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Tingling all over body, cough, vaginal odour, treatment

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2010
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I am a 36 y/o overweight female and I experiencing tingling sensations all over my body. I have tingling in my head, mouth, tongue, face, ears, nose, eyes, feet, hands, legs, fingers, arms and vaginal area. I also have a persistent cough that will not go away. In addition to all of this, I have a horrible vaginal smell and taste. It smells and tastes like a combination of dirt, metal and perfume with a hairy sensation. This part is going to be a bit graphic, but just recently on March 30, 2011, I masturbated with my fingers and transferred my vaginal fluids to my mouth. The very next day, I noticed that I transferred the smell and taste of my vagina (with the hairy sensation) to my mouth/tongue and this is when I started experiencing all of the symptoms above. I have had hsv 1 and 2 since December 2005 and with those 2 conditions the tingling sensations have always been isolated to either my mouth or genital area. I have never experienced systemic tingling (parethesia/neuropathy) nor have I had the awful taste in my mouth with a hairy sensation (Prior to the masturbation that took place on March 30, 2011). I have had the bad vaginal odor with hairy sensations since 2002 and was always told by doctors that it was nothing. I believe that whatever undiagonsed condition/infection/disease that I have in my vagina has now been transferred to my mouth/tongue which is the cause of the systemic tingling and the bad taste in my mouth/tongue that will not go away. I have been tested for all of the stds including hiv, syphillis, bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection and all of the test came back negative. The only vitamin defiency that I have is vitamin D which I am currently taking 50,000 units of Vitamin D once a week for 12 weeks. I don't have high blood pressure nor do I have diabetes (I don't do drugs or alcohol either, nor do I smoke). Last but not least, over the last 2 weeks I have taken the following medications and my symptoms still persist: valtrex, flagyl, keflex and nystatin. I know that the taste in my mouth is not associated with the medications because I was experiencing the bad taste prior to taking the prescribed medications. I also take seroquel 100mg every night for sleep and one xanax 0.5mg daily. I have been taking seroquel since 2002 and the xanax since 2009. Can anyone please help me find out what is wrong with me or give me some type of diagnosis? These symptoms are making my life miserable as the symptoms are constantly occuring 24 hours, 7 days a week ever since March 30, 2011. The only relief I receive from my symptoms is when I am sleeping. P.S. When I was younger I caught trichomoniasis twice and chlamydia once (I received prompt proper treatment all 3 times) and have had several unprotected sexual encounters with numerous partners. I have not had unprotected sex since I was diagonosed with herpes back in December 2005. Fast forwarding to today, I barely have a sex life out of shame and disgust. I have had sex under 10 times between December 2005 and April 2011 with the same person all of which was protected sex. Due to whatever vaginal disease/infection I might have, I have not been able to receive oral sex because the last time I tried which was in 2003, my vagina ended up electrically shocking the person that tried to perform oral sex on me. Also, I drink plenty of water and my diet is fair. Any advice would be highly appreciated. Thanks

