Make the itching stop!
November 22, 2006 5:53 PM   Subscribe


My girlfriend complained to me recently that, for the past few times we've had sex, if she hasn't washed *very* thoroughly afterwards, she's had intense itching the day after. It passes after a day, and there's no obvious external problem. She has no other usual discomfort. She's on ortho-tri, and we don't use condoms.

Is it possible this is related to thrush or a similar infection? What might cause this?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe she's allergic to your spunk? Or you are using a new lubricant?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 6:16 PM on November 22, 2006

If you're using condoms (not that I *really* want to know, you understand), she may have an allergy to either the latex or the spermicide--I've known women allergic to both. One can, by the way, become sensitized to latex with repeated exposure.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 6:29 PM on November 22, 2006

thrush=yeast=jockitch=a few dozen other things (in a fungal sort of way) (IAND) Oddly enough, you may even be irritating something that already exists there (yeast fungus is always present in there, it's only when there's too much do problems begin).

If she/you is/are concerned about that particular problem she needs to go see her ob and you could pick up some lamisil, just in case. (Don't get the spray, that shit can hurt if you're sensitive.)

But then again, one of you (or both now) could have something nastier hidden down there.
posted by IronLizard at 7:00 PM on November 22, 2006

Anonymous doesn't use condoms (see above).


"Factors that increase your risk of yeast infections include:

* Medications such as antibiotics and steroids
* Uncontrolled diabetes
* Hormonal changes, such as those associated with pregnancy and birth control pills"

I think it's most likely to be a yeast infection. There are other types of bacterial infections and such, but she should go to a doctor and get checked out for that first. Even if there aren't any symptoms other than itching - I think that's still the most likely possibility.

Other possibilities might include a soap that's too harsh (causing general skin irritation which makes sex worse) - or not enough lube. But I figure you probably already covered that base. (Anonymous knows how to treat the ladies).
posted by eleyna at 7:08 PM on November 22, 2006

I don't remember yeast infections/thrush following a pattern of a single day of itching after sex and then one or more days of relief. (Of course, if you're having sex very frequently, this could mean near-constant itching.) I remember once or twice getting a severe burning sensation shortly after having sex with my husband when we first started dating, leading us to think I was allergic to him in some way, but the problem seemed to clear up on its own.

I agree that she should see a doctor and have an obvious candidate like yeast or another bothersome little infection verified or ruled out. On the other hand, it could be a condition such as lichen sclerosus, which can disrupt your life if allowed to flourish without treatment but which can be easily controlled with the correct topical corticosteroid ointment. (Trust me on this!) The site I linked says it usually develops in post-menopausal women, but I developed it in my twenties.

Most likely, she has a yeast infection. But if it's treated and things don't improve, she should have her doctor continue to investigate what it could be.
posted by rosemere at 7:28 PM on November 22, 2006

You can actually have a minor allergic reaction to another person's sweat, or it could be a friction burn, or anything else that happens when two people bump and grind against each other. I have a (male) friend who claims he occasionally gets a slight rash with a new partner due to body chemistry. It might be nothing to worry about, but getting it checked out can't hurt.
posted by mikeh at 7:44 PM on November 22, 2006

Yeast infections don't generally disappear after a day, but she should probably check with her doctor about that. You don't really say where she's itchy, like whether it's external or internal. Could it just be...chafing? Have you been having more enthusiastic sex lately?

