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DOCTOR'S ADVICE - Did I get a disease?

Published:Sunday | February 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM
  • Q.  

    I don't know what is happening to me, so I'm turning to you for help. I am an 18-year-old female, and I have had sex twice. Lately I have noticed this creamy liquid coming out of me. And, Doctor, it has such a bad smell.

I told my mom, and she said maybe it's a discharge.

But I don't think it is a discharge, because it itches so bad.

I went to a doctor, and she said maybe it is just infection, so she gave me a single tablet.

I took it and I felt a 'working' in my belly during the night. When I woke up, I found a lot of the creamy liquid in my panty. Then it stopped for a while, but now it has returned.

And I am really worried by the smell. Could this be a disease, Doctor?

A . Well, I think that we need to clarify some of the words you have used in your email.

The word 'discharge' is any loss of fluid from the vagina. Some discharges are normal - they are a natural product of the female body.

That applies to the secretion which most teenage girls and young adult women get. It is just a lubricating liquid, and its volume varies at different times of the month, and increases if the woman is aroused.

However, there are some abnormal discharges. These are mostly caused by infections. Such infections may be sexually transmitted, but they may not. It is possible to get an infection in the vagina without ever having had intercourse.

There are other causes of a discharge not related to an infection. For example, a brown or blood-stained discharge may be linked to a problem with the cervix, such as an erosion.

Also, a discharge can be caused by a 'foreign body', such as a forgotten tampon or a lost condom.

In your case, you said that you have had sex, so it is likely that you contracted some germ. However, if that is the case, it is not the end of the world; most times, these infections can be cured.

I do not think that you should upset yourself by using words like 'disease'. These vaginal conditions are common and usually curable, and they are not what most people mean by diseases.

Statistically, an 18-year-old girl with a white discharge accompanied by intense itching is most likely to have thrush. Thrush is also known as candida or monilia, and in Jamaica it is often known as yeast infection.

I think that may have been what the doctor you saw suspected and that is why she gave you a one dose anti-thrush oral capsule called fluconazole.

It seems as if it has not worked, so you may need a few weeks' treatment with a vaginal medication, such as clotrimazole, in the form of cream and pessaries (vaginal tablets).

However, there are other possible diagnoses, so I feel you should again visit a doctor. Ideally, the doctor should send a vaginal swab to the lab.

Anyway, you now need a specific diagnosis some thorough treatment with a vaginal medication. I am sure that you will be better soon. I would also advise you to desist from having sex, at least for a few months, so as not to run the risk of catching another infection, especially as this one has caused you so much distress.

  • Q.  

    I am having an affair with an older woman. She has taught me a lot. But what I do not understand is why she will not allow me to have sex with her unless the lights are off or very dim. Sometimes she will allow it if we have some candles lit in the bedroom, but she will not have it any brighter than that.

    Why is she like this, Doctor? Does she dislike my face or my body, and cannot bear to look at me?

A.  No, I am sure you are mistaken. A lot of women are shy. Also, older women are likely to be sensitive about their bodies. They think that they have defects, and they want to disguise them by keeping the lights low, or through making love by candlelight.

So there is nothing for you to worry about. However, do make sure that you practise safe sex so as not to get her pregnant. Take care to avoid any risks of sexually transmitted infection.

  • Q.  

    I am a 21-year-old male, and I have developed a little pink swelling just inside the opening in my penis.

    I went to a doctor, and he told me that it was a 'papilloma' and must be removed. What does he mean?

A Well, a papilloma is a little fleshy swelling, caused from a virus. Papillomas which occur in and around the penis are generally sexually transmitted.  You do need to have this little 'bump' removed, so please follow your doctor's advice.

  • Q.

    My wife is talking about getting one of those 'coil' things. But would I be able to feel it, Doctor? And could it hurt me?

A No, a coil, or IUD, cannot really hurt a man. However, these devices do have a little thread which hangs down into the vagina. Some men can feel this. It is like something tickling them, just at the end of the penis. However, a lot of men actually like this tickling sensation. If by any chance you find it uncomfortable, it would be easy for your wife to arrange for a doctor to shorten the thread.

  • Q.

    I am 22-year-old man. Very regularly I get a sudden severe pain in my bottom. It really cripples me, Doctor.

    It shoots through my rectum, and I have to sit down and recover for a few minutes. Could this be cancer?

A It is unlikely that it is cancer, especially at such a young age. It is more likely that you have a common condition called proctalgia fugax. This is caused from a sudden muscle spasm in the rectal area. When it happens, the important thing to remember is that it will not kill you, and that it will soon pass. If you consult a doctor, he will examine you and make sure that it is nothing serious. He may also give you anti-spasm medication to try and prevent this 'muscle contract' from happening.

Email questions and comments to You can also read Doctor's Advice in the Saturday Gleaner