt like hell for a couple seconds, but then it was 90% better within the hour and 100% within 12 hours. The second one was a few weeks later, and dh was at work when I noticed it, so I did it myself. No problem. Same experience. This way each cyst actually was only uncomfortable for under 24 hours. 

 

Also, warm soaks (as hot as you can handle, but don't burn yourself) help both to fight bacteria and also to "bring it to a head", so if you aren't going to lance it, then hot soaks several times a day should speed healing. (I did this twice a day during my cyst battles, but since I cut them so short, I just did it 2-4 times with each cyst over a day or so.) You want the water as hot as you can stand. A shallow hot bath might work, but a clean washcloth going in/out of hot water every minute or two (rotate 2 cloths in one hot sink/pot of water) might allow you to use hotter water since you can localize it more than with a bath. For any infected skin/abscess/cyst, etc, my routine treatment is to always wash with soap/water first, then soak in as hot water as I can tolerate for 10-15 min (using either hot cloths or an actual soak). Twice a day or more (as often as I can manage, more often if I'm super uncomfortable). This wash/soak pattern alone will solve most small infections within a day or so, but cysts are a bigger issue with deeper pocket of pus . . . And they hurt like hell on an important part, so I lanced mine for speed of healing. 

 

FWIW, obviously you want the skin clean before doing this (the Tend Skin was handy, but soap and water or a wound wash would work) and you need a sterile needle. I've been known to take a well washed sewing needle to a splinter, but I wouldn't want to be putting anything unsterile into my girl parts. :) If you can't get sterile needles but do have a pressure cooker, you can google online on using it to sterilize a sewing needle. (Pressure cookers can be effectively used to sterilize things, from what I hear.) 

 

 

 

 

Edited by StephanieZ
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ps. Reading some of the above posts, I thought I should mention that my hormones were very whacked when I had those two recent cysts, as I was under extreme stress and was losing weight rapidly. So, anyway, that's +1 for weight loss and/or hormones possibly being a causative factor. Since my weight stabilized and stress/hormones stabilized, I haven't had any more. 

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You need to see a dermatologist.

 

I get cysts on my face and they can be injected with a combo steroid and antibiotic and they will be gone with in 24 hours.

 

My kids get them as well- my son had one on his cheek so large it was swelling his eye shut, and one on his ear lobe which made his ear twice its normal size and shiny red.

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I had one last week. It's finally down and nearly gone. I think it may be related to caffeine intake in my case. Are you drinking more coffee or diet sodas with caffeine lately? (Just an idea.)

 

Funny story that relates:

 

My friend Judy asked for prayer for one of her friends, who was going in for surgery to have a vulvar cyst removed.

We made her a card--it had a picture of a nun sitting on a car and the inside said, "Heard you had a Sister on your Volvo! Praying for ya!"

I think of that phrase from time to time and giggle...

 

:laugh:

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I have never heard of cysts like you describe. I suppose I count it as my something new learnt today. 

 

Years ago, before kids I had a cyst in a place my Dh discovered when we were having tea. Looking up cyst terms now I think it was a ovarian cyst. I can't remember now, but I did get it checked out. It was small, never caused me problems and then went away. 

 

Well around that time we were at my in-laws sitting around the kitchen table. The topic of cysts came up. Dh proclaimed, "Julie has a cyst." and then since it was in a private area and he knew it might not be a subject I wanted discussed with all my in-laws, he tired - unsuccessfully to save the conversation with, "but I'm not telling where". When he realized he had even made the situation worse he jumped up from the table and ran away. 

 

:p 

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Just a couple things that might make you more comfortable.  1.  Get a peri bottle (or just a clean squirt bottle of some kind) and use that to clean yourself after going to the bathroom.  Urine can be burny to things that are sore and TP can feel abrasive.  Just squirt with warm water and pat dry.  2. Coat yourself well in personal lubricant.  It will keep your skin from rubbing itself as you move about.

 

:grouphug:   What a sucky thing to deal with.

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People who have recurrent severe boils and pimples in this area may have hydradenitis suppurative.  For that, Accutane can be wonderful, for some people.  However, before I considered that, look at what has changed as a possible explanation, particularly since it sounds like you have not had this long term.  

 

Do you have cysts on both sides?  Or only one side?

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Some answers:

 

Hmm...i have had a bit more caffeine...I can cut back down to my normal two cups a day. I had a third cup several times this week. 