The persistent coughing started to occur right after March 30, 2011 along with the bad taste in mouth that will not go away and the systemic tingling. I just spoke to my doctor's office and they stated that even though my vitamin d levels were low (I had bloodwork done on april 19, 2011), I still do not have hypocalcemia and tests show that I am not anemic either. My hygeine is very good. So the bad smell/taste in the vaginal area is not hygeine related because every day after I take a bath, the bad smell/taste still occurs and I transferred it to my mouth/tongue (via the masturbation) and now my mouth, tongue and lips have the same taste of dirt, metal and perfume as my vagina. I have good oral hygeine and I visit a dentist regularly so oral hygeine is not the cause either. Anxiety is not causing these symptoms because none of these symptoms started until after my vaginal fluids came into contact with my mouth/tongue. I have had anxiety since 2009 and have never experienced the bad taste in mouth or systemic tingling until after March 30, 2011. You stated to elaborate on electrically shocking someone...From my own personal experience, when my vaginal fluids come into contact with my own tongue, my tongue starts to tingle. Could this be a sign of infection? You stated that I could have a secondary bacterial infection...Would the secondary bacterial infection cause the tingling all over the body as well as the bad taste in mouth that will not go away and if so, what kinds of secondary bacterial infection would it be? You also stated that I could have an underlying chronic infection or throat infection due to the cough...The cough did not start until after my vaginal fluids came into contact with my mouth/tongue, so could a vaginal infection (and what kind of vaginal infection/disease) cause an underlying chronic infection or throat infection with cough, as all of my symptoms are stemming from my vaginal fluids coming into contact with my mouth/tongue. Once the vaginal fluids came into contact with my mouth/tongue, this then triggered the systemic tingling in my facial area, inside my nose, head area, eyes, ears, legs, arms feet, etc. as well as the tingling tongue and the bad taste in mouth. What physical or medical causes need to ruled out for non specific symptoms of tingling? My major concerns are being able to stop the whole body tingling and the bad taste in my mouth that is the same bad taste/smell in my vagina. Is it possible that I could have a vaginal infection/disease that does not have a name or a diagnosis in the medical community, something that has never been heard of before? If you can help please respond or If possible, can my question be transferred to another doctor? Also, I noticed that you are a psychiatrist...My symptoms are not psychological, so I find it kind of weird that my question was transferred to a psychiatrist? Can you list all types of tests I would need to have done to find the underlying cause of the systemic tingling and bad taste/smell in mouth and vagina? I believe that the underlying cause is some type of vaginal infection? Is it possible that I infected my entire body with the herpes virus and that could be the cause of the whole body tingling? Even so, this still would not explain why I was able to transfer my bad vaginal smell/taste to my mouth/tongue (which will not go away). Can someone please help? Do I need to visit a neurologist? Do I need a ct scan, special blood work or a spinal tap? I have another appointment with my primary care doctor on wednesday may 4, 2011. P.S. I have also completed a full course of diflucan 200mg for 2days, keflex for 10 days, flagyl for 7days, nystatin oral suspension and valtrex daily suppressive therapy. I know that these meds are for bacterial, viral and fungal infections. After taking these medications all of my symptoms still persist. I had all of these symptoms prior to taking any of the medication, so my symptoms are not side effects of any of the medication. Is it possible that I could have a vaginal disorder/disease/infection that is not bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic but of some other nature? I truly believe that the underlying cause of all of my symptoms have to do with my vagina because that's where the initial problem started and then I spread it to my mouth/tongue and as a result, my entire body is now affected. Could a vaginal infection be responsible for possible nerve damage or disease of the nerves which would cause systemic tingling? I read online that herpes can turn into a systemic disease and this could cause systemic tingling. I am currently taking the valtrex, but I still have whole body tingling. Please Help. Thanks
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Sunil.N 4 minutes later
Hi ,

Thanks for your query.

The tingling sensation all over the body is a non-specific symptom it cannot be linked up with any viral or bacterial infection directly and only blood screening for the sepsis can rule out the infectious causes. yes you are right in thinking that herpes as a cause but it causes more of a burning sensation rather than a just tingling sensation and it causes vesicles(small fluid filled bumps) in the area of tingling sensation.
Some of the causes that was considered in this scenario and ruled out are
1. Hypocalcemia(Low levels of Calcium in body)
which is more commonly presents as tingling sensation and it was considered relevant in your case as you are taking Vit D supplements.In the initial
2. Anaemia which can also presents in similar manner but these are ruled out as you said your blood report done recently doesn't show the same.

one more thing that can cause this stress and anxiety following that incidence can cause this kind of sensation but i cannot surely pinpoint a single cause as i have not examine you physically. A physical examination including a routine neurological examination is necessary to find the cause and i don't find any scope for CT scan or spinal tap as of now, only examination can determine it.

The bad smell and taste could have occurred because of the transmission of the infections(Anaerobic bacterias from the vagina) as you mentioned about the vaginal smell and taste and anaerobic bacterias are known to cause these symptoms.
Medications like flagyl can alter the taste sensation and seroquel can cause bad breath also.
Since you have mentioned that the symptoms have appeared post 31st march, medication side effect is unlikely.

The exact cause for the bad smell and taste can be determined by the per speculum examination which is visualizing the vaginal walls and cervix for the source of infection and the secretion/ discharge can cultured to see the caustive organisms.

