I think I have MRSA near my vagina. I’m scared. What do I do?

bacteria in petri dishI recently discovered what seems to be MRSA near my vagina. I’m too scared to tell my mom and I don’t have insurance to go to the doctor. What do I do?

If you have a skin irritation near your vagina that looks like a boil or ingrown hair that’s red, swollen and/or draining pus, it could be caused from a staph infection. However, not all staph infections are MRSA infections, and it’s hard to know the bacteria responsible for the infection without seeing a health care provider. MRSA infections are not sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but some STIs can cause similar symptoms, so it can be tricky to know what’s going on. Your best bet is to tell your mom and see a health care provider. Your mom will likely understand and want to make sure you get the care you need. Most hospitals will not deny medical care to those who need it – regardless of whether or not you have insurance.

MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Only staph aureus infections that are resistant to certain antibiotics are called MRSA infections. These infections are very serious and if not properly treated MRSA infections can affect your blood, lungs, heart, bones, and joints.

Most of the time MRSA is spread by coming in contact with another person who has a skin infection or simply the things that the person has used, such as a towel or razor. Typically, MRSA is spread in hospitals and other health care facilities from person to person if equipment or surfaces that people come in contact with are not disinfected properly. Other common places MRSA can be spread is in gyms, dorms, daycare centers and other close living conditions.

The only way to diagnose MRSA is to have a health care provider (HCP) look at the affected skin or sore and send a sample of the pus or discharge to a lab. If the results show that you have a MRSA infection, your HCP will likely have you take a special antibiotic and if necessary, the sore will be drained.

It’s important NOT to treat yourself! This means you shouldn’t squeeze, pop or try to drain the sore or affected area. You also shouldn’t use disinfectants to clean it. The best thing you can do is to cover the area with a bandage, wash your hands well with soap and water, and see a health care provider.

The best way to prevent MRSA infections is to practice good hygiene:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water. When you can’t use soap and water, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  2. Make sure to take care of any cuts, scrapes or sore by keeping them clean and covered until they have healed
  3. Do NOT share personal items such as towels, or razors
  4. Never touch anyone’s wound or sore