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Vagina problems really beginning to get me down.

(64 Posts)
Tittch Sun 02-Sep-12 16:04:41

Have name changed for this as find the whole situation so acutely embarrassing.
The last 9 months I have barely been able to have penetrative sex more than 4 times. Something is chronically wrong with my fanny but god only knows what. I have episodes (basically most of the time) of sore itchy vulva pain, with red raw skin (between inner and outer labia) and at the vagina entrance. Sometimes i want to scream the itching is so bad, sometimes it wakes me at night. Sometimes it goes. Sometimes it is more of a painful, scratchy feeling. Eurghh. I am sorry for TMI...
I live abroad and have been regularly seeing my gynaecologist who is very sympathetic. But I wonder if the practise used in the country am currently living in is less advanced than it could be. She constantly takes swabs, and here is the embarrassing bit, constantly finds an overgrowth of enterococcus faecalis. Basically: poo.

I don't think she believes me that I am not constantly having dodgy anal-then-vaginal sex and/or wiping back to front. OBVIOUSLY i do neither.
I have NOT A CLUE why i have this problem. And she seems not to know how to treat me.

I have tried all the obvious things like cotton only underwear, no g strings, no soap etc etc etc. And I did not have a complicated delivery when my son was born (I know this can lead to similar problems sometimes)

I think I may have had a similar problem as a young child. I certainly had some kind of vaginitis.

The whole issue is really beginning to damage my self confidence, my confidence in my marriage and my whole well being. I guess I am hoping someone somewhere may be able to help me with some advice. or maybe even someone I could see about it in the UK. I feel really really low about it today. Thank you, I am my wit's end. sad

Tittch Sun 02-Sep-12 18:42:14

Puppy - no, I try to avoid anything 'fancy' like that in case of irritants...

What - This is the longest I have been off contraception in many years (other than when pregnant) So that is interesting.

PacificDogwood Sun 02-Sep-12 19:07:35

YY to seeing a dermatologist.

Seeing that you are quite slim, are you menstruating regularly?
Just another thought, considering a hormonal cause...

You said your delivery was quick (I know the feeling grinshock), but apart from that was it particularly traumatic?
Have you had lots of urine infections since you had your baby?

A fistula can be quite difficult to diagnose, may involve a proctoscopy (camera test up your backside to see if there is a connection to your vagina where there should be none IYKWIM) and repepated exams sometimes.

Another stoopid question: have you ever taken Flagyl/Metronidazole tablets or been given cream/pessaries to treat the Enterococcus? If so, did that help??

bamboobutton Sun 02-Sep-12 19:14:38

have you tried vagisil yet? it's what i used all the time before i was diagnosed.

tis great stuff

Tittch Sun 02-Sep-12 19:22:56

I had 3 stitches, but all fine apart from that - and my obstetrician examined me 12 weeks after etc, seemed I be no problems.
Regular periods, almost.
I have got to the point now where I find it hard to remember which creams made a difference as I have tried so many .. I have used Flagyl and I remember clearly that it did not help.
The strange thing with the enterococcus is that it only ever seems to be present around the vulva - but strong growth - but not actually in the vagina. Maybe that isn't strange at all... But i don't understand it.

Tittch Sun 02-Sep-12 19:24:40

Sorry started typing "almost to the hour", periods very regular.
I am ain't great typing on the old iPhone

coffeeinbed Sun 02-Sep-12 19:25:32

Cotton underwear's fine, do you iron it?
Also, probiotic supplements?

LackaDAISYcal Sun 02-Sep-12 19:39:31

an allergy?

After my first DC I had to stop wearing thongs as I developed major irritation; same thing with elastic in knicker legs. Intense itching, around my anus, top of my legs, over my vulva and into my labia, and vagina, everywhere really. It was hideous. Swabs all came back negative, but I got prescribed some steroid cream . That and some knicker free days helped, then It flared up again as soon as my knickers went back on. It took a while before I realised it was the knicker elastic causing the problem. I've worn short type Indies since with no problems. I recently put on some fancy pants to match a nice bra and it flared up again.

Doc concluded an allergic reaction to elastic, but I don't react anywhere else. Maybe it's worse because of the moist conditions?

Luckily DH finds shorts, especially grey ones and a vest a la Ripley in Aliens, quite sexy grin

Tittch Sun 02-Sep-12 19:40:38

Yes ironed - should I not?
Have started taking probiotics, but read that very few actually change the balance in the vagina, as opposed to the gut. I have read about cider vinegar/ boric acid/ acidophilus applied locally. But I am not sure if those would address my problem.

LackaDAISYcal Sun 02-Sep-12 19:42:04

Indies = undies <ditto to teeny tiny phone keypad>

TattyCatty Sun 02-Sep-12 19:55:38

You mentionned that you had stitches - do you know if they all definitely either dissolved or were removed manually? I had months and months of agony - itching, burning, aching - which came on around 3 years after DD was born and after many repeat trips to my baffled GP, it became obvious that I had a retained stitch that should have dissolved, but never did. The microscopic hole that was around the stitch was enough for an infection to take hold. We treated it with antibiotic cream, which helped periodically, but in the end I had reconstructive surgery (Fenton's Procedure) to have all of the original scar tissue removed. Mine was an extreme case but all avenues are worth exploring if you are having so much misery from it.

Tittch Sun 02-Sep-12 19:56:10

That's interesting lacka.. I hadn't thought about elastic. I need to try steroid cream I think, and take make pants off obvs!

Shakey1500 Sun 02-Sep-12 20:22:43

I also second tatty's suggestion, or along those lines. My first thought was a fistula or something of that ilk. I also had a fentons procedure to sort out stitches and scar tissue issues following a fourth degree tear and subsequent infection (s). But it took a while for it to be diagnosed, and for me to be believed that there was A.VERY.REAL.PAIN!

