Monday, June 29, 2009

Do not read if you are squeamish or uninterested in "lady problems"

You've been warned. I can easily be accused of TMI here, but I'm furious and want to stand up for women for a minute.

Several years ago, I got a lump in a "lady area" that was diagnosed as a Bartholin's cyst. The problem was taken care of in the ER, since I did not at that time have a physician or insurance (this was two weeks before I started my job). A few years later, I got another one in a slightly different area, and then several more, one at a time. My CNP confirmed the issue as cysts, but not necessarily a Bartholin's cyst. She said there are other glands in there and they can get cysts or abscesses. She indicated that it wasn't a big deal, especially since my cysts were always small. Every summer, though, the problem recurs, and I have been attempting to learn more about it, not just to get rid of them when I get them, but to prevent them if possible and understand how they occur.

It is true that if one performs a search for "Bartholin's cyst" one gets lots of results, some of them from reputable medical sources. But as I mentioned, not every cyst is a Bartholin's cyst, and so I tried to expand my search. Instead of getting real information, one gets pages and pages of questions from other women who have this problem, and few answers. The Bartholin's cyst pages claim that lots of women get cysts. So why is everyone so confused, and why is there no helpful information on this problem?

I turned my attention to books, and started with the Wood County Library. As I looked through the stacks of medical books, I found lots of books on pregnancy, several on men's genital health, two on boobs, and ONE BOOK on general female health and emotional wellness, which had nothing on cysts. WTF? I thought to myself, profanely. Here I am, a woman with a delicate question, and no resource ready to hand to help me with this "common" problem that no one seems to know or care about. But I can tell you (and I really should have said this to my CNP) that if you were to take, say, a dried pea, and shove it under the skin of your labia, you'd not only know about it, you'd think it was a very big deal and want to get rid of it and prevent it from coming back.

A helpful suggestion was given to me to check out the Science Library here on campus, or the science books wherever they end up when the Ogg closes, which I will surely do. It just infuriates me that I lived twenty-five years of my life without knowing this problem was possible, that I had to be scared of whatever it was when it first occurred, and that now, when I'm seeking information, it is beyond difficult to find. To me, that's completely unacceptable.

End of rant.

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