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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » the STI that isn't really an STI (Page 1)

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Author Topic: the STI that isn't really an STI
Magic's in the Makeup
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Molluscum contagiosum. It's a contagious skin infection characterized by small, round, raised flesh-colored bumps on the skin (that usually have a little dimple in the middle.)

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quote:
Is it curable? Usually someone with it is "cured" over time just by letting the virus run its course. Treatment does not actually "cure" the illness, though unlike Herpes or HPV, once the bumps/papules are gone, the virus is, too. However, someone who has had it can get it again.
My question is then: The person had this skin infection three years ago and had them burnt off with liquid nitrogen. There have been no more recurrences. Does he still have this infection? Can he pass it on even though there are no bumps present?

Thanks.

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Heather
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Given their treatment and the time period that has lapsed, unless they have had new occurrences, I would say they're very likely in the clear.

Has he talked to his doctor about this?

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Magic's in the Makeup
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He hasn't talked to the doctor since he had them burned off. He is adamant that MC is not a sexual transmitted infection. But it does say on your STI file article that it can also be transmitted through towels and stuff.

So is it more like chlamydia and gonorrhea in that it's "cured," but if a person comes in contact with the infection they can get it again?

Or is it more like a virus which is in their bodies forever?

P.S. Sorry that I basically keep asking the same question over and over I just want to be clear.

[ 11-11-2010, 01:10 PM: Message edited by: Magic's in the Makeup ]

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Heather
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It is an STI, however, even though it's one where -- a lot like herpes -- it can be transmitted just as often from other kinds of contact.

It might help him to be aware that when we call infections -- any of them -- STIs, we do because that is the way the infection is primarily transmitted, not because that is the ONLY way it can be. Very few STIs, if any, can ONLY be transmitted via sexual contact (especially when we remember that not all genital contact is sex for people sometimes).

So, Molluscum is no exception: it's mostly transmitted through intimate contact.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are both viruses, too. The issue isn't about what's a virus, it's about how a virus or other infection can or cannot be treated in order to leave the body and how long that takes.

Molluscum isn't something that can be treated with antibiotics like chlamydia: it's something that has to pass through the body on it's own (mono is a good similar virus to compare it to), which can take months to years, depending on the person. Removing the lesions helps, but they also need to stop forming of their own first, and again, the time that takes varies a good deal among individuals.

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Can you feel an "outbreak" coming on? Do they hurt, tingle, burn? It would be best if he talked to his doctor about it again. But can the doctor tell him anything if he doesn't have visible bumps? Are there blood tests for this?
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Heather
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The sores/nodes are usually painless, so it's most likely someone won't feel them.

His doctor can tell him a lot, including information that it sounds like he isn't clear on. To my knowledge, testing is usually either done visually or by a biopsy of a sore/node.

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Ok, great. I'll tell him to ask the doctor about it! Thanks for your help.
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Magic's in the Makeup
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Hi Heather,

I'm back because my friend actually went to go get himself checked today. Unfortunately the STI clinics are closed because it's Remembrance Day. However, the doctor found two bumps that look like molluscum contagiosum so he got them burned off.

Sigh, big breath I asked this question because we had sex around three weeks ago. He had been checked for STIs before, and we've been friends for a long time so I (thought) I knew his history. But because initially his doctor said it wasn't an STI, he didn't talk to me about it until yesterday when I freaked out and talked to him.

I have to tell you that I've been worried sick because my vagina has been itching and burning. I went to the doctor and got checked: pap, yeast, gonorrhea and chlamydia. I'm okay for all of those. I asked her how it looked. She said it looked a little red but nothing different. I just went to go look at myself again. I have discharge and my vulva looks swollen. There are some redish/flesh coloured bumps around the opening but I've had some flesh coloured bumps just outside my vaginal opening forever and my ob/gyn has never commented about it.

However, my lower abdominals still ache and the opening of my vagina burns. But when I asked you about an oncoming outbreak you said that they are painless.

What could this be? Can you help me? I will go to the doctor again as soon as I can.

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Heather
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Can I ask if before all of this, you'd been observing your vulva as closely as you are now?

Per your discharge: are you pretty observant about your discharge? If so, is what you're seeing now very different than what you usually observe around this time in your cycle?

As well, when you had sex, did you use condoms/latex barriers?

This burning and itching you have had: how long have you had it for? Have you by any chance changed anything like the soap you use to wash with or the kinds of menstrual products you use?

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Yes. I don't masturbate but I look at myself often. However, I am not very observant about my discharge. Though, I would say that I do usually have (what I think is) a lot.

