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Doctor's Advice:Is she cheating?

Published:Sunday | May 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Q Doctor, I am 33 years old and I am worried that my wife may have been cheating on me. You see, I have been away from the island for several months, and when I arrived home last week and had sex with her, I immediately felt that things were different.

It is difficult to explain, Doctor, but during intercourse I was getting a rather odd sensations on the back of my organ. I asked her if she had been with anyone else, and she laughed and told me no.

The following evening, we had sex again, and this time I decided that I would gently slip a finger inside her to see if anything was different. To my surprise, the whole of the front wall of her vagina felt strangely firm and rubbery. Indeed, there seemed to be a slight rubbery smell about her.

What do you think is going on, Doctor? Has she had a coil fitted while I was abroad? And if so, does that mean that she has been sleeping with some other man?

A I am sure there is no need for you to worry. One thing is quite clear, your wife has not been fitted with a coil, also known as an intrauterine device or IUD. A coil does not feel like anything you described.

In fact, from your description, I am almost sure that your wife was wearing a contraceptive diaphragm on the two occasions when you had sex with her. A diaphragm is a little saucer-shaped device, made of latex. It is a pretty good method of family planning, and it is not as widely-used as it should be. It fits between the woman's cervix and the area of her pubic bone.

The woman usually inserts it just before having sex, and then takes it out a few hours later. After that, she washes it, dries it, and then puts it back in a special container that looks like a powder compact or some other container for make-up.

Now the fact that your wife is currently using a diaphragm does not indicate that she has been cheating on you. However, it does almost certainly indicate that she saw a doctor and was given this diaphragm while you were away.

There is nothing wrong with that, provided that her intention was simply to use the device when having sex with you. It is a pity that she didn't tell you what she was doing, but she probably thought that you would not notice it.

My guess is that she probably decided that she didn't want any more children, and while you were away, she went and discussed it with a doctor. She was then measured and the appropriate size prescribed.

So this has all been a misunderstanding. I think you should talk to your wife and tell her that you have noticed that she seems to be using what appears to be a diaphragm. You can then discuss with her how she feels about having children.

My best estimate is that she felt that whatever method of contraception you two were using was unsatisfactory, and decided she wanted something more reliable, such as a diaphragm. So the sooner you talk this over with her, the better.

Q Doctor, I am considering getting married to a very attractive woman who is 35 years old. But she tells me that when she was younger, she suffered from something called 'pelvic inflammatory disease'.

So I have two questions:

In view of her medical history, could I catch something from her during sex?

Will she be able to have children?

A Well, pelvic inflammatory disease, also known as PID, is caused from germs getting into the woman's internal organs and causing a long-term inflammation. That is a most unpleasant thing to experience, since it causes a lot of pain, often a fever and a discharge.

Often, the organs are badly damaged by PID, and infertility results. That is quite a common reason for couples being unable to have children.

Now I do not have enough information about your partner's case to enable me to say whether she is sterile or not. But there has to be a considerable chance that she may be unable to have children.

Also, if she was adequately and fully treated for the PID when she was younger, then she should not be infectious now. But there is a possibility that she still has some germs inside her.

Therefore, I feel that she should get a full check-up from a gynaecologist, including having swab tests taken. Only after that has been done will the two of you know exactly what the state of her internal organs are. Good luck.

QDoctor, I had a 'D&C' operation six months ago. Would it now be safe to resume intercourse with my husband?

A Certainly. This is a very common female operation. The letters D&C stand for dilatation and curettage. What that means is that the gynaecologist widens the passage through the woman's cervix, in order to allow an instrument to be inserted into the womb. That instrument is then used to scrape the womb lining.

The pieces of lining are then sent to the lab for examination under a microscope. This is a pretty useful diagnostic test.

A D&C is generally considered a fairly minor operation, and most women would resume intercourse within a month or so, subject to their own doctor's advice. So as it is now six months since you took the operation, there is no reason why you shouldn't resume.

QLast week, I unfortunately had a wild one-night stand with a man I met in Miami. Since then, my clitoris has been sore and swollen.

Is this a sign of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), Doctor?

A No, There is no STI which produces a swollen clitoris. But it is quite common for intense sexual activity, with a lot of friction on the clitoris, to make the organ swollen and sore.

Sometimes it even contains a small clot of blood, a condition known as clitoral haematoma. Happily, I can assure you that it is most unlikely that your condition is serious. The swelling and soreness will probably go away within 10 days or so. However, in the meantime, you should ask a doctor to examine you, just to make sure everything is okay.

QMy long-term partner wants to go on the mini-Pill. Can you reassure me that this cannot affect me, Doctor? I have heard tales of men growing breasts!

A No, there is no way that either the Pill or the mini-Pill could have any negative effects on the male partner. The 'male breast' stories you have heard relate to vaginal hormone cream - not to the Pill or mini-Pill.

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