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Author Topic: Vaginal Stinging
copper86
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Hello,

For the past week, I've been experiencing off and on stinging near my vulva. It is very off and on and it often goes away when I forget about it. It seems to be subsiding now, but I have a question: when you insert your finger into your vulva and roll it up and hit the firm part of your vagina (between its lips - please forgive my poor anatomy names), is it normal to feel firmness and wrinkle-like textue? I freaked out when I thought they were bumps or warts, but they're not.

It doesn't hurt when I insert my fingers, or when my partner gives me manual sex. It doesn't hurt when I urinate, and my discharge is normal. It was a bit wetter after my bleed but nothing was out of the ordinary.

Though I've already said this in other posts, I bled for 12 days. I had used Regular and Super tampons when I should've used Light ones or no tampons at all and just pantyliners. When I'd take out a tampon, it was often dry and it was uncomfortable due to it not being saturated. I sometimes changed frequently to see what was up with my flow. I've read that changing tampons often and using higher absorbenies are not good for you. Could I have irritated my vulva from that?

I'm trying to see my doctor asap to talk about switching pills and to mention this off and on pain, but to no avail as of yet. I'm getting very upset and my mother seems to think that I'm not in any kind of trouble. She thinks I hurt myself with my tampons (which could have happened, perhaps). I've recently found out about Vulvodynia, but that's a fairly new thing and I don't want to assume anything.

Needless to say, to say that I am terrified is an understatement. I'm trying to be patient to wait for my doctor but that is tough. I'm not sure what's wrong with me, and I'm embarrassed to post it here. Thank you for reading this post!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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I really think you need to see your GYN about this. Not because it might be somethign serious -- after all, the vulva and vagina are full of a TON of sensitive nerve endings, and sometimes our nervous systems just do wacky things -- but because we couldn't possibly guess what's going on here.

And yes, the inside of the vagina has a lot of texture to it: it's not some perfectly smooth canal or anything.

But I think it's been clear with a couple things that you'd benefit from a thorough sexual health exam and time with your doctor or clinician to ask a lot of questions. Is that appointment on the horizon soon?

In the meantime, how about also taking some more time to avail yourself of some of the massive content here on the site about things like your sexual anatomy? Seems like there are some things you don't know which are totally available to you for free right here.

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copper86
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Hi Heather,

Thank you so much for your prompt response. I already have a list of questions for my new doctor and will add more before I go see her. My mother will call again tomorrow (I'd call myself, but she is the patient and is transferring me to become a new patient, so I kind of have no power here at the moment), so I'm truly hoping to see her this week.

I understand that you cannot diagnose me online or anything like that. I understand that the vulva is quite sensitive, I just feel very confused.

I will re-read and study the anatomy posts here, as I know they're helpful and I need to improve my understanding of my own body. Sometimes the sting is just gone and it was gone for most of today. I guess I feel guilty because this is happening.

Again, thank you so much for a quick response. I'm feeling a bit alone in this, so I appreciate your help!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Guilty? I'm not understanding feeling guilty about your body having a feeling.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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I'm sorry for my vagueness! That does sound strange now that I re-read it! I feel as if I could have done something to hurt my vulva in some way. I will be sure to update my list of questions and if I cannot get an appointment soon, I will go to a walk-in clinic instead.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Well, even if you did, we will injure or hurt our bodies sometimes. After all, we live in them! [Smile]

Might this be irritation from a lot of tampon use? Sure. Might not be, too, but even if it is, it's really no big if you did create irritation that way. It'll go away, and you know for next time to perhaps do more balancing of using tampons and pads so you don't get irritated again. If, again, this is what it is. It seriously could be something that's just happening with the kind of daily or constant changes we have with circulation, weight, muscle tension, the works.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Thank you so much, Heather. You do have a good point! I always bang into things and bruise my legs and arms, but when it's my genitals that hurt, I think it's more alarming. Though, when I'm extremely worried, I feel like it stings more or is more present than when I'm doing my own thing and not worrying (though I'm not suggesting that it's psychological). When I get my bleed again, I will defintely be more careful. I tend to yank tampons out too, or pull fast. I should know better!