 

This has gone on for years and years and years, well before I started the DHEA. I actually had some when he prescribed it. Just not four at once. The DHEA is partly for libido (which is suddenly better, yay!) and partly because we are thinking about trying for a baby in the new year, and I'm nearly forty. DHEA helps make ovaries young again, for lack of a lenghty explanation. I'm hesitant to stop it, but will if I have to.

 

Hormones are probably a good part of it, given the weight loss. I also started having periods again recently, despite my Mirena. Dr. says it is weight loss related. At the same time my libido came back, which had been gone since surgery/weight loss. (we did an ultrasound, mirena is in place where it should be). 

 

Not a Bartholin's cyst, those are in a particular place and these are all over. 

 

It's not just the shaved area, it's areas that have no hair too. 

 

I'll look up the term mentioned, to see if that is it. 

 

Will do the compresses. Hard to do that in privacy, but the kids are going to be outside playing with Daddy while he puts up the lights, so will do it them, and again later today. They do seem to help speed things along. 

 

I've lanced them before (had access to a sterile needle) and either the needle wasn't big enough or I didn't go deep enough or something. A bit came out, but there was still a LOT of hard inflammation around it. 

 

It feels a bit better right now, I'm wearing a skirt and breathable undies that are a bit loose. Will stay in loose clothes as much as possible. 

 

 

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Maybe not relevant, but could something like clearasil be used in the down there zone? To help clear things up and just as a daily preventative? Maybe it would be too ouchy? I have trouble with breakouts from ingrown hairs around there and have used clearasil successfully, but not cysts and not right there. What a bummer! ;)

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People who have recurrent severe boils and pimples in this area may have hydradenitis suppurative.  For that, Accutane can be wonderful, for some people.  However, before I considered that, look at what has changed as a possible explanation, particularly since it sounds like you have not had this long term.  

 

Do you have cysts on both sides?  Or only one side?

 

Googled, and yup, that sounds exactly like it. And would explain what my mom gets as well, and it does seem to be genetic. Lovely. I really don't feel comfortable doing accutane as we are talking about having more children, but the other measures are antibiotics (which I'm going to try to get), loose fitting clothing, which I on my own just figured out, warm compresses, and antibacterial soap. 

 

Oh, and remember I said the soap I used didn't help much, maybe a little? I bought hte wrong brand! I bought dial, which has a 0.3% active ingredient. Safeguard was the one I was supposed to buy, which has 0.75% active ingredient, so more than double! I'll use that as maintenance, and for now will do it twice a day with the ointment he gave me. And will call about antibiotics. Ugh. 

 

Oh, and yes, google says flare ups are  linked to hormone issues, weight loss, sweating, etc. I've been exercising more too. I think I'll stop wearing undies with my yoga pants, or wear loose undies and loose shorts when I exercise,a nd make sure to shower right away when I'm done. 

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Oh, I'm so glad you posted about this.  I've had these for years, but I've never known what they're called.  For me, it is definitely triggered by friction/chafing, either against a pad or just underwear due to form-fitting pants.  Usually it's manageable so I'm not interested in seeking help from a doctor, but I'm glad to at least know what it's called.  : )

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I will second the epson salt baths, and the loose fitting clothing. 

 

I have had similar issues and I will say lying in bed with no clothes on and letting everything 'air out' seems to really help.

 

I slept in a loose cotton nightgown and no undies last night, and am currently going commando under my loose skirt. I wasn't brave enough to do that at church, but for home it seems okay :)

 

And just did some salt water compresses. 

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Oh, I'm so glad you posted about this.  I've had these for years, but I've never known what they're called.  For me, it is definitely triggered by friction/chafing, either against a pad or just underwear due to form-fitting pants.  Usually it's manageable so I'm not interested in seeking help from a doctor, but I'm glad to at least know what it's called.  : )

 

Warning, do NOT look at images on the web about this. Seems it can get MUCH worse in some people..and it disturbing to say the least. Now I'm just grateful mine isn't that bad! 

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You can buy Hibiclens at the Costco pharmacy. Much cheaper than anywhere else I've seen. It does not trigger yeast infections for me, and it was recommended to help get rid of an awful combo yeast infection skin gosh awful hellfire rash thing everywhere after my 3rd c/s.

