i am on fire. help.
February 10, 2007 3:12 PM   Subscribe

gynfilter: i am itching and burning for no apparent reason. help.

i have a new boyfriend. what does this mean? i quickly developed a uti, and the antibiotics caused a yeast infection. now that those are settled, i still have horrible itching and burning (and this is with no sex). my doctor tells me everything looks normal. he suspects that i might have fibroids and i need to have a pelvic ultrasound. why on earth am i itching and burning? HELP ME
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's possible that the yeast hasn't been adequately treated, or that you have bacterial vaginosis as well -- a very common infection, but it needs to be treated on its own terms. When you say that your doctor (and is he your primary care or OB/GYN?) says "everything looks normal," I can't tell if that means he thinks everything looks normal just upon a visual pelvic exam, or if he's actually done cultures and looked at things microscopically as well, and has been unable to diagnose anything specific. I also find it suspect that he thinks the next step should be a pelvic ultrasound for fibroids -- someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think burning and itching are symptoms of fibroids.

In any case, I think you should get a second opinion -- go see a gynecologist or nurse practioner who won't dismiss this simply because "everything looks normal." If you're having itching and burning, then something is still wrong, and it needs to be treated.

Good luck!
posted by scody at 3:35 PM on February 10, 2007

In my experience this happens a lot at the start of a relationship, partly from intense sexual activity and partly from sharing germs. But just because it might be "normal" doesn't mean that you shouldn't take it seriously; you need to go to a better doctor and get this straightened out.

If you are using condoms, could you be having a latex allergy? Switching to the plastic ones (Avanti is one brand in the US) or the lambskin varieties (which aren't as good for std prevention) for a few nights will rule that out.

I've heard of women being allergic to a partner's semen, but I think that's pretty rare; I'd guess an ongoing yeast problem is more likely. (Once we got in a cycle where she'd get a yeast infection, get cured, and then I'd give it right back to her; this went on for a couple of months.)

You should also make sure that STDs aren't a possibility --- both of you might want to get a fairly full screening (good to do anyway, even without the itching and burning).
posted by Forktine at 3:49 PM on February 10, 2007

chiming back in to say that this site lists the following symptoms for fibroids:

* Heavy, prolonged menstrual periods and unusual monthly bleeding, sometimes clots. This often leads to anemia
* Pelvic pain
* Pelvic pressure or heaviness caused by the bulk or weight of the fibroids pressing on nearby structures
* Pain in the back or legs as the fibroids press on nerves that supply the pelvis and legs
* Pain during sexual intercourse
* Bladder pressure leading to a constant urge to urinate
* Pressure on the bowel, leading to constipation and bloating
* Abnormally enlarged abdomen

Obviously, there is no mention of burning and itching. Maybe you have other symptoms that are leading your doc to think of fibroids, but it sounds to me (IANAD!) that the burning and itching are at least indicative of something else.

forktine's suggestion about trying different condoms is good. Also, if you're using lube, try using one without glycerin -- glycerin is a sugar, and can cause recurrent yeast infections. The ones in grocery stores/pharmacies (KY, Astroglide, etc.) pretty much all have glycerin, but you can find glycerin-free ones (Liquid Silk [NSFW] etc.) at places like Babeland, Good Vibrations, etc.
posted by scody at 3:57 PM on February 10, 2007

If you aren't having sex with your new boyfriend but are still messing around orally, germs can still be shared. So don't discount those type of activities just because they aren't intercourse.

However, assuming that there's no sex/oral/lube/condom issues...go get a second opinion. Ask for cultures. Be pushy. It's your burning vagina, be aggressive until it's treated appropriately.
posted by christinetheslp at 4:07 PM on February 10, 2007

Does your new boyfriend use rubbers with spermicide? Nonoxynol 9 makes most women itch and burn and seethe with discomfort (sometimes for days.) Sheesh, if spermicide caused men the discomfort that it causes a lot of women, there'd be a major area of research devoted to fixing it.

Also, nthing shop for a new doctor. Unless you told him something that you didn't tell us, fibroids is a mighty bizarre suspicion. /have had a (false alarm) pelvic ultrasound for suspected fibroids.

I did (pre-SO) find that a new partner sometimes would land me a UTI and often some recurring yeast for a couple of weeks. I always put it down to the combination of new-person-germs and lazing around in bed having a lot of sex for days.
posted by desuetude at 4:35 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

I agree with those who suggest a possible latex or spermicide allergy. Nonoxynol-9 makes me itch for a good two days after contact. Also, scody's suggestion that it could be bacterial vaginosis is also a possibility. You could've already had BV and not known it as sometimes it doesn't present symptoms, and the bacteria from that infection could've been pushed into the urethra from all the sexin' (my GYN says this is quite common). Have your doctor take a culture and check for BV.

For prevention of future UTIs, always pee after sex. It'll help flush out whatever bacteria is getting into the urethra.
posted by bedhead at 5:05 PM on February 10, 2007

posted for the OP:

anon here. whew. you haven't told me anything i haven't suspected -- so in fact i am going to first do another course of monistat, and then go to a gynecologist and THEN get the pelvic ultrasound if she deems it necessary (my doctor, who i do trust, did a pelvic and said it felt like i had fibroids -- he is also running a culture and a pap). i suspect it's vaginosis combined with lots and lots of sex using the horribly burning nonoxynol-9 (how i miss octoxynol; don't you?). good times, i say dryly.
posted by jessamyn at 7:01 PM on February 10, 2007

Ask your doctor about Group B Strep. Normally associated with pregnant women, I found out (the hard way!) it can affect the rest of us as well. Basically it's a normal bacteria that lives in the lower regions of the vagina, but sex can push it up deeper and cause the same discomfort you're having. Feels like a yeast infection but isn't cured by Monostat, etc. You mentioned that your doc did do a culture, so that may come up in the results. You'll get seven days of penicillan, which will then probably give you a yeast infection. : ) Not considered an STD or contagious, so no real risk of giving it to your boyfriend.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 7:19 AM on February 11, 2007

And yes, always always always pee right after sex. That can be the best way to avoid UTIs in the future.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 7:20 AM on February 11, 2007

Could be bacterial vaginosis, which can have very similar symptoms to a yeast infections (and itches like crazy).
posted by mintchip at 2:52 PM on February 11, 2007

P.S. BV is diagnosed by a culture (the results can be read immediately) and requires antibiotics.
posted by mintchip at 2:53 PM on February 11, 2007

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