DON'T PanicThe condom broke or –shame on you! — you didn’t use a condom and something is itchy/burning/funky down there. We’re not judging you. What’s done is done. There’s no use in freaking yourself out to the point of a nervous breakdown. There’s no to spend hours on the web Googling “red bumps” and “discharge.” Don’t fall down the self-diagnosis wormhole. It’s a scary place to be. The best case scenario? It’s nothing serious. We’re definitely not doctors and we highly recommend you see your gynecologist or go to the local clinic right away if you think you might have a sexually transmitted infection. But in the interim, we urge you not to panic. Here are a few other things that might be going on down there (from real women who have experienced them all):

1. An ingrown hair. It’s crazy that a tiny, little pubic hair growing in the wrong direction can cause such a huge, inflamed, bump — especially if it gets infected. It’s also crazy how a big one can look like what we’ve always imagined a genital wart does. Deep breath. Stop hyperventilating. You can usually remove those suckers withhot water and some sterile tweezers.

2. Yeast infection. You’re vagina is as itchy as all get out, irritated, burning and you have thick discharge? Oh great. The internet has told you that those are the symptoms of practically every STI you can contract. And you probably have them all. Maybe not. These are also the symptoms of a yeast infection. If you’ve had one before, you’ll recognize the feeling almost immediately and skip on over to the drug store for some Monistat. If you haven’t had one before, you’ll be preparing for the worst but be really, really relieved when your doctor gives you a prescription and your vagina returns to her normal, chipper self within a day or three.

3. Bacterial vaginosis. Nothing is more horrifying than realizing that your vagina is leaking a fishy smelling discharge. In you’re heightened state of panic, you’ll probably deduce that you have gonorrhea or chlamydia or BOTH. Settle down there, sister. There’s a chance you might have bacterial vaginosis, an infection caused by an imbalance in your naturally occurring bacteria down in there. You’re gonna have to head to the doc for some antibiotics, but rest assured, your vagina will be good as new very soon.

4. Urinary tract infection. If your pee seems weird after sex (like, it’s cloudy or bloody), if it burns when you go or you have pain in your lower abdominal area, you’re probably going to be living in a state of persistent fear. You’re not dying, we swear. It’s likely that you have a UTI, which is easily treated by a doctor who will make you pee in a cup and then give you some meds. There, there.

5. Mild latex allergy. Using condoms every single time is usually a GOOD thing, but not if you have a mild latexallergy. If that’s your issue, you’ll probably be bugging out when, after sex, your vagina gets really angry, itchy, red and you’re breaking out in a rash or hives down there. Although it is rare, some women are allergic to latex condoms. You’re angry vagina will be at ease again one you start using protection…without latex.

6. Dryness or tearing. The fact of the matter is we’re sensitive down there. How sensitive? Most of us occasionally have burning or irritation in our vaginas after sex, especially if we really went at it. Because, FRICTION. If you feel a little bit out of sorts between the legs after a night of wild romping, your vagina might just be tired and sore. If it continues for more than a day, you know what to do: call your doctor.

We hope this list has put your mind at ease. At least, for the moment. Now get offline, stop making yourself crazy and go make an appointment with your doctor just to be safe.



The Frisky

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.

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