I've read that abrasions are quite common and can range from anything from penetrative sex to allergies to condoms and using tampons. I can't recall how common this sting is for me, except for when I first used tampons years ago (which was excruciating upon first try and then stung until I got used to them and switched to plastic applicators instead of cardboard, which hurt).

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Copper,

I'm a little confused as to why you can't call the doctor yourself, as someone who wants to become a new patient with them.

It also sounds like it might be worth revisiting some of the anxiety-reduction type things that I think we talked about a few weeks ago.

Speaking of anxiety, did you give some more thought to talking with your pastor? I know you said you wouldn't be able to talk about your bodily or sexual concerns with him, but that you thought it might help at least to talk about some of the other stressful things in your life.

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Robin

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copper86
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Hi Robin,

To be honest, I had asked my mother if I could call instead, and she had said no and had told me that since she was the patient and I had to get my files transferred, she had to call. I might have to do some digging for numbers, but perhaps I can call as well. I'm used to handling my own appointments because of school, so having my mom do this for me is kind of weird.

She said that perhaps the stinging I have that is subsiding could be the result of a small infection from bleeding like I had. Of course, I'm not going to assume anything until I see my doctor. But I find it hard not to assume the worst!

Yes, I want to work on those techniques. Actually, on Saturday night, I tried putting my head between my knees to relieve anxiety. It sort of worked or at least felt better when I was sitting cross-legged.

I had completely forgotten about talking to my pastor. Thank you so much for reminding me! I might send him an email today, outlining that I would rather it stay between us and through email.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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That's pretty strange. You're an adult, right? And she doesn't work for this doctor? If both are true, then actually one patient shouldn't be involved at all in another patient's care like this.

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copper86
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Yes, I am in my 20's, and she does not work for them. I feel weird about her calling because I'm the one who needs the assistance; and I feel dependent on her again, which I don't like. I will need her to bring me there and back, but other than that, I should be able to call and make appointments. I might just walk to a walk-in clinic if I can't get through to their office for a while. The sting is in no way urgent and I'm not in need of ER treatment, but I would like to be seen soon so I can get my pills sorted and to see what can be done about my vulva.

The pain is duller now and is subsiding somewhat, but I noticed that it kind of stung more yesterday; and my partner had performed manual sex on me Saturday night (but I'm in no way blaming him for this, and it didn't hurt when he was doing it). I'm wondering if it actually is an abrasion from injury (and I have been examining myself to see my discharge and to see if insertion caused any pain to the touch); but I again don't want to assume anything until the doctor can see me.

When it came to my university's health services, a regular doctor performed my physical; though I had to book one in advance (which is understandable). So could a family doctor still examine me, as well? I could see if that female doctor has a gynecologist in her building, but it would be handy if she could examine me herself.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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So, how about asking her to step back and let you make these calls for yourself? Or, go to the walk-in?

Per the policies of who a given doctor can see or not, I couldn't say. That's something you need to ask them about.

But for now? I'd back away from the vulva. [Razz] In other words, if you're poking and prodding, then for sure you're going to feel extra sensitivity. While you're feeling a sting, take a break from sexual activity that involved your vulva, and be done with the self-exams (which you probably aren't getting any real information from right now, anyway). An irritated vulva is a vulva that usually wants some space and to be just left alone for a little bit.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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I think that's a great idea. I'm going to take control of this by either calling myself or going to a walk-in with my updated questions. I'd have to do that without my parents knowing (for privacy and so they won't worry or take control), which might only be by Thursday. I'm going to call a pharmacist in the meantime tomorrow. While I'm either on the phone or when I do get to see my new doctor, I will ask then about physicals.

I will try my very best not to touch it! I understand that insertion can aggravate it further. I've been doing a lot of that over the past week, so I'll quit it for sure. It's not as if the stinging is life-altering, but it is discomfiting and a minor annoyance, and I'd rather not aggravate it any more than it already is. I'm trying to think if I've used any new soaps but I haven't... Though sometimes when I shave my pubic hair, I don't always rinse it off thoroughly enough (but having some get into my vulva seems like a farfetched notion). I'm certainly going to be more careful about genital hygeine now.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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It is really sounding to me like this likely is just some mild irritation from one thing or another -- which can happen when we've done nothing at all -- made worse by a bunch of poking around. Obviously, to find out what's really going on, you need to see someone, and you do anyway, so I'd still do that since you're concerned, but I'm putting my money on this being nothing of consequence, seriously.

