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Avatar universal

BV or something else?

Hi,

For as long as I can remember, even before becoming sexually active, I have always had a musty smell down there. I sort of remember the musty smell being there as a child, side note: I have always suspected that I was possibly abused by a family members boyfriend who has history of being extremely physically abusive. I was left a alone with him a few times and remember the bad feelings I had towards certain memories that come up when I think of this man. I also have chopped up memories of being at a doctors office around that time and having to be checked down there. I remember feeling forced to do it and crying my eyes out and feeling like it was not normal, but maybe I am overthinking this. Anyway, I do remember dealing with this for quite sometime. Once I hit puberty it was accompanied with a lot of clear discharge. I remember being in 7th grade and having to wear panty liners because the discharge would go through my pants at school. I have been dealing with it all for so long that I thought it was normal. It wasn’t until I became sexually with my first boyfriend around 17, that I realized it’s an issue. My periods were extremely irregular as a teen. I was always spotting in between periods, cramping, or had brown discharge. Sex was painful to the point where I wanted to cry. All of this went away on its own so I brushed it off. Doctors terrify me and I avoid going at all costs. (Not good, I know, but I associate them with the appointments from when I was a child and I just feel uneasy) I am still with my first boyfriend 11 years later and it wasn’t until last year that I realized I am suffering from reoccurring BV. We had been switching up condom brands to find one that worked for both of us, and that is when I started to notice a fishy odor during and after sex accompanied with a lot of watery discharge. But, when BV symptoms weren’t obvious and present, my discharge would be yellow with a musty smell. This would go back and forth between being clear with musty smell and yellow with musty smell. I also noticed it happening if I had sex right after my period ended. I treated it with Balance Activ gel which seemed to clear it up for the time being, but once my period came I had it again. I also suffered from reoccurring UTI’s that whole year. I realized maybe the burning sensation could be a UTI, but I also read burning when urinating can be BV. Either way, the first day of antibiotics I felt back to normal, of course I continued out my course of antibiotics, but I wonder if I ever even had a UTI. I’m sure being on antibiotics all those times threw me off even more. At this point, I’m just at a loss. I really don’t have sex with my boyfriend anymore because I’m tired of dealing with this problem. When we do have sex I just feel dirty and gross and wonder if there will be an odor present. I always pee directly after sex and shower and I have been doing well on the UTI part but not BV. I recently started taking a cranberry women’s health probiotic for about 3 weeks now. It’s supposed to prevent all types of Vaginal infections. I was having good results with it until I had sex after my period. I guess that would be the trigger. I am thinking that I have it consistently but I don’t notice anything until I have sex since that makes the symptoms noticeable. I have been taking a cranberry women’s health probiotic for about 2-3 weeks now. It is supposed to prevent all types of vaginal infections, I felt like I was doing pretty well on this until I got my period and had sex. My last 2 periods have been irregular, they have been lasting way longer than usual which is quite frustrating. Normally, my cycle is 6 days long whereas now it’s lasting 8-9 days. On the 6th day of my period which should have been the last day, I had unprotected sex, following that I bled light bright red blood for a day, then for the next 3-4 days it was brown discharge. This went away for a little over a week and then I had sex again, came back and with a fishy odor. I am now treating myself with Multi-Gyn Gel twice a day for 5 days. It seems to have completely taken care of the odor inside the vagina but I have had brown discharge for DAYS! And my vulva area has a very faint musty fishy odor to it. I have been applying the gel to there as well. As well as taking my probiotics. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do anymore. I’m on the last day of this treatment and while the smell is very faint I can still notice it which means BV is still there! I also am sick of wiping and seeing brown discharge. I just want a normal vagina and sex life and period but who knows if this is possible for me.
I guess I’m wondering if this is completely BV or maybe something else?
Does BV also have a musty odor as well as fishy odor? Does BV cause yellow discharge, brown discharge, or irregular periods / spotting / cramping in between periods?
Can it cause reoccurring UTI’s or mild burning when urinating?
Please help! I’m tired of living like this.
4 Responses
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134578 tn?1614729226
COMMUNITY LEADER
How did you get the antibiotics for the UTI, did you see a doctor?

All of the self-help in the world won't stop BV, you need a specific antibiotic (the one you used for your UTI might not be the right thing) and BV needs to be diagnosed by a doctor. Also, if your partner is not treated at the same time, there is some possibility he is passing the bacteria right back to you. So, in essence, you two both need to be on a run of the proper antibiotics for BV at the same time.

