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vag discharge - radiation effect? vag discharge - radiation effect?

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Unread 03-13-2004, 12:47 PM
vag discharge - radiation effect?

What does radiation-induced discharge look and feel like?

I finished 6 weeks of radiation therapy and didn't have the side-effect of vaginal discharge (was instructed to douche daily with a peroxide/water solution). I did have a yeast infection a week ago, and took a Diflucan.

Well, yesterday I began to have a raw, burning feeling at the outer edge of my vagina and a bit of discharge. Today I don't have the same intensity of burning, but more discharge. The burning isn't at all like the sensation of a yeast infection. It's not an itchy burn or a sore burn -- more like a dry heat, if that makes sense...

I doubt anyone here can tell me whether it's still yeast, or radiation side-effect, or something else -- I'll need to go to the doctor, I know -- but I'm wondering whether anyone has had a delayed reaction to radiation or knows if it's possible. And I'm wondering whether the sensation I described is the classic feeling one gets with radiation-induced discharge.

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Unread 03-13-2004, 01:28 PM
vag discharge - radiation effect?

Hi, Empresse. The side effects of radiation therapy are delayed. So, while your treatment may be completed, your body is still responding to the therapy.

When I was undergoing radiation, I had radiation uritis. There was no discharge, but the pain! Oye! I spoke with the doctor and was given an antibiotic as well as a prescription for the uritis. I can't remember the name right now, but it turns your urine bright orange. What a trip! In any event, it worked so who cared about the orange pee?

Good luck to you and see your doctor about your side effects.

Unread 03-13-2004, 01:53 PM
vag discharge - radiation effect?

Hi Empresse,

I also had burning and discomfort for several weeks after radiation ended. I do not remember if there was a discharge or not. There may have been though. The skin of my vagina kind of turned white and flaked off. They said it was an after effect of the radiation. Your symptoms do actually sound kind of normal.

You should be having follow-up exams with your radiation Doc. You should check it out to be safe.

Good luck!
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Unread 03-13-2004, 05:22 PM
vag discharge - radiation effect?

HI Em,
I wasn't told to douche after radiation, but it does make sense. I've not had a discharge other than some light spotting after sex. The Doctor assures me that it is from scar tissue. It seems to have stopped now, 8 months after my treatment ended. I am using Premarin cream to build up vaginal tissues.

Perhaps you are also having scar tissue that is forming and causing a discharge?

Sorry I can't be more helpful.
Unread 03-14-2004, 07:54 PM
vag discharge - radiation effect?

Thanks for your replies!
Well, I'm certain now that it is not yeast. It is copious and yellowish (it has either changed or I just thought it was white...)

My follow-up appointment with the radiation people isn't until April, so I'm watching this to see whether it needs attention. I have an appointment for something else in the same building on Wednesday, so if I think I need to see the doctor I'll try to schedule an appointment for the same day. The burning feeling has gone away (thank heavens!) as the actual amount of discharge has increased. The daily douches have a soothing effect. And here I thought I could burn or give away those sanitary pads! Good thing I didn't!

Oh the irony. Now that I'm finished with the radiation, NOW is when I'm losing my pubic hair. I think I'm going to take the scissors to it... it was one thing to be shaved (weird), but quite another to have weird wispy patches (freaky).

I just thought I'd have the same old digestive/fatigue side-effects for a little longer. I didn't think I'd get New side-effects post-treatment!

Hanging in there...
Health and Hugs to all!
Unread 03-14-2004, 11:15 PM
vag discharge - radiation effect?

You could be dealing with a type of bacterial vaginosis; the radiation can leave you a bit more vulnerable to infection and perhaps that's what is happening?

It's a good thing you have that upcoming appointment -- can that doctor do something for you?

Maureenie: I think it's Pyridium that makes your pee that weird orange color -- I took it once years ago, and remember still that bizarre neon tint. No one had warned me, and in those days we didn't have the internet. That was one panicked phone call to the pharmacy! (they were open, doctor was not...)