And for sure, good on you for taking the lead on your own healthcare. I really think it's one of those things which is pretty vital to transitioning out of childhood and into adulthood, IMO.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Thank you so much. I'm truly hoping that a mild irritation is all it is. Sometimes I have no pain at all and then a sting will occur later. It's quite bothersome emotionally, though not physically, if that makes any sense.

I went through my journal I keep documenting my bleeds and sexual activities, and I had used at least 40 tampons over the twelve days that I bled (I normally use about 20-28), which was staggering to me. I remember being stuck with using Super absorbenices when I was running out; and I really only needed Light. I ironically had a bad feeling when I did this.

Thank you! I do feel better when I take control of my own health. It's a bit tougher but the independence is well worth it. I know which walk-in clinic to go to, and they've helped me in the past. And when I do this, I can truly be honest with the doctor and ask as many crazy and paranoid questions as I want! It's been a very crazy month and I've felt detached from my body - or at least, very angry with it for doing strange things (but I know they're not machines and that they can't always be predictable). To be honest, I like my mom helping me at times (it shows she cares and when she comforts me, I do feel better); but this is something I want to do on my own and if she intervenes, I'd like it to be with my consent.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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I hear you, and totally, on that last paragraph.

You know, as the resident super-crunchy hippie here, I'd personally advise trying to scale back the level of tampon use, period, and if you're going to use them, suggest making sure you're say, using as many pads as tampons. I'll also always personally lobby for using reusables, but that's really more a personal political piece for me (around women's economics, but also environmental sustainability), but that's separate from the vulval well-being issues I've got with tampons.

Really, they dry your stuff right out. And that makes everyone more susceptible to abrasions, to infections, to extra discomfort with periods (tampons can also increase cramps because of the action of pulling fluid from the vagina). They're not what I'd call bad for your body, but really, every other option when it comes to managing flow is certainly kinder to your body, that's all.

</soapbox>

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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I definitely see your point about tampons drying you out; and I know I tend to pull or yank hard sometimes. I've heard that they can cause more painful periods, but I wasn't aware that they can dry you up and make you more prone to abrasions and infections. I just hated using pads - I hated how they'd move around, how I'd feel dirty, and that I could leak much more easily and on my clothes if they shifted. But, perhaps I could wear pads overnight or when I'm around the house. Alternating sounds smart. I'm wondering if using tampons that were too high of an absorbency, combined with pulling them out when they were dry and unsaturated, would cause me to feel this discomfort.

Either way, I'm calling a pharmacist today and I'll ask them about anything I can do to lessen the sting (besides not touching it! [Smile] ). I'll still go to a walk-in on Thursday, even if I can't get the pill stuff sorted with that doctor.

On an environmental note, I'm sure that using these kinds of tampons sounds economically and environmentally damaging, which is embarrassing, since I'm into the promotion of sustainability and cleanliness. I'll poke around for more environmentally-friendly stuff, but I'm not sure if the drugstore I go to (that is so "popular" in Canada) has any of those options. I tried looking for menstrual cups, and they had none; but perhaps you need to order them online?

[ 09-04-2012, 10:32 AM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Another option, btw, is a menstrual cup, like a Divacup or Lunette. Still internal, but holds the liquid, instead of absorbing it, so you ditch all the not-so-great stuff about tampons. Also, in terms of pads, if I can toot a horn, i LOVE the underwear with a pad sewn right in that Lunapads makes. They don't move anywhere, and even the liners you can put in stay way more in place than disposable pads held in place with sticky tape. same goes for washable pads that hold with snaps. Just some options!

But for basic stuff, you're actually really not supposed to use tampons overnight, because unless you only sleep a few hours,then they're in longer than they should be. So, for sure, at the very least -- again, just basic vulval and vaginal well-being stuff, here -- at least use pads at night.