Vaginal infections are caused by the bacteria's, parasites , fungus , virus .
I don't think your problem is beyond our medical community, want you need is systemic examination according to your symptoms and evaluation of the suspected cause found during the examination.

Regarding the persistent cough post 31st march, a infection transferred from the vaginal secretions is likely cause and the cough might be because of pharynigits likely cause is anaerobic bacterias.
Throat swab for the exact causative organism followed by treatment will surely resolve your cough.

You had mentioned that a week treatment for infection covering virus , bacteria , fungus has completed but no relieve in the symptoms. Again a systemic examination and culture test showing the causative organism should be done before staring any treatment rather than trying everything hoping some or the other will work.

As you will be visting your doctor on 4th may make sure that all the discussed things are evaluated like routine neurological examination , per speculum examination , throat examination.
You can discuss with him about the test like vaginal culture for to find the causative organism and throat culture.

Hope this helps you.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Tingling all over body, cough, vaginal odour, treatment 28 hours later

Thank you so very much for sharing your knowledge and expertise in regards to my medical issues/needs.

If you don't mind, I do have a few more questions that I would like to ask, as I believe this is the last question I can ask that is a part of my original offer/package...

August of 2010 was the last time I had a full gynecological exam consisting of a pap smear and pelvic examination. At that time, the doctor did not find any kind of infection; yet the dirt/perfume/metal smell and taste of my vagina was present at the time. My vagina smelled and tasted normal up until some time in 2002. I don't know if an unprotected sexual encounter caused this to occur or if it is something that my own body did to itself. On a daily basis, I use a very mild vaginal cleanser (either plain white dove soap or summer's eve feminine wash for sensitive skin that I have been using ever since 1992), so I know that this has nothing to do with why I have these symptoms. I even went to the emergency room back in the fall of 2002 regarding the vaginal taste and smell and they told me nothing was wrong. Due to the incident (masturbation with vaginal fluids coming into contact with my mouth/throat and tongue that occured on March 30,2011), I transferred the dirt/perfume/metal smell to my mouth, tongue and lips and I cannot get rid of the taste/smell in my mouth or vagina. I also had a throat culture done on April 11, 2011, to test for candida/yeast (not sure if they tested for anything else via the throat culture) and I did not get a call back from the doctor; so usually that means that the test came back normal/negative. I fear that when I go to get a pap smear/pelvic exam on May 4, 2011, they again won't be able to find anything, and I will be stuck with having this taste and smell in my mouth forever (my tongue and mouth also tingles whenever I move my tongue around in my mouth, this started after March 30,2011). I have only had sex one time since my last pap/pelvic exam of August 2010, and I used protection. I do not have any legions/pus filled bumps/or cold sores.

Is anaerobic bacterias the same as bacterial vaginosis? The reason I ask is because I was put on flagyl on April 11, 2011 and the bad smell/taste still persist (mouth and vagina). I've taken a full course of flagyl and keflex to fight bacterial infection and my symptoms still remain (The keflex was prescribed because I have a pylar cyst on the back of my head, right side, that was removed in fall of 2006, but grew back even larger in size, the size of a strawberry, and has a lot of pain. The doctor thought the cyst was infected due to the pain surrounding the cyst, so she put me on keflex, after completing the keflex the pain is still there..a different doctor put me on the flagyl because I stated that I have a vaginal odor)??? I will be making an appointment with a plastic surgeon some time next week in regards to having the pylar cyst on my head removed for a second time (hopefully this time the cysts will not grow back).

I am so afraid that my primary care doctor will not be able to rule out what is causing the bad smell and taste that is not only affecting my vagina (which I have lived with since 2002) but is now affecting my mouth as well.

I am most concerned with the bad smell/taste in my mouth, the tingling in my mouth/tongue, the persistent cough with pain in my chest and the systemic whole body tingling. I am so afraid that none of the doctors will be able to help me since all of the new symptoms that I am having are stemming from my vaginal fluids coming into contact with my mouth/tongue/throat on March 30, 2011. The only complaints I had prior to March 30,2011, was the bad taste/smell in the vaginal area, which, due to negative pap smears and pelvic exams, I have had to suffer in silence and deal with since 2002. I am most concerned now more than ever, because my entire body is now affected.

