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Women's Health

Stressed Out

12/10/2009

Question:

I had bacterial vaginosis for the first time this year due to stress. The physician gave me antibiotics. Another stressful month goes by, I get it again but twice in the same month. I`ve been on the same birth control for the past 3 years. due to the combination of different work schedules, being too tired, and my infection, we didn`t have sex for a month. We waited about 2 weeks after i felt better to have sex again. that`s about a week ago, but now i`ve been spotting a little after sex. it`s never happened before. I don`t douche and when i bathe i use unscented soaps, or just plain warm water and a little friction to cleanse the vagina. I also notice that even when i`m in the mood my vagina isn`t as wet as it used to be. i`ve never spotted before after sex could it just be that my vagina is still recovering?

Answer:

It sounds as if you are doing the right things for your vaginal health. Bacterial vaginosis can cause some irritation of the tissue in the vagina and actually change the pH or acidity level of your vaginal canal. This can increase irritation and cause some spotting after intercourse.

While I seldom recommend douching, a ONE TIME douche of 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a pint of warm water may help to restore the acidity that you need in your vagina.

Another trick is to use some plain active culture yogurt in your vagina once a day for several days. That also might help. If the spotting does not stop, it is important to get it checked out. The spotting may be a symptom of another process that is not related to the bacterial vaginosis.

As to the dryness, there are several choices. The commercially available lubricants are helpful. I also recommend using olive oil as a lubricant. It is slightly acidic which is good, it does not interfere with any contraceptive techniques and there are no contraindications to its use. When gently warmed and used in foreplay to lubricate both you and your partner, it can be a very pleasurable experience. Hope this helps and all the best!

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Response by:

Elizabeth R Barker, APRN, BC, FNP, FAANP, CHE, PhD Elizabeth R Barker, APRN, BC, FNP, FAANP, CHE, PhD
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University