And yep, with a lot of this stuff, online ordering is how it has to go, but if you have a natural foods store that also has personal health items (like shampoo, soap, tampons, for that matter), you can sometimes also find some of these alternatives.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Wow, if only I had heard of Lunapad when I was using pads! It sounds like such an easier experience than using disposable pads. So many times, the tape or glue would dry up or not stick to my underwear properly, and I'd know then that I could leak or that the pad would not protect me as well.

I'm thinking about menstrual cups now. Inserting them might be a challenge at first (as it was with tampons), but I'm assuming it'll be trial and error until I get it right. I'll look them up of course (I did read a forum about them here), but must you sterilize them after each use; or just rinse it out once a day and re-insert it? It sounds like it would give much less pain than tampons; and I'm assuming that you can still shower and stuff with something like that. If not, using tampons at times isn't bad.

It's just that, if the irritation is from tampon use, I'm hesitant to use them unless I know I have enough flow and the proper absorbency. Whenever I wear tampons overnight, I set my alarm for 5 or 7 hours later and get up and change it. The pain isn't bad at all; but when I had my knees up against a chair last night and moved, I felt like I had a tear in there. It's so strange.

I'm going to call a pharmacist once I have a bit more privacy; and I still hope to go to the walk-in clinic. I might have time today but if my parents are only gone for an hour, I would probably be much longer than that; and would not enjoy making up a story (not to mention that my mom would be shocked about me doing this and might think it's serious). But I think I'd rather risk that and at least be able to have a talk with a doctor who has probably seen this type of thing before.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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If it makes you feel any better, when I started menstruating, all I had were pads they don't even make now which fastened (kind of) to this giant elastic belt, kind of like a jockstrap. And the ends of the pad you pulled through the slots stuck out like tails on both sides. They also weighed about five pounds apiece. I didn't wear tight pants and it was still kind of hard to make room for them. If someone had said "Is that a watermelon in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?" it would not have been entirely out of order.

(Okay, maybe not five pounds, but *diapers* now are thinner, dude. Seriously.)

Why did I have those? They did make different ones. I had those b/c that's what my Mom used and had access to.

Even when there are more options, it can often take us a while to find out and know what they are. [Smile] And hey, lucky us that we have all these options when we do: not everyone does, and in some parts of the world, girls can't even go to school because they don't have anything to use with their flow, and their schools won't let them go without having something, so.

With the reusable cups, you just rinse it -- you don't need to sterilize them, there's nothing dirty or unsterile about your menses or vagina, after all -- after each time you use it, then at the end of your period, you boil it, then keep it in a sterile place until your next cycle.

And yep: just like tampons, they can stay in during everything BUT anything with vaginal insertion, like intercourse.

With washable pads, btw, you probably won't be surprised to know that all-fabric absorbs a lot better than pads which include plastic or paper pulp. And yeah, snaps hold better than tape, which is probably why pants usually have buttons or snaps instead of adhesive. [Razz]

I'd agree that using tampons isn't "bad." I'd never say that, as I don't think or know that. But some bits about them can be problematic, and using them only, for a whole period, including when sleeping, is something we and other women's health experts do know isn't so healthy.

[ 09-04-2012, 01:41 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Oh my goodness... That sounds absolutely terrible! I would actually feel like I had a watermelon in there. Even when I wore pads, I felt clunky and uncomfortable; so I can't imagine what you went through! I know what you mean - thank goodness we have options that are safe and convenient. My mom had used pads and tampons, so I had started off with pads and had then been so fed up with leaking and feeling awful and baggy that I grabbed tampons and hadn't looked back. Until now, and I've only been doing some research on cups, but I must say that I'm really liking what I see.

Thank you for giving me information about washing cups and about the reusable pads! Yes, I can see that fabric would absorb better than a disposable pad, by far. And snaps definitely seem better than tape! I could only imagine my issues if pants were not held together with snaps, as you say! [Smile]

I really never knew about the dryness, irritation, and cramps that can come about with tampon use. I always thought that if they hurt me, it was my fault for not inserting it properly; and not due to how the tampon can operate. The boxes only tell you about TSS and nothing about cramps and other side effects, as far as I remember. My Tampax box says it "may" contain cotton or rayon, polyester, fiber finishes, and other "poly"-type products. Looking at the papers, there's nothing about other side effects.