I have complained to numerous general doctors and an obgyn since 2002, up until now, about the bad taste/smell of my vagina and my tests have always come back normal. No yeast infection, no bacterial vaginosis, no nothing except for genital herpes as of December 2005. One doctor even told me that the bad vaginal taste and smell was my own natural scent/taste and to just live with it. I know that this is not true because I never tasted or smelled of dirt/metal/perfume until some time in 2002.

You stated that I need to have a blood screening for sepsis done to rule out any infectious causes...Would this type of testing be any different from a routine blood work up that I have had done 3 times in the month of April 2011 alone.

Is it possible to have some type of infection in my body/vagina/blood/tissues/nerves that just flies under the radar and cannot be picked up by any routine test?

The only infection/virus that has been detected in my vagina since December 2005 was the herpes simplex 2. I visit the doctor every year to have routine pap smears and pelvic exams performed once a year and sometimes twice a year. Even with the bad vaginal taste/smell, the test have never been able to pick up any other infection/disease/virus except for the herpes simplex 2 and as far as I know, herpes does not cause a bad smell or taste and I had the bad vaginal taste/smell since 2002 and did not catch herpes until some time in 2005.

Can you please give me any additional advice?

As of the last response I received from you, I know that I need to ask my primary care doctor for another throat culture (is there a specific throat culture that I need to ask for or are all throat cultures the same), a blood screening for sepsis, a neurological exam, another physical (just had a physical on April 19,2011), and a vaginal culture consisting of a pap smear and a pelvic exam. Is there any other type of testing that I need to ask for or anything else I need to be mentioning to my doctor besides a list of all of my symptoms and the testing you've already recommended? Do I need to see an Infectious Disease Specialist, because so far, whatever I have going on vaginally (and now systemically as of March 30, 2011), has not been able to be detected or diagnosed via conventional blood work ups and routine pap smears and pelvic exams.

I am so worried that due to past pap smear/vaginal cultures/pelvic exams, they will not be able to find/detect anything and will send me on my merry little way having to deal with these symptoms for the rest of my life. The whole body tingling, the problems I am having with my mouth and tongue and the persistent cough are my main concerns.

Again, I want to thank you for taking the time out to address all of my health care needs. I am so very appreciative of the important and valuable information that you have shared with me.

Thank you so much for trying to help me. :)

P.S. My vitamin d level is 9. According to Dr. Oz (a well known medical doctor, tv show host, book author) the normal level is 32. I asked the medical assistant at my doctor's office when I called yesterday about my level 9 vitamin d level and she stated that I do not have hypocalcemia. Wouldn't anything lower than a 32 be considered hypocalcemic??? I suspect that I have been vitamin d deficient for quite some time (the doctor finally tested my vitamin d level on April 19,2011), and although vitamin d deficiency can cause tingling, I don't think it has anything to do with my systemic tingling as I have never had systemic tingling prior to March 30, 2011. Thanks Again :)
Answered by Dr. Sunil.N 15 hours later
Hi again,

Thanks for your follow up,

Let me answer your doubts in sequence ,

1)Is anaerobic bacterias the same as bacterial vaginosis?

Yes, anaerobic bacterias can cause bacterial vaginosis. The antibiotics you were put on could have been of low sensitivity against the bacteria involved.
The throat cultures and subsequent antibiotic sensitivity test would help in arriving at a specific treatment for the same and treat the condition completely if that is the chance.

2)You stated that I need to have a blood screening for sepsis done to rule out any infectious causes...Would this type of testing be any different from a routine blood work ...

Its a completely different test which also take the complete blood count into account. It mainly includes blood culture tests where the samples are taken at different intervals.

3)Is it possible to have some type of infection in my body/vagina/blood/tissues/nerves that just flies under the radar and cannot be picked up by any routine test?

yes, there are many infections which do escape tests specially chronic bacterial infections and viral infections.

4)Hypocalcemia is a secondary effect of low Vit D levels, since the levels in you are considerably low i do consider a need for the serum calcium levels to be checked .Though its rare for hypocalcemia to cause tingling sensation well, its a considerable chance.The symptoms may not be evident soon after the disease process begins , there is threshold for tolerance after crossing which one can start showing symptoms.

Hope i answered your query completely,

Wishing you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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