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Ongoing problem with vagina / sex
February 8, 2013 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Please share your insights as to why my vagina might be so temperamental.

I've seen a specialist and a regular doc about this issue I'm not getting anywhere.

For roughly two years, every month, after ovulation, my vagina is really irritated off and on until I get my period. A few days after my period, it's fine again. During the irritated stage, there's a slight burning during urination. If I try to have sex (even oral sex) during irritation, it hurts/burns like hell and especially so afterward, when I pee. How does it feel during sex? Like my husband's penis is made of sandpaper.

It's usually most painful at night/before bed. When I wake up in the morning, it's not bad at all.

Early 30's. Negative for STDs (including herpes), no birth control or pills of any kind, lambskin condoms only. I rarely consume alcohol and don't smoke. Very healthy diet w/ little caffeine.

Husband and I have some issues w/ sex (he wants it more frequently), which makes this issue even more troublesome. If it weren't for the timing of the irritation, I might gather it's a psychological issue.

Any insights would be much appreciated.
posted by okay-quiet-time to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hmm... you've seen a doctor, have you ruled out UTIs and yeast infections? I have found that yeast infections sometimes clear up by themselves during my period, so perhaps you could have an infection that dies down during your period and then either ramps back up, or is reintroduced by your husband when you have sex again.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:46 PM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Could you have a PH problem? I've started using Luvena PH balancing gel regularly and it's really helping the issues I was having. My symptoms are/were similar to you.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:47 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


See a specialist. Ask about hormone allergies, if it's that tightly connected to your cycle. I'm in the middle of figuring something very similar to this out.
posted by lydhre at 2:48 PM on February 8, 2013


Maybe try a different kind of condom? Are you open to taking hormonal birth control or switching to another method?

I get "angry vagina" (not a technical term) and it has a lot to do with condoms, but it's also somewhat random. The doc gave me some sort of cream to put on there. If yours didn't offer it, maybe see another OB-GYN. The people at Planned Parenthood were the best about this issue, way better than my regular GYN who really couldn't be bothered.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:54 PM on February 8, 2013


Cytolytic vaginosis (also known as Doderlein’s cytolysis) is a type of vaginosis which is often more severe during the luteal phase. The luteal phase is the part of your menstrual cycle after ovulation until your menses begins, roughly the time that you're experiencing symptoms. Of course, I have no idea if you have vaginosis, but it's worth investigating the possibility. Maybe you have another kind of vaginosis but it's just more pronounced during the luteal phase?
posted by barnone at 2:54 PM on February 8, 2013


I wonder if you might be sensitive to the lambskin condoms (even though they are hypoallergenic) and/or any accompanying lubrication. What if you tried holding one next to your skin, maybe on your inner thigh for 30 minutes or so, during the sensitive period and see if a rash results?
posted by carmicha at 2:54 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and are you wearing tight pants? What kind of underwear? What do you wear at night? Can you make your day wear more like your night wear and see if that helps?

These are just questions for you to think about, I don't expect you to answer all of them; I am nosy but not that nosy! :)
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:55 PM on February 8, 2013


Thanks, everyone! I thought I'd done everything possible to ward off infections -- hypoallergenic, fragrance-free detergent and soaps, 100% cotton underwear. No way to thongs or skinny jeans. My vagina is ridiculously pampered.
posted by okay-quiet-time at 3:04 PM on February 8, 2013


Is it possible you're extremely un-lubricated during the luteal phase? Maybe you are so dry that you're experiencing irritation?

Several message boards out there seem to suggest Cytolytic Vaginosis as a possibility. This person has a similar set of symptoms, so it might be helpful to read the entire thread. The treatment for cytolytic vaginosis seems to be sodium bicarbonate douching or sitz baths, or a combination of that for several weeks. Then try the sitz baths for the week before the symptoms are expected for several months.

And...no tampons for a good while!