Or it could be maybe some kind of chemical that's causing irritation? Switched lube? Could it be something like soap you're using? (I'm assuming that you keep your genitals, which you're putting inside her, clean).
posted by SoftRain at 7:46 PM on November 22, 2006

It may not be that the yeast infection is "clearing up after a day" but that it just no longer burns after that point. The sex could trigger the feelings of this irritation, but not be the cause. Basically, I think it may be a yeast infection that is flaring up but not being completely cured.
posted by piratebowling at 8:05 PM on November 22, 2006

It's not necessarily a yeast infection. Bacterial infections can cause itching too, and if there's no trademark cottage-cheesy discharge, it sounds like it might not be yeast. It could also be an irritation or allergy, as already mentioned. Really, the only way to find out for sure, and to get a really good ointment to take care of the itchin, is for her to go see her doctor and get a culture of the area taken.
posted by tastybrains at 8:37 PM on November 22, 2006

I meant to write out "itching" not "itchin" sorry. I hate it when people leave the "g's" off.
posted by tastybrains at 8:38 PM on November 22, 2006

Yeast infections don't generally disappear after a day
, they get worse.
posted by radioamy at 9:02 PM on November 22, 2006

Itching could be caused by a number of things, most of which have already been suggested. Sex tends to be irritating; it may be that simply the act of sex itself, especially if it is rough or vigorous, may be chafing your girlfriend's skin. This is especially likely if she is experiencing any discomfort during the sex itself. It's aso quite possible that the friction is causing an underlying problem to flair up.

She could have a yeast infections (thrush, as you mentioned), which the sex is iritating. Yeast infections are often accompanied by thick, whitish discharge, although symptoms can differ from person to person.

Likewise, she could have a bacterial infection (bacterial vaginosis), which is flaring up after sex. These are usually accompanied by unusual (often fishy-)smelling vaginal discharges-- but again, symptoms can differ. Vaginitis is a particularly likely candidate if the switch to birth control has been recent, as hormonal changes can upset the vaginal environment, causing normal vaginal bacteria to suddenly flourish.

A doctor will be able to determine if either of these are the problem. Both are easily treatable.

Another possibility is some sort of sexually transmitted infection. The most likely candidates for this are trichomoniasis (can be treated with antibiotics) or herpes. A simply google search should turn up a list of other possible symptoms for both. These, too, can be best diagnosed by a doctor.

Allergic reaction is also possible. Semen allergies do exist, but are very, very rare, and I doubt this is the problem. But whatever soaps or other genital hygiene products either you or her are using could be irritating her, especially after sex has rubbed them rather vigorously into the skin.

You are unlikely to figure out exactly what the problem is unless you consult a good OB/GYN-- which I highly recommend doing. But if your girlfriend is not experiencing any other symptoms and you want to try to address the problem at home, there are some things you can try. First, avoid using any sort of cleansing agents on both of your genital areas and hands except for mild, unscented, hypoallergenic soap. Second, make sure you use plenty of (unscented) water-based lubricant during sex, to minimise irritation. Third, she should wash "*very* thoroughly" afterwards, since this seems to help with the irritation. If that doesn't help, then a doctor's visit is deffinately in order.

Good luck! I hope you solve this little hang-up easily, and have lots and lots of happy sex.
posted by bookish at 9:25 PM on November 22, 2006

You've gotten a lot of good advice already, but I just wanted to point you and your girlfriend toward a good resource (along with another vote for a visit to her GYN). Y'all may want to check out Vagina Pagina. A search of their Vulvapedia reveals several possible reasons for the itching, and it's an incredibly informative site in general - sort of an AskMe for the vagina, if you will. There's also a LiveJournal community associated with the site with a lot of helpful information as well. Good luck!
posted by mewithoutyou at 10:31 PM on November 22, 2006

Do you eat anything she is allergic to?
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:18 AM on November 23, 2006

Again, there is lots of good advice.

I wouldn't self-medicate with over the counter stuff for yeast, unless you know for sure it is a yeast infection. Yeast infections are pretty distinctive and don't generally go away after only a day.

Some home remedies for yeast include using plain yogurt or a clove of garlic put up in the canal.

People also recommend urinating right after sex (it actually sterilizes things if it's your own).
posted by brookeb at 11:01 AM on November 23, 2006

could it be an allergy to something you usually wash yourself with before the act?
posted by MonkNoiz at 10:15 AM on November 24, 2006

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