my vagina hurts and my discharge smells

dear heather,
I haven’t had sex but my vagina has been hurting and my period cycle is not normal. The discharge in my underwear smells sometimes and it’s starting to bother me. Do I have an infection? Do I need to see a doctor about this? I don’t want to see a male doctor because it would be too uncomfortable for me.

It is possible that you do have a bacterial infection, which can cause a smelly and even discolored discharge even if you’ve never had sex. I would definitely recommend that you see a doctor who can diagnose this properly and prescribe a treatment.

According to Dr. Karen Rosewater it is unlikely your irregular periods are related to any vaginal infection, but this is something that it would be good to address with whatever doctor you see.

As for not wanting to see a male gynecologist, some certainly feel, as you do, that it would be uncomfortable to see a male. I would not encourage you to do anything that would make you feel uncomfortable, but you may find that a doctor’s personality and “bedside manner” matter more than gender in terms of how comfortable you are on the exam table. It also might help you to know that most gynecologists go through training in order to learn how to make patients feel professionally taken care of and at ease.

The good news, Dr. Rosewater says, is that it may not be necessary for a doctor to do a full vaginal exam in order to diagnose a bacterial infection. It may be possible for the doctor to do a swab test. Ask your doctor, whomever you choose, what your options are.

take care,

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