I'm not sure what my intent is of this post–hoping someone may have some insight, but also just hoping to sound off to people that understand, as I somehow know no one who has ever experienced BV before (offline). I really appreciate anyone taking the time to read this. My friends and boyfriend are very supportive, but I don't think anyone truly gets how much this has hurt my quality of life.
This all started last November. My boyfriend and I caught a nasty 48-hour bug, and after that, my normally great immune system seemed to have shut down. I developed genital warts, and discovered I had low (and later high-risk) HPV, and I developed my first case of BV. Like, smell-it-standing-up-in-a-dress BV. The HPV was bad enough in itself, so that was a whole mess of guilt which I have since gotten over, even though I don't know if the HPV is "gone" yet, but the BV has been an ongoing nightmare ever since.
Was told by Planned Parenthood that my BV wasn't so severe and may go away on its own, so I tried the H2O2 remedy to kick it, but it never ultimately cleared up. My boyfriend at the time and I were long-distance, so I'd clear it for the week, but then it would come back a day or two after I returned from a weekend visit. At the time, I had a Paragard IUD (since August 2011) and was letting my boyfriend ejaculate inside me. (both STD-free) My BV symptoms have not been the worst they could be, from what I understand from The Internet. But there's always a lot of discharge. I've always had underwear stains from discharge, but now I can actually feel it leaving my body, which is just such an unpleasant sensation and really messes with my head. The smell, I don't even know–since the initial onset, I've sniffed my underwear like a crazy person all day, every day, and I have no concept of what's normal anymore. But no itching or anything else, really. Just wet. Constantly.
January rolls around and I'm still not clear of it. So I finally take the oral metro. Feel like crap, on the cusp of yeasties the whole time, etc. Right after I finished my course, I had my colposcopy, and also found out my IUD had to be removed. So, between the IUD removal and antibiotics, the BV seemed to have gone away. We used condoms from January-March, until it became too anxiety-inducing (several broken ones), and while my paranoia about BV was always there, my pH always seemed to be normal. The amount of money I've spent on those Vagisil tests is outstanding. (the cheaper strips never seem to give me a clear result, unfortunately) I started back on the pill in March, and we had unprotected sex again (he always finished outside me from then on), and I seemed to avoid the BV.
April I decided the pill was not the best choice for me anymore; I was taking Ortho-Lo, which I had used during college with no issue, but suddenly had tons of issues in my first month. I thought, hey, the IUD slipping a bit last time was probably a fluke, I had it for 15 months–so why not try again? I loved it otherwise, and as long as I didn't allow my boyfriend to finish inside me, I should be fine, right? That seemed to be the trigger, anyways. Unfortunately, within 3 weeks of the new IUD, I had BV symptoms again after an evening of particularly drunk & rough sex (ha... ha).
Since then it's been a consistent battle with my body. IUD #2 was not kind to me; tons of spotting, some pain... I moved to NYC (in with the boyfriend) in July, and got an ultrasound a few weeks later. Turns out this IUD had moved as well, but my doctor said it was okay. Spotting continued, pain during sex started, and in August I had the IUD removed. The doctor had also given me Metrogel, but I thought I'd be able to kick the BV with a week of boric acid since I was getting the IUD removed. I really didn't want to take the gel. Unfortunately, that didn't work either.
Finally bit the bullet last week and said, okay–my pH is out of whack, but it's borderline. pH tests put me at somewhere between 4.5 and 5. Like, to the point where it's hard to differentiate the colors on the strip. I'm on the pill, boyfriend never finishes inside me anymore, if we use lube it's glycerin & paraben free... I should be done after this, right? Well, I finished the 5-night course Thursday night, and by Sunday night I started feeling off again. I couldn't believe it. Metrogel side effects weren't terrible, but it did make me bleed a lot, so I'm like... HOW did this not work? Thank goodness for NYC urgent care; went for a rapid BV test and a culture on Wednesday. The rapid test "looked negative," but apparently those give a lot of false negatives, so now I'm waiting for the culture.
I honestly feel completely hopeless. My boyfriend has never noticed anything, so he kind of thinks I am insane, but I know it's not normal for me to feel wetness coming out of me all the time. I don't know what a normal smell is at this point. I've tried everything: metro pills, metro gel, boric acid suppositories, Yeast Arrest suppositories during my period for 4 months, a naturopath-recommended boric acid douche, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil. I do everything right: I threw out most of my thongs. Cotton underwear only (which was always the case). I take Fem-Dophilus probiotics every day. Folic acid. A multi with B-complex. Occasionally zinc and iron supplements in addition to try and boost my immune system. I drink apple cider vinegar. I've started eating a spoonful of raw garlic daily. I bought Goldenseal tincture, I've tried Shepherd's Purse and Lady's Mantle as recommended by a naturopath. I drink tons of water. Green superfoods. I exercise 5-6 times a week. I don't put any soap down there. I'm not perfect, diet-wise, but I'm pretty good. I do try to let myself eat things I love sometimes, and I do drink alcohol a decent amount. I am not prone to yeast infections, however, and avoided them both times I took antibiotics by taking probiotics and watching my yeasty food intake. I've tried acupuncture in the past, but cannot currently fit it into my schedule. I am trying to do more yoga. Anything to reduce my stress, but I just moved here and am already trying to adjust to NYC life and am looking for a new job, so there's only so much I can honestly expect of myself. I'm a mess. I cry myself to sleep more times than I like to admit. I'm almost crying at my desk right now writing this. I just don't know what to do if this culture comes back positive. I've done everything, and I don't want to get into an antibiotic cycle that may never work. Is there anything my boyfriend can do to help me? He offered to take the metro pills as well if I'm able to get two doses, if that ends up being the "solution". I am in therapy; we discussed how I may just have to accept the "worst case scenario," that I may have to live with this indefinitely. I feel like I haven't been truly happy in a year, though my life is overwhelmingly good. It's so hard to enjoy anything when I feel so dirty all the time. When my boyfriend and I started dating I felt wonderful about myself. Now, I feel lower than I have in years. I feel totally broken, to be honest, at the risk of sounding overdramatic.
Anyways, thank you for reading. I just don't know what to do anymore.