Non-STD causes for unusual vaginal discharge? (TMI warning).
March 27, 2014 8:22 PM   Subscribe

A few days ago, I noticed an odd odor coming from my vaginal discharge in the morning. Today, it was a greenish color (kind of like snot). Dr. Google seems to think that the only explanations are STI related. I am in a long-term monogamous relationship, and there has been no infidelity to my knowledge. I will of course seek professional medical advice, but am currently traveling alone in a remote area and will not be able to call my GYN for a week. Are there any innocent explanations, or am I looking at some heartbreak in the days to come?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Bacterial vaginosis, for one.
posted by Cat Face at 8:31 PM on March 27, 2014 [14 favorites]

I've heard the wisdom before that bad smells equal bad news, where vaginal discharge is concerned. My first thought is Bacterial Vaginosis, though, not an STI.

Are you by any chance traveling in the sort of remote place that has less stringent rules about what medications are available over the counter, or where pharmacists can prescribe medications? If so, I'd go to the nearest pharmacy and see what the pharmacist thinks you should take.
posted by Sara C. at 8:33 PM on March 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Some STIs can be carried with no symptoms. It's possible your partner has been a carrier for something for a long time without knowing it.
posted by aka burlap at 8:33 PM on March 27, 2014

Vaginas can go weird for all sorts of reasons that do not include STIs - dietary changes, immune responses and inflammation unrelated to an STI, stress, changes in your environment and physical activity levels, etc.* Do get tested as soon as it's possible but do not assume an STI is particularly likely.

*the same rule applies to almost all MeFi questions about cats and vaginas, basically: "why is my cat/vagina doing weird thing? because it's a cat/vagina"
posted by slow graffiti at 8:47 PM on March 27, 2014 [37 favorites]

Yeah, don't immediately jump to the STI conclusion. If things like you describe were solely an outcome of STIs, my wife would have some 'splaining to do.
posted by nixxon at 9:01 PM on March 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't jump to conclusions - there are lots of potential explanations, the main probability being BV. Also, even if you're healthy, your diet, water consumption, age, stage in your circle, stress, __insert other factor here__ can all change the appearance, consistency and smell of your discharge. Good luck and try to drink water, don't douche, and (might be a placebo, but hey) eat yogurt if you can get it.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 9:41 PM on March 27, 2014

Traveling of any sort... disrupted food, sleep, hygiene, humidity, swimming in natural bodies of water, etc. is pretty much guaranteed to leave me with a yeast infection, if not BV. I've had these symptoms and was worried and had it turn out to be just a yeast infection (went to Dr.). Vaginas are weird. Go to a doctor when you can, but I wouldn't worry. Stay away from Google and WebMD in the meantime. Keep as clean and dry as you can, don't douche, and talk to a pharmacist (who if nothing else might be able to keep you comfortable until you can see your gyno). Cotton underwear or going commando can help too... air flow.
posted by jrobin276 at 1:31 AM on March 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Did you perhaps forget to remove a tampon? That sounds like the exact description of what happened to, um, a friend who forgot to take out a tampon when her period ended.
posted by _Mona_ at 6:24 AM on March 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

Just nthing what everyone says - I have been battling various outbreaks of BV for years now and - I"m celibate. So, uh, yeah, definitely not necessarily an STI! The gynecologist is unworried, says it is probably just hormone changes, what can you do? Well. For now, check to make sure it isn't a tampon (_Mona_ is right, that happens, to many many women) wear cotton underwear and if it's really uncomfortable, you can try some plain yogurt up in there. Soak a tampon in yogurt and insert. Sometimes that really helps and I don't think it can actually hurt.

When you get back to civilization, get tested to make sure it is BV. If it is, you can get a prescription antibiotic. Flagyl is the old school one - it no longer works for me at all and may not for you either. There's a new one; I can't remember the name, but it does work. The other thing that I am finding helps a lot is probiotics.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:12 AM on March 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

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