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Shorter period, old blood smell

A little background: I’m 38 and recently started having sex. My boyfriend and I did not use protection because we were hoping to conceive. The first period after having sex was pretty normal. However, this last one was very different. I was 4 days late (spotted dark brown for about 2 days prior). I bled for 2 days and am spotting dark brown again (though I usually still bleed a lot on day 3, period usually lasts 6-7 days). I noticed on the second day I bled that my blood smells old, like I haven’t changed my pad all day though it’s not the case. What I’ve been spotting since also smells like old blood. 2 days before I was supposed to get my period, I got a Pap smear and took STD testing (Went to get a physical, but told my doctor I noticed my discharge looked yellow, and she recommended testing). STD testing came back negative, but my it turns out I have I have HPV High risk Viruses present. Could there have been something left behind during Pap smear? What else could be causing the delayed, shorter, and smellier period? I’m supposed to see a gynecologist in 3 weeks, but the fact that my period smells and has changed so much from one month to another scares me.
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134578 tn?1614729226
COMMUNITY LEADER
It would be surprising if anything was left behind after a Pap smear, the tool they use is like a bristly thing to collect cells, and it wouldn't be falling apart or leaving things behind.

In your shoes, I would be wondering if the 'high risk' HPV viruses that they have told you about are doing something. It would be worthwhile to see if you can get an appointment sooner with the doctor. If it helps to get them to take you seriously, tell them the spotting has you worried. What you want to discuss with the doctor is what the presence of "HPV 'high risk' viruses" means.
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Thank you. I googled if hpv causes menstrual changes and the responses were that it doesn’t. But I will call anyway and let them know about the spotting. Thanks again, I appreciate your response.
Well, it depends on what you ask google, I guess. HPV does not cause "menstrual" changes, but it can definitely cause bleeding that seems like spotting.

You said you're 38 and "recently started having sex." Does that mean up until recently you had never had sex at all, or just that you have had sex before, then had a gap, and have recently begun to have sex with your now boyfriend?

I ask because it is kind of hard to understand the comment that you have "high risk" HPV if you have only recently begun to have sex.

HPV has several strains. Some can cause no problems (and go away), some can cause genital warts (this is considered not much of a problem, though for a lot of women it would be hard to understand why a doctor would say such a thing!), and some strains can cause cervical cancer. But the last category takes a while to develop. If you had been a virgin until just recently, getting characterized as having "high risk" HPV doesn't make a lot of sense if it really takes a while for problems from HPV to develop.

The reason to take the bleeding seriously is that bleeding is a symptom of cervical cancer. Here is from another website:

"Irregular vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom of invasive cervical cancer. The bleeding may occur between menstrual periods or after sex. Sometimes, it shows as blood-streaked vaginal discharge, which often gets dismissed as spotting."

The reason I suggested you call your doc is simply so you can rule out that worry. It's worth checking.
I was a virgin. I was told I had a normal pap, but that I had high risk HPV strains that can cause cervical cancer present, and referred to the gynecologist. My doctor said it could go away in a year or 2, but she wanted me to see the gynecologist in case she missed something. I had told my doctor I noticed I spotted after each time I had sex (which I initially thought was due to me being a virgin and my body still adjusting) but she didn’t seem concerned about that.
Hard to understand this. Being told that you had "high risk" strains of HPV is not a normal Pap. Definitely nail down what the doctors are talking about.
Maybe by "normal" they mean your cervix still looks normal -- that though they found the HPV virus when doing a Pap smear, it has not done any damage to the cervix at this point. HPV is very common, about half the population has it, and people acquire the virus when exposed to it. But it takes some time to do any harm, if it is going at all. (Incidentally, FYI when talking with the doctor, HPV-16 and HPV-18 are the strains of concern for causing cervical cancer, I think.)
I was told I have 14 high risk strains, including    16 and 18. I guess it’s because I got them so recently, there shouldn’t be any damage. I’ll admit I’m still a bit nervous. My doctor said the gynocologist would do more testing. I’m hoping the changes I noticed on this period are due to fluctuating hormones, like specialmom mentioned, and not some kind of infection.
Let's hope your body shakes off the HPV over time; it can happen even with the "high risk" strains.

I assume you never had an HPV vaccine? Check with your doctor; although traditionally vaccines aren't cures for an existing condition, there is some new research that suggests HPV vaccines can have some effect on current infections.  

Has your boyfriend discussed having HPV with his doctor? (If you were a virgin before, you presumably got the HPV from him, is that right?)
Thank you, hopefully it will. I’ve never had the vaccine. I spoke to my boyfriend about it and he said he’d talk to his doctor. Though from what I was able to research, there’s no screening for men. I asked my doctor if I would get reinfected if I keep having unprotected sex with him (since we are hoping to have a baby). She said she wasn’t sure, but I could probably get more information from the  gynecologist.
You cannot get reinfected. It is not a “ ping pong “. You might get another strains of HPV but not the same one over and over.
Your body develops antibodies against these specific strains, hence why it is not a back and forth action.

Keep in mind, you might catch different strains of HPV so either ways, it is best to get vaccinated.
( Not to burst your bubble though, but the older you are the less a vaccine is effective. )

The bottom line of this is,
HPV is very common and normal. Staying on top of your Pap Smears and appointments with your Gyno is best.
Regarding the "burst your bubble" comment, it's not people's age that makes the vaccine less effective, it's their exposure to HPV already. Here is from an article about that topic:

"Because HPV acquisition generally occurs soon after first sexual activity, vaccine effectiveness will be lower in older age groups because of prior infections. Some previously exposed adults will have developed natural immunity already. Evidence suggests that although HPV vaccination is safe for adults aged 27 through 45 years, population benefit would be minimal; nevertheless, some adults who are not adequately vaccinated might be at risk for new HPV infection and might benefit from vaccination in this age range."

@geminiii: thank you, I really want to have a baby, so I guess I can keep trying with my boyfriend, since we likely have the same strains. hopefully my body can fight it off completely.
You are welcome Sky,
I wish you all the best.
Looking forward to hearing all about your pregnancy haha :)
Thanks Geminiii! :)
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
So, when you say "high risk HPV viruses" ,what do you mean?  I know there are different strains of hpv which are genital warts.  Normally, you have a wart or multiple warts if you have hpv and the percentage of our population that has it is very high.  Yes, it can lead to complications like cervical cancer but most of the time does not and resolves on its own.  I see I"m repeating Anniebrooke, sorry!  I'll leave it just because hey, seeing that people agree may help.

Did you get an abnormal pap smear?  

A strange period in which it is shorter in duration and funkier could be due to hormonal fluctuations.  Changes in routine, sickness, stress, weight gain or loss are all things that can cause your hormones to fluctuate.

You are worried about cervical cancer?  I'm not sure I would be at this point.  Normally they do a diagnostic test for that.  Did they draw your blood for this test? Did you have an abnormal pap smear?  Many women have dysplasia and simply burning it off is the remedy.  But, did you have abnormal findings during your pap?
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Thank you for responding. I was told I had a normal Pap smear but high risk HPV (that can lead to cervical cancer) present. Since I read that cervical cancer can take years to develop, I’m more concerned about an infection or something at this point. Though I really hope it’s a hormonal fluctuation, like you mentioned.
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