Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Possible infection?

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Question
About maybe three months ago I noticed something a bit shocking and quite confusing. A lot of swelling and burning. My inner labia and my vaginal walls swell To the point it is very noticeable to look at and impossible to insert anything bigger than a finger. The skin is so sensitive to touch it stings when I do. And I discovered a few days ago that lube making contact with the swollen flesh burns so bad it almost made me cry. I don't have to have sex or have any sort of penetration for it to do this, it does it on it's own as I become aroused. The more turned on I am the worse it is. There is nothing odd about it when I'm not aroused other than the area that wells is still a tiny bit sensitive to touch. I tried avoiding getting aroused or anything of the sort for about a week straight, maybe a bit longer, thinking maybe I'd just been too active and had made myself a bit raw. Which didn't make much sense to me because I hadn't been having sex and I'm not rough at all with myself. It didn't help, it still happened. I hadn't been sexually active for a long while and then maybe a few weeks after having safe sex was when I noticed the swelling happening. It didn't happen at all the night I had sex. I am a clean person already and when I noticed this I tried to be even more cleanly but that didn't help either.

Answer
Hi Roberta,
You didn't mention how long you've had this problem, or whether it is recurrent, how old you were, any past medical history, etc.  It sounds like an acute inflammation from yeast, a "contact" allergic reaction to a lubricant or latex, lymphedema from a host of different things, or an acute infection from a virus, such as herpes.

Please note, don't use the term "clean" because this refers to "freedom from dirt" not free from STDs. It is confusing, and it is difficult to  prove-- by either definition!

Good luck!
--mark  

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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Mark P. Behar

Expertise

Almost any question or concern about gay men's health issues, sexually transmitted infections, abnormal Pap smears, anal cytology (anal "Pap smears"), etc. There is no such thing as “d/d free” or “clean” (free of infection), so why do so many of us deceive ourselves into thinking that some people are indeed totally free from a potentially infectious disease, like HIV, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, chlamydia, warts, gonorrhea, etc., just because they say so? Clinical laboratory tests are not perfect, and having a “negative” or “nonreactive” test does not mean that a person is free from infection. Perhaps at the moment the test was taken, the person was uninfected; or, perhaps, the test wasn’t sensitive enough to detect presence of the infection. There is really no way that anyone can determine that they are truly “disease free,” and there are over a hundred of infectious conditions that can be spread without your knowing anything. Rather than trying to “pre-screen” or “serosort” a potential sex-mate with deceptive questions that are impossible to know by today’s technologies, a wiser option may be to consider everyone infected with something, and either use appropriate protective measures (“safer sex”), or accept the responsibility and consequences of possibly “catching” something from someone who’s hotter than expected (pun intended!). There is much research that supports the contention that an HIV positive person reliably taking HIV medications, and having an undetectable viral load, presents a lower risk for transmission of HIV than people who may think or say they are HIV negative, but are not. Food for thought!

Experience

Family Practice PA since 1981; Volunteer Clinician for Brady East STD (BESTD) Clinic, Milwaukee, since 1977; answered STD questions submitted to their web site. Professionally lectured at national and regional Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner conferences, and at national gay & lesbian health conferences on topics including HIV/AIDS, herpes, hepatitis, STDs, human papilloma virus (the cause of venereal warts), abnormal Pap smears, gay and lesbian health issues, among others.

Organizations
Co-Founder, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Gay Physician Assistant Caucus of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Inc.; American Academy of Physician Assistants; Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants; National Co-Chair (2012-16), National Association of Black and White Men Together: A Gay, Multiracial Organization for All People (NABWMT)

Publications
Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAPA) Q Visions, Quarterly Newsletter of the NABWMT

Education/Credentials
Bachelor's of Arts, 1972 (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI) Graduate Credits Experimental Psychology, 1972-75 (Tulane University, New Orleans, LA) Physician Assistant, Bachelor's of Science, 1981 (George Washington University, Washington, DC); Masters in Physician Assistant Studies, 2000 (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE)

Awards and Honors
Colposcopy Recognition Award (CRA), the American Association of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology; Distinguished Fellow, Clinical Preceptor, American Academy of Physician Assistants; Fellow, Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants

Past/Present Clients
Brady East STD Clinic, Milwaukee, WI Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (Martin Luther King Heritage Health Center), Dept. of Family Medicine and Early Intervention Program for HIV Infected Persons

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