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You can buy Hibiclens at the Costco pharmacy. Much cheaper than anywhere else I've seen. It does not trigger yeast infections for me, and it was recommended to help get rid of an awful combo yeast infection skin gosh awful hellfire rash thing everywhere after my 3rd c/s.

 

I actually have some, now that you mention it. 

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For those who mentioned pads as a problem.  I am allergic to the Always brand and when googling found that this is a more common problem than I had thought.  Just thought I'd put that out there for those who might find it a problem.

 

Yep.  I avoid certain brands.  I have the best luck with certain generics oddly enough.  Some are more plasticy than others.  I have trouble with the plasticy ones.

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Warning, do NOT look at images on the web about this. Seems it can get MUCH worse in some people..and it disturbing to say the least. Now I'm just grateful mine isn't that bad! 

 

Yep.  My mom and sis have had some major issues. 

 

No clue what causes this though.  Frustrating that you can't get any answers or relief. 

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Just wanted you to know that you are not alone in suffering from these. I also have these on occasion in the same areas that they affect you. When they are obviously ready to be popped, I take a warm bath and then use a sterile needle and follow up with soap and warm water. I allow that area to air-dry. Loose fit clothing also makes me a bit more comfortable during those times. 

 

 

 

 

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You could take l-lysine. I started out taking it for cold sores, but I think it is good for any kind of cyst situation. I take 5000 a day when I feel something coming on. It def. helps the cold sores. I'm not sure if it helped when I had what I think was a bartholian cyst, since it only happened once. Maybe use a hair dryer after showering to make sure everything is good and dry.

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I actually have some, now that you mention it.

Hibiclens sounds like a good idea.

 

I was also wondering about wiping the area with tea tree oil (not straight, but mixed with a carrier oil).

 

Treating it in the same way you would treat acne seems reasonable. Do you think it would be possible to use a salicylic acid wash? I know that sounds a little crazy.

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The good news is that the two most painful cysts are almost gone. The bad news is that a new one popped up, thankfully on the outer labia which is less painful. So I currently have 5 of these things (google says they are "inverted pimples"). But only 3 that are painful right now, thankfully. Will call ob/gyn later to see if I can get a script for antibiotics. And will start using the antibacterial soap, I only got it yesterday afternoon after I'd already showered. I am using the bactroban ointment. 

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Alright, between the peer pressure here and from my best friend (who used to work at a derm office) I went to the dermatologist today. 

 

She thinks it's from friction in tighter pants, plus getting sweaty and not showering right away, or at least that's aggravating it. So loose pants, especially when working out, and shower immediately. No running errands or what not after the gym without showering first. Wash with hibicleanse. And she prescribed clindamycin gel and oral doxycycline. Recheck in two weeks. So glad I bit the bullet and went in. If nothing else I'll have someone to call when it flares again, to get more meds. 

 

Oh, and while I was there we did a total skin check. Yeah....ended up with TEN actinic keratosis spots frozen off, plus two biopsies, one of a mole and one of a weird lesion I've had for years that other derms ignored. 

 

Between all that and taking my sick dog to the vet on an emergency basis today I'm DONE. Going to drink my coffee and read a book. While wearing baggy pants. 

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I would go to the dermatologist. ETA: OOps! Posted after reading first few posts, then saw after I posted that you had gone. Hope you get some relief soon!

 

Me too! one of them is REALLY painful now, when I walk. Or sit. But I started the oral antibiotics, so hopefully soon I should be doing better. Even if nothing works, it should be better in 48 hours given usual history. I'm hoping the meds keep another from popping up. When if flares like this I usually have a few weeks of one after another, then months with nothing. 

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For those who mentioned pads as a problem. I am allergic to the Always brand and when googling found that this is a more common problem than I had thought. Just thought I'd put that out there for those who might find it a problem.

Hmmm, I've always been pretty sure I was allergic to Always, but I'm too loyal to switch. I guess I'll need to try something else.

 

So that's one thing that causes them for me, tight clothes (though really, it just if I sit a certain way for a period of time) is another.

I've always used hot compresses.

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So, only one bad one left, and it is smaller than yesterday. yesterday was miserable, I ended up taking a pain pill before bed just to sleep. Today it's smaller, and less painful, but the skin over it is sore from the swelling, rubbing, etc. So I took a cotton pad and put some of the antibiotic ointment on it to make it stick and put that over it, to protect it from rubbing on my underwear. Oh my, SO much better! I can walk without pain now!!!

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