Seeing a doctor will also answer your other questions (along with, "Is this BV?" which he or she can answer by doing a swab.) You might, for example, have a fibroid. I would suggest signing up with a female gyn, and explaining your history to her so she will have an understanding of your anxiety about doctors.

Again, BV is a bacterial infection, and not well treated by gels you can just purchase. You need the proper antibiotic.
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3 Comments
ps -- If left untreated, BV can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which you don't want, since in some cases it can lead to infertility. So, please use that as a push to get over your fears and see an ob/gyn to get tested.
The reason I usually just end up getting antibiotics for a UTI is because I go to a walk-in where they just take a urine sample and even if you test negative for one they give you the antibiotics anyway. I’m afraid maybe this could be trich or maybe even another type of STD. Due to the musty odor and yellow discharge/spotting. It’s just very confusing to tell what it could possibly be since a lot of these infections and STDS have a lot of the same symptoms. I am going to get STD tested within the next couple of days. I found a place where you just walk in and give a urine sample and get blood taken and the results are in within 48 hours. I’m extremely nervous but needs to be done. If it comes back negative I will feel better about making regular appts with a gyn. To figure out what exactly could be going on. Aside from horrible experience with doctors as a child, another big reason I would avoid them was due to embarrassment of not knowing what’s going on down there. I hope all goes well and it comes back negative for all STDS. Thanks for the help!
No problem. But I might suggest going to the regular ob/gyn straight away and no longer wasting time trying to guess what is wrong and treat by going into walk-in places for whatever they will give you. An ob/gyn can test you for everything.
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
So, things have different symptoms.  UTI is quite noticeable.  It has symptoms of frequently having to urinate.  And when you do, as the pee is pushed out toward the end, it burns and hurts.  It's fairly distinctive when you have one and hard to miss.  Antibiotics will clear it up and most women are motivated to take them to get rid of those uncomfortable and often painful symptoms.  

BV has a very distinct odor. It's not 'musty'.  It's foul.  Like, garbage foul.  Like rotting flesh foul.  It gets worse after intercourse.  The discharge associated with BV is often greyish and watery.  It is not an std but CAN be passed back and forth between a man and woman.  Often if a woman has recurring BV, they give the man antibiotics at the same time to eliminate risk of it being passed back and forth. But some women get it all on their own.  It loves airless, moist, warm environments. So, change underwear frequently, wear only cotton, etc. Sleep with out undies from time to time to 'air' out. Antibiotics clear it up. However, it can be resilient.  I had, unfortunately, a period of time where I couldn't get rid of it.  It did go away on it's own eventually (after about 3 rounds of antibiotics, I sort of just was like 'whatever' and it did resolve).  NEVER douche.  Our vagina is self cleaning and douching will increase risk of developing BV.

Yeast infections.  This happens on its own or after antibiotics.  Discharge is usually thick but doesn't have to be, may or may not have clumps.  You almost always itch.  OTC products work nicely.  Again, change underwear especially after exercising or sweating, go underwear less at night from time to time.  And cut down on sugar, which is linked to yeast overgrowth.

Both yeast and BV are easy to diagnose.  Doc does a very quick swab of your discharge and looks at it under a microscope.  This then lets them know which direction to go.  

Vaginal odor isn't really uncommon.  Musty smells are something that happens.  Sometimes a woman will get discharge stuck under the folds of her genitals (often would look a little white or yellowish) and this can smell.  A warm wash cloth with a bit of antibacterial soap washing on these outside folds can help tremendously.  Our diet can influence our discharge's normal odor. Hormones will also impact our discharge. It probably changes throughout the month as you go through hormonal changes related to your cycle.  This is also normal.  Birth control pills help decrease that.

So, you also sound like you have been through a lot and wonder about your past.  What about a therapist to talk about things?  this could be really beneficial for you and how you cope.  good luck
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Just an update, I got tested for STDS, yeast and BV. I tested negative for all STDs and yeast,  but I did test positive for BV. I’m currently on my 4th day of antibiotics and the odor is gone! Yesterday I had some discharge but I think the antibiotics are doing something. Fingers crossed! I’m hopeful. I’m glad I finally figured out what it is after all of these years :)
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
Hey, glad to hear.  So, you will want to be sure to finish your antibiotics. And please watch out for this small issue of being on antibiotics and then developing a yeast infection.  That does happen. Don't panic if it does and treat it (your doctor may call in a prescription of duflucan for that or you can use otc meds) --  hopefully it won't. If you start itching, this is what is likely going on. But glad you are on the mend.  :>))
134578 tn?1614729226
COMMUNITY LEADER
That's good news! Be sure to take the full run of the antibiotics they gave you, and also have any partners get treated at the same time.
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