We used a latex condom. I've had the burning and itching for approximately a week. That was when I went to the doctor. I have not changed my soap products and I'm just nearing the end of my cycle. I usually have discomfort in my vaginal area and bloating about two weeks before my period but this burning and itching feels different.

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Heather
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Since you don't really have a basis of comparison with the discharge, and your doctor has said you're all clear of infections or signs of infections, I'd set that observation aside for now.

Did your doctor suggest doing anything about the burning and itching, even calling him or her back if it kept up?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Magic's in the Makeup
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The itching and burning has been persistent since I saw the doctor, but I don't believe that I had these tiny bumps outside the entrance when I saw her. I'm just confused because maybe they were there? I just don't know what else would be causing this sort of reaction that would last this long, you know?

No the doctor didn't suggest anything. The clinic only has you come back for a follow up if you have an HIV test; otherwise they give you your results over the phone or e-mail unless you want to come in.

Thank you for your help so far.

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Heather
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Hrm.

I agree, weeks of burning and itching absolutely warrants continued investigation. can you call into your doctor, make clear you are still having these symptoms, and see what they say?

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Unfortunately it's a free clinic that is only open a few days a week. The only thing I can do is wait. At least he went to get himself checked and he's going to get the full testing (blood included) this week.

Thanks for listening Heather. I'm still uncomfortable and worried but I'll sit tight for now.

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Heather
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Do you have any other healthcare options to get seen (yourself: his testing isn't really relevant here)?

I hate for you to have to stay so uncomfortable. [Frown]

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Magic's in the Makeup
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I'll try and search for a different clinic. Hopefully I can find one by tomorrow.

If I can tell you another bit of information: He said he got MC three or four years ago. We had sex last year too. Wouldn't I have had some symptoms back then? *** I guess my question is, does contact with someone who has this appear in everyone?

[ 11-11-2010, 05:56 PM: Message edited by: Magic's in the Makeup ]

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Heather
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I'm actually not that concerned you have molluscum. I can understand why it's what you're concerned about since it's the one infection he knows he once had, but the symptoms you're describing simply aren't in the same vein as what we hear about with molluscum.

That said, I don't know what it is that you have going on, but because you're so uncomfortable and have been for a while, I think it's important you do what you can to find out so you can get some relief!

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Thanks Heather! I really appreciate you listening and helping me out today. I will phone for an appointment but otherwise hopefully get in to see someone tomorrow. Bye for now!
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Magic's in the Makeup
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Hi Heather,

Like I've mentioned before, I can't get in to see a doctor for a few days because we are really limited with care here.

I'm going to fill you in with what I've been experiencing since the last time we spoke: back ache, lower abdominal discomfort and vaginal discomfort. Basically my vagina feels like it's been rubbed raw. And, well, to be frankly descriptive, it looks like it's been rubbed raw running down in a straight line from my clitoris to my vaginal opening.

The tiny cluster of bumps I was talking about look similar to a small patch of red reptilian skin. That's the best I can describe it. It's just a few bumps right outside my opening that may or may not have been there before this whole thing (17 days - not all of them being this severe!).

So, just to remind you: we used a latex condom with some lubricant. A few days after my doctor appointment I used a vaginal itch cream that didn't work to sooth it. Just made it more itchy and burny feeling and now my vagina just looks raw and sad and uncomfortable feeling.

Today is the 33rd day of my cycle, they usually range from 30-36 days. I usually get vaginal and abdominal discomfort before my period but nothing like this. (could my period be MIA from all this stress?)

So...I'm worried. Allergic reactions shouldn't last this long, whether it be to a condom, lubricant or cream (at least I think so). I've had thoughts of what it could be, and scared myself, but I can't really be sure until I go back to the doctor.

Still, what are your thoughts about this?

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Heather
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Obviously, you are having SOME sort of big reaction here. It could even be that since you last got seen, you developed a yeast infection.

Mostly, it seems like we need to get you from today into tomorrow when you can get seen. So, don't use that cream anymore if you are again. Make sure you're wearing loose clothing made of natural fibers, including your undies. have you perhaps just soaked for a bit in a cool bath, without any additives, making sure you gently dried your vulva before getting dressed again?

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Yes, you're right. Do what I can today. I am wearing cotton underwear and pants and have taken a bath. Do you think chamomile tea bags might help?
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Heather
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I'd personally not use ANY additives with anything right now, because they could just as easily make you more irritated as less.