I'm hoping that this irritation goes away soon, though it's faint and I'm not going to go near it. I know it can be worse, though! I looked at one menstrual cup discussion here, and I'm really thinking about buying one; either at a natural foods store as you've said, or online. Even if it takes a while to get used to, I'm sure that taking it out will be much less discomfiting than pulling out dry and unsaturated tampons.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Well, I think the thing is that is really wasn't *that* terrible. I mean, it was a bummer and felt very clunky, for sure, but life so totally went on.

But the options I have now are certainly vast improvements! [Smile]

For sure, cups, like anything else, come with a learning curve. But, once you get the hang of it, it's usually no less easy than using a tampon is. And boy howdy, the money you save.

You know, if you don't mind, I see a theme in something you said here I think might spread into other parts of your life: in a word, assuming something is all you, or your fault, that either you don't bear responsibility for, or don't bear full responsibility for. Just sayin'. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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I agree with you, for sure. I remember finding a disposable pad type that I liked a lot; so finding one I trusted (with velcro snaps, I think?) was much better.

I was reading about inserting cups, and though it "sounds" tricky, you are right about there being a learning curve; and I'd rather go through that in order to have a safer and friendlier option for bleeds.

I called a pharmacist and he said that I could have an abrasion, but he couldn't know for sure without an exam (which is understandable). He said there are no topical products I could use, but I could use minor pain relievers. I was thinking of doing that, but the pain is off and on and I dislike taking more medication than I need to; especially with taking the pill already.

My referral for my new doctor has went through, but she is still on vacation now and might only return by Monday. That was quite disheartening (though not her fault); so now I am making more permanent plans to go to a walk-in clinic. I sometimes feel a bit weird talking to male doctors about sex, bleeds, and tampons; but I know they've seen it all and I should relax about that. I just feel that, being a woman with a vulva, a female doctor might just have a better understanding of what I mean and how I feel. Not that I'm trying to be biased or anything; as I've had great male doctors and friendly male pharmacists. [Smile]

Thank you for bringing that up. I think I do have that kind of view about myself. I say "sorry" all the time, as well; and I guess I do just take responsibility for things that might or might not be entirely my fault. I have to work on not always blaming myself for things that can sometimes be outside of my control - that's a big problem for me, as I often just assume that x happened because of something I did. But knowing I do this is a good first step in trying to change my way of thinking. [Smile]

[ 09-04-2012, 03:17 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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While I am totally on board with people having a gender preference when it comes to sexual healthcare, and understand if and when folks do, I don't actually think that just because a doctor has a vulva they're going to be any better equipped to know or understand about someone else's.

If all our bodies worked the same way, we all had the same experiences with them, and the same feelings about them? Sure. But alas, we just don't.

But if you have a preference, you do, and you get to have one.

Unless your discomfort is turning into pain, though, I don't see anything that suggests you need to rush to care with this. So, if waiting means you get the kind of care you'd feel better about, it sounds to me like it's fine to wait.

(And I'm so on Team You for that aim in your last paragraph! I wave my nonexistent pompoms in your general direction!)

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copper86
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I do understand what you mean. I suppose I'd just feel more comfortable talking to a female doctor about stuff like tampon use and abrasions; but I do understand that their experiences might not be exactly the same as mine, and that a male doctor can be just as helpful. It could be because my mom and I discuss things like periods often and I've never really had much experience talking about them with males, except for my partner (which is also pretty awkward!). My dad and I sometimes discuss cramps, but that's it.

I'm still doing some research on cups, and I'm leaning towards a Diva one so far. Their website says that they refrain from using colour dyes due to the chemicals found in them... So should I avoid coloured cups? It's not a big deal at all, especially since I'd prefer a clear one so I can monitor my flow and not worry about excess chemicals.

My discomfort is still pretty much a sting. I might be getting cramps, but I'm not positive. I'm on the fence about when to go and get care... If it continues to be a dull sting then perhaps I will wait; but I just don't want to leave it in case it gets worse. I know you can't tell me how long this will last - especially since I probably made it worse by examining it for the week that it has stung - but I'm hoping it will go away if I leave it alone and give it air at night. I always wash it with a shower scrubbie with body wash when I wash my body. Should I discontinue that until the stinging goes away? It hasn't caused me any issues before, but I don't want to aggravate it.

