I never thought having an infection like bacterial vaginosis could shake my confidence and make me insecure in my relationship.
I am a 20-year-old female who is learning to be comfortable in her skin. About two months ago, I got out of a toxic relationship. Needless to say, I wasn’t looking for anyone and started working part-time at a grocery store. There I met my current boyfriend. He was always kind to me, and I honestly enjoyed his company a lot. Soon we became official as a couple, and after two weeks of dating, we moved in together.
My periods smelled so bad, and I thought it was because of the tampons.
Who thinks of infection when their vagina smells without any other symptom? I didn’t. Soon after I moved in, I got my period, and for the first time, it smelled so bad. I brushed it off, thinking it was probably because of the tampons I was using, or maybe I wasn’t changing them frequently enough.
As the days progressed, the smell got worse. This made me self-conscious, and I started using vaginal washes to get rid of the odor. It subsided when my periods ended; however, the vaginal odor returned and stayed even after my periods ended during my next menstrual cycle.
The fishy odor from my vagina shattered my confidence.
It is hard to describe exactly what that disgusting odor smelled like. The only thing that comes to my mind when I think about it is a dead fish, which makes me nauseous. I started showering twice per day and used all kinds of scented soaps and perfumes to mask that smell but to no avail.
Moreover, it became embarrassing every time I was with my boyfriend to smell like I never washed myself. One night while we were having sex, my boyfriend asked, ‘what is that smell?’ This was enough to shatter my confidence. Our relationship was never the same after that. The thought that ‘he too can smell this fishy odor’ made me distance myself from not only him but everyone around me as well.
I felt so shy and embarrassed but couldn’t ask anyone!
I wanted to ask my friends about it, but being my shy, under-confident self, I’d rather not because what would I say? ‘Well, I started a new relationship, and ever since then, I’ve been smelling like a tuna can!?’ They’d laugh at me. Some might even say, ‘oh, you just have to take care of your hygiene.’
I had no other symptom apart from a fishy odor, and this is why I didn’t visit any doctor either. My anxiety was escalating. I also stopped having frequent sex with my boyfriend because I didn’t want to feel abashed and cause my break-up.
I got some guidance online, but I still needed proper professional advice for BV treatment.
For anyone going through the same thing, please know you are not alone. When I looked up my symptoms online, I found so many females who had shared their stories related to bacterial vaginosis, and I could relate to them. This is why I agreed to share my story when Your Doctors Online approached me.
Although looking up my symptoms helped, it could not provide me with the proper professional advice I wanted. I was already using home remedies and expensive over-the-counter products, but they were not working. Instead, douching, soaps, and using fragrances made it worse.
Your Doctors Online helped me get BV treatment online.
While randomly scrolling through another one of my searches about this problem, I came across the Your Doctors Online application. It said that I could have a one-on-one conversation with a doctor with complete confidentiality and no face-to-face interaction. That was the only promise that made me install it.
Immediately after installation, I signed up and got in contact with Dr. Saba Noor. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I didn’t even use my real name. She never probed me to provide her with unnecessary personal information or pictures.
Initially, I told her only the very basics of my problem that was, “I have been experiencing nasty vaginal odor recently. What should I do?” Sitting behind a phone made it easy to talk, but the way that doctor conversed with me in an easy, cooperative manner made me even more comfortable to open up to her from the start till the end.
The way that doctor conversed with me made me open up to her about my problem.
She asked me a few more questions like, “Was it around my period?” “How would I describe the smell?” “Is there any itching or discharge” “Did I use any new products?” etc., and then I was diagnosed with Bacterial Vaginosis. For a minute, I was worried about how intimidating it sounded, but she calmed my worries down by telling me that it is a common infection, not an STD, and I could get treatment for BV online to get rid of it within a few days.
She recommended me over-the-counter medications, probiotics, and suppository along with lifestyle modifications to cure BV at home. She also advised me to get a prescription for Metronidazole gel and use it for five days. While I was using these medications, she advised me to avoid alcohol consumption and stop douching, which I did.
