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Dr. Su S
Dr. Su S, Doctor(MD)
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 20853
Experience:  Experienced in maternity and women's health
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What can cause SEVERE vaginal pain, burning, itching discharge

Customer Question

What can cause SEVERE vaginal pain, burning, itching discharge and odor and not be sexually transmitted? Most recently my 4th OBGYN (since this started 3 years ago) said it was fungal. I have been on a 14 day treatment of Nystatin vaginal inserts. During treatment, the symptoms lessened, but now--3 days after treatment they are back only worse. One doctor said my PH is normal-and that was supposed to be good. I am negative on all STD's--although this started 3 months into a supposedly monagamous relationship, after not having had sex for 2 years. 3 years later and that relationship has ended because we stopped having sex---turned out he was not monagamous, but I am still testing negative. This has been the worst 3 years of my life--mainly because the doctors don't listen, or only go so far in treating me. What can I do at this point after trying gels, creams, and steroidal inserts? I am 38 years old, and am scared to death that I will have this for the rest of my life!
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: OB GYN
Expert:  Dr. Su S replied 8 years ago.


How is the discharge? Is the odor fishy? Any other symptom? Any past illness like diabetes ? Any swab test taken recently?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

The discharge has varied in consistency over the last three years, but as of late it is yellow. The odor varies also, depending on the time of month. Sometimes like yeast, but after my period more fishy. I just had an actual pap smear in the first time in over a year--prior to that they were just dealing with the symptoms. All I know is that it was negative for anything precancerous. She just said that she saw evidence of a fungal infection...what kind I don't know, but from what I've read about Nystatin--perhaps yeast? This just does not feel like any yeast infection I have ever had. The pain and irritation is so bad that it makes me panic. It is literally almost unbearable and affects me at night when I am trying to sleep and all day at work. Not to mention that I just feel disgusting and dirty--even right after a shower. I am adopted so I do not know my medical family history, but no I do not have diabetes. I was told several years ago that I have Fibromyalgia--but it seems as if I'd only had the one major flare up as far as all over body pain that lasted for several weeks. I've read some studies recently that link female problems to Fibromayalgia. This just seems like there is something wrong with my chemistry, rather than an actual infection. At no point, with all of the testing has any doctor ever told me it was an STD. I have been treated repeatedly for "Vaginitis" but with NO RELIEF. Please let me know what other questions you may have.
Expert:  Dr. Su S replied 8 years ago.

Thank you for the input.

The cause of your problem may not be yeast infection alone. It can be due to a mixed infection with bacteria. The cause of your problem can be bacterial vaginosis. The yellowish color of the discharge along with fishy smell is characteristic for bacterial vaginosis. It is not STD. The exact cause of bacterial vaginosis is not known. This is due to overgrowth of normal bacterial flora of the vagina. Decrease in the number of the normal lactobacilli in the vagina and increase in concentration of gardrenella bacteria causes the symptoms. Some factors may precipitate the symptoms like excess douching, smoking, multiple or new partners, IUD etc.Bacterial infection will require antibiotic therapy. Two different antibiotics are recommended for treatment of bacterial vaginosis. They are metronidazole & clindamycin.Sometimes yeast infection needs oral form like fluconazole to get cured too. Though you have been treated, still repeated infection is common. You may need repeated tretment schedule. Recurrence can occur upto 1 year. You should have a review by doctor to have the diagnosis & prescription.

Hope this information will help you.
Wish your early recovery.
Any query, please ask.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I have been repeatedly treated with both medications, with no success. This issue is not that easily resolved, or it would have been three years ago. I think most OBGYNs consider Bacterial Vaginosis as it is a very common diagnosis, this apparently is not that. That was the very first diagnosis I received, and was immediately treated for--with literally NO RELIEF. I later saw one specialist in Houston who actually stated that my Lactobacilli was abnormally high. What causes this? I think I have read that it causes similar symptoms to a yeast infection---but it is just the opposite. Is this perhaps why my symptoms as of late are being made worse by using an anti -fungal? I just really need someone to think OUTSIDE the box here. I am not expecting you to have all of the answers, but rather I was just hoping to hear a different answer. Think about it...THREE YEARS with no relief. A broken relationship because of hope for a future relationship unless this issue is resolved. The pain and discomfort is one thing, but it is affecting my mental health and all aspects of my life at the same time. Four doctors, countless creams, pills and vaginal inserts...what are my options now? No one has done anything other than pelvic exams. What about a scraping? Or Ultrasound? Are there any other diseases that cause these symptoms? Something related to my immune system? This all literally just started ONE DAY. I had only had like two minor yeast infections up to that point--in my whole life. My vaginal health was always perfect and normal. THIS HAS BEEN A NIGHTMARE THAT IS RUINING MY LIFE! How does a woman's body just change like this overnight, and never go back to normal? I'm sorry, I am just very frustrated. It really feels stupid at this point to remain optimistic about finding an answer.
Expert:  Dr. Su S replied 8 years ago.
At this point you need a more detailed investigations. This can include vaginal swab test, ultrasound or imaging studies to find out the cause of your symptoms.Blood tests like counts, glucose can be estimated. When PAP has come clear it is unlikely to be cancer.An examination by a dermatologist can be taken too to exclude any skin problem.

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