Thank you! It's tough to not blame myself for stuff, but I'll try my best to work on it. [Smile] You're such a humorous and caring person! Your analogies are great! [Smile]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Hey Copper,

As Heather said, you get to decide who you're comfortable seeing for your sexual health care, and if you already feel awkward talking to males about your period and related things--well, for some people going to the doctor is already awkward so I say do anything needed to keep the awkwardness down!

Yay for cups! Seriously! [Smile] I've never heard bad things about the coloured cups. I think the dye is fixed pretty well on the good quality ones, but since you want clear anyway, you don't need to worry about that. Plus, Diva is pretty easy to get there in Canada.

You know, depending on what kind of body wash you use, it might be a bit harsh for the vulva. It's generally best to use a plain, unscented soap such as liquid Castille soap, or even just water. Might also be best to ditch the scrubby, at least for now. Since you don't know where the stinging is coming from, might as well treat things gently, eh?

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Robin

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copper86
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Hi Robin,

I'm still not sure what to do. Part of me wants to get this checked out right away, so a walk-in would be great. I guess I'd be okay talking to a male doctor about my period, as long as he was knowledgeable... I guess I've just had more experience with female doctors, since they were always the ones I'd be booked to see at my university. I really like rambling and asking all kinds of questions, so I guess as long as the doctor let me ask them and was patient with me, I'd be okay. I could wait until next week too, but I would be with my mom then and though I'd ask to be alone with the doctor, I'd still feel a bit nervous. It's a toss-up! [Smile]

I'm excited about the cups. I'm a bit nervous about inserting them, but it seems to be a trial-and-error process; and I think it'd be great for my body and wallet. That's good to know about the colours! I was quite pleased and excited to see that there were at least eight locations in my city that sold Diva cups, so this will be something I will seriously consider (as ordering them online would've been more difficult).

Thank you for your advice about the soaps! I use an Ivory soap brand body wash right now, so I just washed my pubic skin and left my vulva (though soap can slide down, so I might have to just leave that area alone, too). I think the pain is coming from my vulva itself, either around or inside the hole. When I was doing research on menstrual cups, there was a lot of information on how tampons dried you up, absorbed the vaginal's cleaning and natural liquids, and caused abrasions. I understand that they are marketing a product, but it just seems that there's not a lot of information out there about menstrual product's side effects. I read that even the scents and chemicals in pads can affect you... It's scary!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Onionpie
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Hey copper! It is of course up to you what you feel comfortable with, and whether you're comfortable with the wait or not. And obviously all experiences with walk-ins will be different, and all doctors are different -- but my experience with male doctors at walk-ins is that they've been very knowledgeable and non-judgemental and not awkward about things at all [Smile] After all, it's their job to hear this stuff, and they're trained in ALL health, not just male health. So it's not like they haven't been in a situation like that before [Smile]

However, as heather said, this doesn't sound like something really urgent, so if you'd be more comfortable waiting that's totally fine, and I definitely know how you feel since I too am more comfortable with my main female doctor.

Also, the scented chemicals in pads and tampons ARE bad for you, it's true. And you're definitely right, it's really scary that this stuff is in products like that and the public is not made aware of it. Diva cups are an excellent alternative, I've only heard great reviews. Good luck with getting your cup! [Smile]

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copper86
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Hi Onionpie,

Right now, I'm leaning towards walking to the nearest walk-in clinic tomorrow. My stinging has not gotten worse, but I've noticed that towards the late evening, it stings a little more; perhaps because I'd been moving around so much all day and it is aggravated a bit more? I've read that vaginal abrasions left untreated can grow worse. I'm admittedly really scared to go to the doctor's with this, but I know I should. It is true that I'd feel more comfortable with a female doctor, but at this point it wouldn't matter so long as I can see someone!