Within five days, I got rid of bacterial vaginosis and the fishy odor it came with.
I followed her instructions and felt a significant change immediately. I realized that I made bacterial vaginosis worse by trying hard to mask the smell with scented soaps and wipes. What impressed me even more, was how Dr. Noor checked on me and inquired about my health after every three days. That also made it really easy for someone like me, who was so shy, to make sure I was doing everything right.
Soon after, I was able to fully recover, thanks to Dr. Noor. I have been using Your Doctors Online ever since and would recommend this application to anyone coy about her symptoms.
Information about Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) added by Your Doctors Online team:
Nowadays, sexually transmitted diseases and infections are so common that their prevention has become a must. Women of different age groups experience different STDs because of unprotected sexual activities and lack of awareness. Today, we will discuss one of the common infections of the vagina, i.e. bacterial vaginosis, in detail.
Many women notice a thin watery discharge from their vagina that often goes neglected. This discharge is normal before and after menstruation. But if it occurs every other day, that can be an indication of vaginal infection.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Bacterial vaginosis is an infection that occurs when there is an imbalance between the good and harmful bacteria that reside in the vagina. Generally, the bacteria Lactobacillus keeps the pH of the vagina in a moderate range and prevents harmful bacteria from flourishing within. BV occurs when the Lactobacillus level drops inside the vagina while harmful bacteria like anaerobes increase in number.
Most women suffering from bacterial vaginosis complain that their vagina gives a fishy odor, especially after sex.
They also complain of itching during urination and a white or grey thin discharge.
These are some risk factors of bacterial vaginosis:
- Having more than one sex partners
- Using intrauterine devices.
- Being sexually active
The fact that more the one sex partner increases the risk of bacterial vaginosis is not clear on a scientific basis. However, sexually inactive women have lesser chances to develop bacterial vaginosis. You can acquire bacterial vaginosis via oral and anal sex as well.
- Intrauterine devices placed inside the uterus to control birth are also linked to increased chances of bacterial vaginosis.
- Douching, i.e. rinsing out the vagina with different vaginal washes available in the market, is also linked with an increased risk of bacterial vaginosis. These cleansing agents have chemicals that disrupt the natural pH of the vagina and let anaerobic bacteria grow in abundance.
Most women complain of a thin discharge from their vagina that gives a fishy smell. To check whether it is a bacterial or viral infection, the following things are done:
- Asking the patient about her medical history.
- Pelvic examination.
- Checking the pH of the vagina (the pH is severely disrupted in bacterial vaginosis).
- Examining the watery secretion that discharges from the vagina.
Although Bacterial vaginosis is not a serious condition and can be treated with antibiotics, however, in rare cases, it can result in complications like:
- Leading to severe infections after any surgery of the urogenital system.
- Premature birth if a pregnant woman suffers from BV.
- Pregnant women suffering from BV are also seen delivering underweight babies.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Those women with bacterial vaginosis have a greater tendency of passing different sexually transmitted diseases to their sex partners.
To prevent the chances of getting bacterial vaginosis, you must consider the following steps:
- Avoid multiple sex partners.
- Avoid using vaginal washes. Always use clean water to wash the intimate area.
- If you are sexually active, get regular checkups to prevent STDs.
- Use condoms during intercourse as they limit the spread of infections.
- Wash your genital region every time after using a public toilet.
In order to treat bacterial vaginosis, our online doctors prescribe antibiotics like tinidazole, metronidazole, etc. Doctors may recommend applying a gel or cream onto the vagina to limit the spread of infection.
The antibiotic treatment is carried out for 5-7 days till the infection is no more. Though antibiotics can treat bacterial vaginosis, you can get reinfected.
Your doctor may ask you to limit your sexual activities during your treatment. You may need to remove the intrauterine device as it promotes the reoccurrence of bacterial vaginosis.
To avoid bacterial vaginosis, you and your sex partner must take care of intimate hygiene.
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