Sex and the SMW: “Am I allergic to my fiancé?”
By Josie Brown
My fiancé and I are going to be married late this year. Sex between us has always been nice, and tender. But I’ve also noticed a burning sensation. You know, DOWN THERE. I’ve also seen tiny bumps that then become sore, so something is definitely happening. Both my fiancé and I have been tested for STDs, so it can’t be that. And It shouldn’t be my contraception, because I’m on the pill, as opposed to using a spermacide or something else that might cause an allergy . . .
Which brings me to my question: Could I be allergic to my fiancé? And if so, is this something I can fix prior to the wedding? If not, I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life with someone with whom I couldn’t enjoy sex. Help!”
—Clarissa L., Virginia Beach, VA
Ouch! Yep, for sure, you’re in a tricky situation.
There’s a good chance that what you’re experiencing is a form of vulvodynia, which, quite literally means “pain in the vulva.” Symptoms include rawness, sometimes some swelling, soreness, burning, itching, stinging, and throbbing—
And yes, discomfort during and after intercourse.
Believe it or not, this is more common than you think. Though it’s likely to be unreported (many women may feel uncomfortable describing their symptoms to doctors) it is estimated that one-in-six women, some 16 percent of those between 18 and 64, may suffer from some form of vulvodynia.
Well the good news is that it’s more than likely not an allergy to him. The bad news: doctors don’t know specifically what it is, and feel it could be attributed to various factors, including past vaginal infections, muscle spasms, possible nerve ending damage. and changes in estrogen levels, including, but not specific to, menopause.
It sounds as if you’ve already informed your gynecologist, and that tests have been run. The Mayo Clinic suggests that your doctor may want to run an additional test, for diabetes, since there has been some correlation there, as well.
While there is no cure as of now, talk to your doctor about some form of pain management. Here are some of the current recommendations from the Mayo Clinic:
- Topical Estrogen
- Local Anesthetics
- Physical Therapy
- Tricyclic antidepressant (such as Norpramin);
- Antihistamins to reduce itching
- Anticonvulsants, such as carbamazepine
Not the usual sex enhancements for your honeymoon, right? The best news of all: he loves you anyway, and thinks it’s worth sticking it out with you.
Remember that throughout our lives we all face health challenges in a variety of ways. Some are easily over come, others take patience, trial, and error. Your issue may be as easily resolved as getting your lover to use a lubricated condom.
The question that defines our character is what we do to get through our challenges, and move forward with our lives.
Have a question? Email Josie here…
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