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Doctor's Advice: Infection driving me crazy

Published:Saturday | March 31, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Q: I can see from your column that I am not alone in having a vaginal infection. However, mine is taking a toll on me. It's driving me crazy. I have been having bacterial vaginosis for the last eight years, and I have been to various gynaecologists. I have been swabbed and have got the metronidazole treatment many times - and had many other medications. They only help for a while, like a week, and then it all comes back on me. If you are wondering, I am still a virgin and have had absolutely no sexual contact at all with anyone. I have tried douches, the salt and the vinegar, but it doesn't help for long. Currently, I am trying the yoghurt treatment, both eating it and inserting it into the vagina. I am fed up. What can I do? I have realised that it is now affecting me psychologically.

A: I am really sorry to hear about this. You have obviously had a terrible time. I edited your email, so that you will not be recognised.

What leaps out at me from this email is the fact that you are a virgin and have had no sexual contact at all. I expect you realise most vaginal infections arise as a result of having sex, so it is rare for a virgin to be having this kind of vaginal trouble.

When a virginal woman does develop vaginal infections, the usual reason is that germs have got in because something 'foreign' has been inserted into the body.

Foreign things, which are commonly inserted into the vagina include:

Tampons;

Masturbatory devices such as vibrators

Douches.

In your case, it is very notable that you have been using douches, and are currently inserting yoghurt.

I am not saying that the yoghurt is causing a problem, but your previous douches may well have done so. I cannot over-emphasise to young women that the practice of douching is not a good idea, since it can alter the natural balance of the vagina.

So what should you do? I feel the most important thing is to avoid putting anything into your vagina. Do not even use tampons.

I am afraid I must also advise you to consult a sympathetic gynaecologist. The gyno should make a careful assessment of the state of your vaginal tissues to see if any further medication is required.

This has been a very trying time for you, but I am sure you will defeat the problem. However, please put nothing in your poor, suffering vagina.

No rolling back

I am a guy of 20, and I have never been with a girl. The reason is that I am very embarrassed about the appearance of my penis. Put simply, Doc, the fact is that when I am erect, the foreskin will not 'roll back', so during sexual excitement, the head of the organ is always covered.

That is not a good situation. A guy's foreskin should roll back when he is erect. If it doesn't, then germs can gather under the skin.

I am afraid you may have to take a small operation-- probably a circumcision. It is just possible that you could be cured by using a special cream that encourages the foreskin to stretch. But you must ask a surgeon to advise you about that.

Dangerous love play?

Doc, I am in love with an older man and he is very experienced in bed. We have not had full sex yet. But he uses the tip of his organ to stimulate my clitoris. This certainly drives me wild and is successful in bringing me to orgasm. However, I am wondering if it is dangerous? And could I get pregnant this way?

The practice you describe is a well-known 'love play' caress, which is described in many books.

You ask if it could get you pregnant. Well, if the guy climaxes, or if he leaks sperm, they would be very close to your vagina. If they get inside, you could indeed become pregnant, so, please take great care.

STI scare

I am a young guy and last week I had sex for the first and only time. It only lasted around one minute, so I thought I could not get a sexually transmitted infection. I now notice that there is a lot of moisture around my urinary opening. Also, I have a tingly sensation whenever I urinate. Am I OK, Doc?

Young people should realise it is possible to catch a sexually transmitted infection, though having sex for only one minute, or indeed through doing it for only one second!

In your case, I suspect you have picked up the common germ called chlamydia, although gonorrhoea (the clap) is also a possibility. So please see a doctor immediately. In the meantime, do not have sex.

Side effects of the Pill

Doctor, I am considering going on the Pill. Should I expect any side-effects?

During the first few months on the Pill, it is real common to experience minor and passing sideeffects. These may include:

Slight headache;

Slight weight gain;

Breast tenderness;

A little 'spotting' of blood.

Generally, these symptoms go away after your body has got used to the Pill. If they do not, then it is easy for a doctor to switch you to another brand.

Am I losing my nature?

Doc, I am a guy who reached puberty nine years ago. At the beginning, I seemed to have lots of orgasms, like maybe five in 24 hours. As I got older, my orgasms have grown less frequent. I am now in my early 20s, and it only happens around three times for the week. Am I gradually losing my nature?

No, you are not. What you have not realised is that it is normal for the frequency of male orgasm to diminish as the years go by. Research has shown that, on average, guys who are in their 20s, like you, have around two-three orgasms per week. So you are OK.

Will a coil cuause pain?

I have one baby and do not want any more! A nurse has suggested that I have one of those coil things. Is it real painful to have one put in?

The coil, or intra-uterine device, or IUD, is a really good method of preventing pregnancy. There is a little pain during the insertion. However, in women who have already had a baby, the passage through which the device is inserted is quite wide. As a result, the pain is much less.

However, I would recommend that you have some aspirin or paracetamol available, just in case you need a little pain relief after the insertion.

Could she damage my penis?

I am a young guy and know little about sex. Is it true that it is possible for a girl's vagina to damage the penis during intercourse, as I have heard?

No, this is just a myth which circulates among some young males. It is impossible for the vagina to damage you.

Email questions to Doc at saturdaylife@gleanerjm.com and read more in the Outlook Magazine tomorrow.