Unread 03-15-2004, 12:19 AM
vag discharge - radiation effect?

I agree with Audrey. It sounds like a bacterial infection. I heard a doctor speak last week who said that bacterial infections were common after radiation if the vagina wasn't kept lubricated. It seems our natural lubrication dries up with the onset of menopause and radiation exacerbates the dryness. That makes the vagina walls very thin, dry, and little or no lubrication to wash away bacteria. She went on and on about 'vaginal hygiene' after radiation and how important it is. Since I use Premarin cream, I haven't had any problems. Knock on wood!

I didn't even know that radiation can cause a vaginal discharge. A discharge was my only symptom of cancer, and that went away with treatment. I am glad to know that if it comes back it might just be a symptom of radiation, and not cancer!

If I were you, I'd call the doctor's office tomorrow and tell them about your symptoms. They may want to schedule you for an appointment, or perhaps perscribe a vaginal bacterial cream.

I agree that it's odd to lose your pubic hair after radiation! I lost some of mine the second week of radiation and it began to fill in again a month or so after radiation ended.

Let us know what the doctor says.
Unread 03-15-2004, 07:19 PM
vag discharge - radiation effect?

Thanks, Audrey & Janie -- that's what I've been fearing today, that it's another bout of BV. I couldn't imagine why it should crop up now, but after reading what you wrote, makes sense. I'm calling the doctor tomorrow -- I'm almost certain that's what this is. The burning has returned, and the discharge now looks like the same kind of thing I had with the first bout.


I dropped the thermometer in the sink and broke it, so I can't take my temperature. Sigh.

Tomorrow is another day, right? Thank heavens!

Unread 03-15-2004, 10:03 PM
WAH poor me

I just need to whine for a minute. I try to keep my sense of humor and be really positive -- and I'm generally successful -- but right now I'm feeling overwhelmed. I hate to awaken my DH tonight -- he had a really rough day at work and is snoring peacefully. So I will 'let my fingers do the whining.' (heh)

I'm just tired of hurting. I'm tired of new 'symptoms.' With all the horizontal time, I'm developing a BED SORE for heaven's sake. As if this discharge weren't enough already. I'm not even in bed that much, compared to sitting in chairs. I think it's because I'm kinda skinny. The ol' bony tailbone is just too un-padded. To prevent this, I've read that one should change position every 2-3 hours -- but the only position that doesn't hurt is lying on my back. Can't lie on my stomach with this stupid drainpipe going into me -- can't lie on my right side for the same reason -- and when I try my normal position, on my left side, the incision where they put the drainage tube in just throbs and throbs. WAH. So I'm going to try putting a feather pillow under my tailbone tonight.

More things I'm tired of:
-- fear of addiction to pain medicine (but Handbook For Mortals has a great section on pain management which has been pretty reassuring)
-- taking pills in general
-- emptying this drainage bag
-- changing sanitary pads (again! thought this was over!)
-- being forgetful
-- being at home alone all day every weekday (but really if I needed company there are friends and family I can call -- just whining)
-- night sweats
-- insomnia/interrupted sleep
-- being so dependent
-- not going to work
-- feeling whiny

WAH! I realize, of course, that it could be a LOT worse. I'm not bored, either. Kind of tired of my own company, but good at entertaining myself. I read constantly anyway, so this has been a good catching-up-on-my-piles-of-books time.

But wah, I'm tired of pain.

Okay, I think I'm done now. Time to go look at the dancing hamsters or the Led Zeppelin kittycats or something. Thanks for listening...
Unread 03-16-2004, 12:07 AM
vag discharge - radiation effect?

I'm one month post-radiation, and I still have small amounts of discharge, enough for panty liners. Never did experience any skin problems, though. I also lost about 98% of my pubic hair about halfway through treatments, and that still hasn't grown back! (But I didn't lose the hair on my head as a result of chemo, so I'm NOT complaining!)

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