Are you willing to change to a different condom?
posted by barnone at 3:12 PM on February 8, 2013


I would suspect the condom. It seems to me you're just sensitive, nothing wrong with that. Also, drink more water. Lots of water.
posted by glasseyes at 4:32 PM on February 8, 2013


I had similar problems for a while and it turned out to be a yeast infection that wouldn't go away and wasn't acting like I thought yeast infections did. So also recommending checking into that, if you haven't already. Also, yeah, could be pH, lubrication, or maybe reacting strangely to the condoms.
posted by naturalog at 4:39 PM on February 8, 2013


I think the person above who said "hormone allergies" must have meant something else. That phrase doesn't make sense - you can no more be truly "allergic" to hormones than you can be allergic to any other substance that is naturally found in your body at all times (you don't only have hormones during your period).

Is the specialist you saw a specialist in vaginitis/chronic pelvic pain? There are some reasonable suggestions above, but if nothing seems to be working, that might be an option to consider.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:09 PM on February 8, 2013


Oh, I also sometimes get a burning sensation when I am having trouble completely emptying my bladder. Now it's due to some pelvic floor damage from childbirth, but I used to have a similar problem due to endometriosis, which affected my bladder (much more so during certain times of the month, when I would feel like I had a persistent very mild UTI). Do you have any other pain or digestive symptoms that go along with your cycle? Are your periods bad? Cramps bad?

I also had pain with sex due to the endometriosis, but it felt much more like a dull, pulling internal pain then what you're describing.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:45 PM on February 8, 2013


I had similar problems but the other way around, between my periods and ovulation I would be extremely irritated down there, dry and it stung when I peed. It ended up with me freaking out thinking I wasn't attracted to my husband enough to get lubricated and thinking it was the end of everything, turned out to be a UTI that kicked into high gear as my body chemistry changed which then set a yeast infection into overdrive 2 weeks a month. I swear there were weeks I thought I had every rare and horrible problem that I read on the internet and that my husband was going to leave me because I didn't want to have sex with him anymore. Go see your doctor and eliminate the simpler options first it took me a few doses to get rid of both the infection and the yeast.

It took a while to get rid of as my husband was reinfecting me with the yeast infection so he took a dose got a dose of the medicine too and everything finally worked out OK. I was a bit cautious for a few months afterwards and we experimented with a wide range of lubes and my husband was extra kind and careful when he realised what was going through my head, but for a while there sex with him was painful emotionally as well as physically so make sure you let your husband know what is happening from the get go and don't wait months like I did.
posted by wwax at 8:45 PM on February 8, 2013


omg, you are me! I had the EXACT same symptoms you describe, and wound up being diagnosed with Overactive bladder. My bladder symptoms (like you - burning, irritates *all* the nerve endings down there and makes sex painful - oral esp!) are/were all the time; vaginal symptoms (sandpaper burning feeling) come and go, seemingly based on hormones and possibly stress.

I'm on 2.5mg of Ditropan 1 or 2 times a day, not perfect but mostly better! Also helped was checking my diet (turns out corn and tea are triggers), and massage by a well trained tigger-point therapist (also does a lot of sports-remedial massage).

I highly recommend speaking to a urologist. I also highly recommend Ending Female Paid by Isa Herrera. I suspect that my spasming bladder was causing other tissue to tense - tense vaginal muscles etc. (vaginismus) cause that burning feeling.

FWIW, it also took me and lots of doctors years to sort all this out. I kept getting told I probably had a yeast infection or a UTI (alternately) - even though the tests would come back negative ("it's probably just not showing up yet") - and getting prescribed yeast things or antibiotics.

In the meantime, keeping a bottle of chilled water around helps immensely - I grab it on the way to the toilet and give myself a little rinse with cool water after. It soothes/numbs the burning feels and is AMAZINGLY helpful.

By all means, meMail me with questions or for commiserating! (I'm glad it's not just me too!)
Good luck!
posted by jrobin276 at 11:44 PM on February 8, 2013


Oh yes - nixing the condoms/lube, if you used them helps too. As did going evenings commando.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:45 PM on February 8, 2013


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