But I know that walk-in clinics can have a queue, which is perfectly understandable. I'm just not sure what the doctor will have me do. He or she can't examine my vulva without a physical being asked for beforehand, correct? Will he or she just ask me about what I think I've done to cause the pain and just guess at what's going on? I'm not sure if the 40 tampons did it, but that is what my guess is; and thinking about this and worrying does not help. I will be going alone without my parents' knowledge; so that makes me feel more independent but nervous since I kind of feel alone in this.

I usually switch from wanting to go tomorrow and wanting to wait, but I think I'd feel better going tomorrow and at least talking to a doctor about it. The ones I have spoken with in the past have been very nice and nonjudgmental as you've said, so that makes me feel better.

I'm excited about the cup as well! I'd love to purchase one soon so I can use it for my next bleed. Wow, I never, ever knew that about pads, and I had used them for a decade or so, scented or unscented. I wish the companies who manufactured these products would tell their consumers about any possible side effects. I knew nothing about abrasions and infections that can occur due to tampon and pad use.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Hi Copper,

The doctor can examine you physically as long as you consent to it, as far as i know. In fact, I'd be leary if anyone prescribed prescription medication (as opposed to, say, OTC painkillers) without examining you. If it's a male, they should call a nurse into the room should they consider it necessary to do a physical exam.

sounds like you're worried about going, as well as worried about the stinging. The first worry is something you can do something about. [Smile]

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copper86
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Hi Robin,

That's great! I will certainly consent to that, and will ask for a nurse if need be.

Yes, I am worried about the sting. My vulva and its discharge seem normal otherwise, but I'm still concerned. I will go tomorrow and see what they say. The pharmacist I called yesterday said the only thing I could do was take mild painkillers, so I will ask that of the doctor when I get there.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Again, this doesn't sound serious at all, but it's certainly making you anxious from the sounds of it, so for that reason alone, it might help you to get an answer. [Smile]

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Robin

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copper86
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Thank you!

One other reason for my concern is that my throat is weird. It is not sore or infected - it doesn't hurt to swallow - but the muscles hurt or feel sensitive when I touch them. It could be due to a few factors (sleeping in a drafted room, taking walks at night without a sweater, sleeping with my neck in an awkward position); and possibly made worse by two consecutive other events (giving deep oral sex that hit my gag reflex or the lower part of my throat, and then screaming and yelling happily at my brother's concert the next night). It sometimes hurts when I talk or randomly. I don't think this is related to my stinging, as the dry or muscle-pained neck occurred three or four days later; but it still makes me nervous. Again, it's not sore, but the muscles seem to hurt. I don't think I can possibly have laryngitis (sp?) but it is kind of weird.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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copper86
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Just for an update, I went to a walk-in clinic today and a female doctor took care of me. I told her about my vaginal stinging, and she said that that could definitely be caused by tampons. She said that the amount I used, coupled with them being dry and unsaturated when they were pulled out, could cause an abrasion (or lesion?). She said that the fibers from the tampon would be like fibre glass against the vagina. I had wanted to ask her about her opinion on menstrual cups, and how long it would take for my abrasion to heal fully, but had forgotten to do so.

She examined my throat and ears and told me that my throat was not infected, but inflamed; and that the kind of oral sex I had and then the overworking of my vocal cords would cause my throat and glands to be inflamed.

She was really nice and seemed knowledgeable about the pill and the vulva (I had told her about my breakthrough bleeding), and I didn't have to wait long at all to be seen. I've been to that walk-in clinic before and I really enjoy their attitude and how nice they are.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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copper86
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Just for a quick udpdate, my new doctor's secretary called today, and I will hopefully get a call on Thursday for an appointment next week. That makes me feel much better, as I need to discuss switching pills and I'd like to bring up my vulvar pain. I notice that the exterior of my vulva stings sometimes; though my discharge and smell are still fine and it doesn't hurt when I urinate. I shave my pubic hair, so sometimes the skin there gets a bit stubbly or irritated. My clitoris is a bit sensitive, but again, that's pretty common for me during my cycle.

Due to the change in weather, I've been wearing tight jeans and more or less similarly tight underwear. I'm assuming that those things can cause some discomfort, but I'd still like to bring this "stinging" sensation up with her when I see her. I'm trying not to freak myself out over what it could be, as I'm certainly not a doctor and shouldn't make those calls until I see someone in the know. [Smile]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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