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Okay, thanks. I wonder how long allergic reactions last...
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Heather
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It really depends on how bad a reaction it is. However, like you, if the allergen has been gone for weeks now, and not reintroduced, I suspect this is now something else (like a yeast infection: but let's let the doc determine that), rather than an extended allergic reaction.

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Okay, thank you. I'm so worried about my skin being totally raw! My beautiful vulva!

Also, a side question:

(How long would prodrome symptoms of herpes last before turning into blisters? Or sores? Do bumps always turn into sores?)

[ 11-15-2010, 01:57 AM: Message edited by: Magic's in the Makeup ]

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Karybu
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Prodromal symptoms usually last only a few days before blisters appear. The blisters then burst and become sores. It could be that what you've got is genital herpes, although it doesn't sound like a typical outbreak. However, you've got an appointment with a doctor today, correct? I know you're worried, but I'd just try not to stress until your appointment and see what the doc says.

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Hi,

I went to the doctor today. I was so happy that it was the same one that I had seen initially! We talked about everything, took a urine sample (some white blood cells, what does that mean?) and did another test for yeast, trichomonas, BV, gonorrhea and chlamydia. She did a visual inspection for bugs, molluscum and other bumps or things. She said I looked fine, just irritated (I'm still uncomfortable and irritated.) She prescribed a hydrocortisone cream. Is this safe to use on my vulva?

We did not do a blood test.

The urine sample is going in for testing.

We decided that I should start using non-latex condoms.

I should feel better but I'm still confused.

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Magic's in the Makeup
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And when the nurse took a urine sample, we agreed it would be best to check for pregnancy too. The doctor didn't go over it in the room, but I remembered and quickly asked her about the urine sample. She said that I have a low count of white blood cells and that they're sending it in for testing. She did not mention anything else. I still haven't gotten my period; it's day 35 (my periods usually being 31-36 days.) Should I do a HPT?

Things that are different in my life that my have affected my period: super stressed out, gained a little weight, but haven't taken antibiotics this month. Have taken more vitamins.

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Karybu
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The presence of white blood cells in urine is often a sign of some kind of infection, but to find out what exactly the cause is in your case, you'll have to wait for your test results to come back. It sounds like the doctor was very thorough, which is great - you're well-covered in terms of testing, and if she didn't see any herpes-like sores or anything to indicate other skin issues, you can rest easy that's not what's going on here. Hydrocortisone cream is perfectly safe to use on your vulva and should help reduce the irritation you've got, whatever the cause, until you find out what the cause is and get appropriate treatment for that.

As for doing a HPT, go right ahead if you like, although being stressed and ill can throw your cycle out of whack and from what you've said in your previous posts, you haven't had a significant pregnancy risk.

Does that help clarify things for you? If not, ask away and we'll do our best to give you more information.

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Hi Karybu,

Thanks for your help.

I took an HPT this morning; it came out negative. I've been having abdominal cramps for a while now and I have sore breasts but there's still no sign of my period [Confused] Do you think I should test again? Are HPTs reliable? I've heard so many stories about women still being pregnant even though their doctor's said they weren't.

but, like I said before - I have been really stressed out. I have missed a period before due to antibiotics but in that case I didn't get any pms symptoms...

As for tests, still waiting on results for those. My partner doesn't have his results yet, either.

[ 11-17-2010, 09:36 PM: Message edited by: Magic's in the Makeup ]

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Oh wait, I totally did have antibiotics in September. But I had a period in October. Hmm. Would stress only make your period a little late? Or would you actually skip a period? Argh my mind is spinning from everything that's been going on these past few weeks. I'm not comfortable.
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September
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The reason your period is late now probably is the stress you're experiencing. But there really is no way to tell for sure, and that's also not a big deal: on occasion, we may have a late or missed period. That's just how it goes. And as far as I can tell, you're only a day or two late at this point, right? If so, this may be normal variation and your period may still how.

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Magic's in the Makeup
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Well, for at least six months now it's been consistently 31 days. So I'm ~ 5 days late. I'm so confused! I've been cramping for at least a week if not more. I really don't know what to think.
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Devanie
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When I was under a lot of stress... and I'd just gotten pneumonia... my period was about seven days late. It freaked me out quite a bit, because I'd been a very consistent 28 day cycle for the last few months.

Late periods do happen. If you are concerned, you can take a HPT again... they really are fairly accurate if you use them right. Or you can wait and see if the doctor gets back to you on that urine test.

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Karybu
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Stress can REALLY do a number on your cycle, and having an infection (any kind of infection) can have an impact as well. And, as Joey pointed out, everyone has a cycle that's a bit out of whack sometimes, even if stress and illness aren't factors.

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