Dr Kedar Phadte
Allergica at 16 years was clearly itched with me. “You said it’s not a gynaecological problem doctor and sent me to a dermatologist. After getting relief for a month now, not only is my genital inflamed, but my periods have also gone haywire,” shouted Allergica.
During her previous consultation I had noticed a distinct urticarial reaction she had on her vulva and inner thighs and groin.
Generally, a vulvar urticaria is related to some vaginal discharge, often fungal. At other times we have even noticed allergies to instruments used for masturbation.
Allergica had none of these; internal examination of the vagina was not possible as she was a virgin with a tight introitus. There was no discharge at all. No sexual interference or instrument use was noted.
Light was thrown on the problem when her friend Scratcherita who accompanied her said: “Doctor, I had a terrible allergy to the brassiere. It would not go off until I changed to the non synthetic variety”.
The thought of under garments resulting in an allergy of such extensive nature had eluded my Betz cells. Having little knowledge, I decided to ask Scratcherita more about it. She said: “Doctor, there is a variety of lingerie available across the globe. It starts with Thongs/G- strings appropriate for bodycon dresses and skirts or tight fitting pants or shorts. There are seamless panties shapewear, stick on or backless bras, seamless bras, Pushup bras, Low cut bras, nipple tape and so an as so forth.”
My allergy started due to the ‘dig’ the wire took at the lower junction of my breasts where the wire brassiere cut through. I developed a fungal and bacterial infection that wouldn’t subside. By now Scratcherita was very informative.
My doctor’s treated me with soothing items from zinc oxide, to lacto calamine and anti fungal so steroid creams. Oral antifungal to oral steroids as well. These in turn sent my menstrual periods on a toss, besides making me put on weight.
However, the putting on of weight indirectly helped me. My bra size changed and Mom got me a cotton wear. The allergy and infection simply disappeared. Little did I realise that the microbes were alive in my wired bras all the time and re-infected me when worn again.
Lingerie says Wikipedia is a category of women’s clothing that include undergarments, sleepwear and lightweight clothes. They are nice, made alluring or fashionable or both.
Lingerie is made of lightweight steady smooth, sheer or decorative fabrics such as silk, satin Lycra, charmeuse, chiffon or lace. These can be made of natural fibres such as silk or cotton, or of synthetic fibres like polyester or nylon.
Lady Duff-Gordon of Lucile was a pioneer in developing lingerie that freed women from more restrictive corsets way back in late nineteenth century.
Leaving my existence aside, Allergica turned to Scratcherita and asked “Hey, scratch, do you think my allergy could be due to the synthetic garments I wear? And maybe my periods changed due to the steroids (taken)?” “Of course” was her prompt answer.
And how long did it take for your allergy to disappear asked Allergica. Scratcherita was prompt. Within two weeks of change, plus a little clotrimazole and Beclo cream and I was through. Allergica turned to me and said: “Doc, I think I have found my solutions from Dr Scratch; we will take your leave now thank you.”
“Sure,” I said “That will be `300.” To which she said: “May I use this for a treat between me and Dr Scratch today? There isn’t much that you have told me today anyway!”
(Columnist is a well-known gynaecologist practising in Panaji. Send in your queries to email@example.com)