I would ask to be referred and for some gynae investigations. All the best

Tittch Mon 03-Sep-12 10:27:37

Thanks all. Looks like further investigation is definitely needed. I knew that already, but at least I have some specific avenues to explore now. It does get confusing as to the whole dermatologist/gynaecologist question...

CurlyhairedAssassin Mon 03-Sep-12 22:30:42

Are you absolutely SURE it's not thrush? I have had similar symptoms in the past but no discharge. Just intense itching, redness, burning and soreness. The GUM specialist I saw initially said that you don't always get a positive swab result for thrush ( I didn't one of the times). I was treated for that with pessary and cream and have self-treated a few times since now I know what I'm looking for. Each time I had to use a pessary AND cream as the cream did nothing to help the infection INSIDE. I have also had oral medication from the gp in the past too when I wa getting recurring bouts. The gp never swabbed me or examined me those times, she knew I'd had past infections and I knew what it was so prescribed the oral medixation anyway.

I have not had it for a few years thank god. I know you've tried the cream on the external bits but if it IS thrush and it's been present a while high up in your vagina I would think only a pessary would do the trick?

Tittch Tue 04-Sep-12 10:38:01

Thank you Curly, I have taken fluconazole which has not cleared it up, so i think it must be something else? However, Canesten cream seems to have brought the itching down a bit this last week, though not rid it completely. Whilst a relief - that has confused me!

pumpkinsweetie Tue 04-Sep-12 10:46:13

Marking my place to look at suggestions later. Tmi but i have a similar problem yo yours op, except i don't have faecal traces. I keep treating myself for thrush, and was examined a while back and was told it was thrush but it just keeps coming back. The itching is horrendeus, especially my vulva and everytime i have sex it is painful and if i dare urinate afterwards it stings like fuckblush.
Im getting to the point where it is putting me off sex and avoid it at all costs unless my dh inisciates it.

Just thought i would try some of the suggestions on here and see if they work for me. I feel your pain op, its awful isn't it the itching, the burning then the pain after itchingblush.

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Sep-12 15:57:13

Canesten cream is very soothing, so may give you a bit of relief without curing you IYKWIM.

Thrush is quite easy to pick up with a swab tbh. Some suptypes of candida are more stubborn and difficult to eradicate than the 'standard' C albicans, but should still be picked up in a culture done from a swab. Nevermind repeated swabs.

If thrush is still thought to be a possibility, the a longer course of oral Fluconazole sometimes works or 150mg taken weekly for several weeks or even months. I would NOT go down that route unless thrush had been proven.

pumpking, if thrush has been found before, get it treated again - either a longer course of oral or topical treatment or repeated treatment like outlined above. If you prefer a cream/pessary (the oral tablet is not 'stronger' and does not work; it's just a personal preference whether to swallow a medication which works systemically or whether to use something more tageted wink), you MUST treat inside the vagina as well as the vulva/perineum/affected skin. There is NO point in just putting cream on on the outside as the 'reservoir' of yeasts that cause thrush live inside the vagina.

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Sep-12 16:00:35

Recurring thrush info for pumpkinsweetie - sorry about typo in your name

pumpkinsweetie Tue 04-Sep-12 16:40:17

Thanku PacificDogwood hope to see the end of it. Doctors were useless, they knew it was a reoccuring bout but gave me a perscription for just one tabletangry
It has been costing me a fortune so i haven't been too great at repeating it and its so hard to get an appointment aswell

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Sep-12 16:42:31

Sorry, just rereading my previous post: the oral tablet DOES of course work, just not any better than topical treatment -Gah!

Hope you get it sorted smile

vinetime Tue 04-Sep-12 17:10:02

tittch, sorry to hear you're going through this. this may sound really random but where you are living? I am now settled in the UK but my job took me round the world through my twenties. I lived in various cities and had a similar problem occur twice - when I was in Moscow and when I was in Delhi. Once I left the problems cleared gynae in the UK reckoned that it may have been caused by less than great sanitation levels in the water systems and I was reacting to them....

orangeandlemons Tue 04-Sep-12 17:39:11

There are three things which spring to mind, all of which I have had.
1) Thrush that is resistant to treatment and not always detectable in a swab.
2) Vestibulitis which affects the vestibular glands around the entrance of the vagina. This is generally more painful but can be itchy and is related to overuse of anti-fungal creams
3) Itching vulva syndrome, which mainly affects people with sensitive skin/allergy prone. Again can be caused by too mch over us of anti fungal creams. They can all co-exist and or just two of them can.

Vestibulitis is actually meant to be nerve damage. I always had the last 2 for about 5 or 6 months AFTER I had got rid of thrush, as all the nerves were inflamed. However becasue they felt like thrush, I was treated with anti-fungals which eventually led to resistance and then more damage!

The cures: I don't believe much in alternative medicine but homeopathyput a rocket under the thrush where no medical cure would touch it.

Vestibulitis and itching vulva syndrome were treated by a mixed cream called trinaderm I think (bright yellow)

Tittch Tue 04-Sep-12 17:50:32

Vinetime!... I live in Moscow. How weird. And you know - when I was just in France for 3 weeks things improved a lot. So that is interesting. The water here is certainly not up to UK standards.

Tittch Tue 04-Sep-12 17:52:00

Orangeandlemons - So in the end homeopathy ended the vicious cycle for you?

WhatYouLookingAt Tue 04-Sep-12 18:03:25

please don't waste your time on homeopathic "cures", they are only sugar and water. There are herbal treatments that might help you, but homeopathy is a giant con.

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