A service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control



Answered Questions

In the years since SmartSexResource launched, we have developed a library of questions asked by you, and answered by our expert sexual health nurses.

Our answered questions library cover a broad range of sexual health topics and common questions we hear at our clinics.

Your Body (31)

What couses the smell in the urine


Thanks for your question.

Urine is a mix of water and waste products from the body. It’s usually the waste products in the urine that create the smell. The smell most often associated with urine is ammonia.

Changes to urine smell:

There are some normal things that can affect the small of the urine – for example, if a person is dehydrated (low in water) then their urine will be more concentrated and smell stronger. Also certain foods (such as asparagus) can change the smell of the urine.

Some changes to the urine smell can indicate that there is an infection or other health issue – for example, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, fistulas between the bowels and bladder, and/or metabolic diseases like diabetes.

If you are aware of a change in the smell of your urine we would recommend consulting a healthcare professional. Changes in urine smell caused by infection or disease can become dangerous if not treated or monitored properly.

Please let us know if this answers your question or if you need any more information.

Health Nurse

Does Hiv Cause Lactose Intolerancy? I am not talking about due to hiv medications, just about Hiv ItselfZ


A large percentage of people with HIV seem to become lactose intolerant. This happens because the HIV infection changes the structure of the gut wall, resulting in a decreased lactase level. Lactase is an enzyme which is needed to break down lactose.

Lactose intolerance can also be caused by different conditions or even genetics. For example, can be common for people that are lactose intolerant as adults to have African or Asian ancestors.

Living with HIV can make it a challenge to get proper nutrition, let us know if you need any additional information for yourself or someone else in regard to HIV and nutrition.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

my pennis is always straight mode when i m alone/,kindly give the suggestion

Hi, thanks for writing.

Without knowing more details about your situation I can’t give any specific suggestions, but I can give some general information.

The penis can become erect (“straight” or “hard”) at any time, whether you are with another person or alone. Erection can be caused by sexual arousal, but not always, and it’s normal to have spontaneous erections.

Some erections are caused by varying hormone levels. For example, some people experience higher levels of testosterone in the morning and can wake-up with an erection. This type of erection is not caused by sexual stimulation, but by an increased level of the testosterone hormone. These erections are normal, and can occur at different times of the day for different people, and can also vary in frequency over an individual’s lifetime.

Hope this helps! Please feel free to leave a comment or ask another question if needed.

Health Nurse

I have a question regarding a sex issue. I am a 39 year old female and ovulating. I was about to climax during intercouse of the vagina with my boyfriend and white mucous came out of my anus. I had been more randy than usual and fit him a bit looser, he thinkis that I cheated but there’s no possible way I would ever cheat, we just got engaged. My body is doing different things than normal females. What could this be?


It is difficult to say what is going on without getting some more information about your personal situation. What I can do is give you some general information on what could be going on and what to do next.

It is possible that from being aroused that you actually produced more white mucous from the vagina and it just ran down to the anus, so the fluid came from the vagina instead of the anus. Could this have happened?

I have also spoken with clients who have had sex and thought that they were having vaginal sex, but when they finished realised they were having anal sex. Could this have happened? In this case the white mucous could be semen (cum) from your partner.

The other thing it could be is rectal fluid, which is mucous that lines the rectum, it helps protect the rectum and acts like a lubricant to help when we have bowel movements. This amount of mucus can increase if the area is stimulated e.g. when having anal sex. If you were having vaginal sex this can also happen, as the vaginal wall is close to the rectum and I could see how vaginal sex could stimulate the rectum and produce more rectal mucous than normal which then came out your anus.

We are always concerned that discharge from the anus could be a sign of a STI or other medical concern, but as you have seen there are other things that can cause this as well. I would recommend going to see a health professional for a checkup, you would be able to discuss your personal situation with them just to make sure your experience is not related to anything to be concerned about.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

I am 21 years old, and for as long as I can remember I have been terrified of inserting things inside my vagina. I have never had sex, used a tampon or even been able to insert a finger because I’m afraid it will hurt so bad. Is there any way for me to get over this fear and do I need counselling of some sort to get past this. I did some research and discovered a condition called vaginismus and I think I may have it?


Vaginismus is when a woman gets involuntary tightening of the muscles around the vagina whenever penetration is attempted. This can make it painful to insert anything into the vagina and very frustrating for the person mentally.

Vaginismus is common and can be treated. There are a number of different reasons why this can happen e.g. past experiences, physical conditions, psychological concerns etc…

Like you have suggested counselling can be very beneficial, I would recommend seeing a counsellor that specializes in sexual health. If the cause of your concern is mainly psychological they would be able to work out a treatment program for you. Even if it is a physical condition that is causing the problem they would be able to offer you support during the process.

The first thing you would need to do is to see a health professional about this so that they could do an assessment to see what could be causing the problem. Visiting your family doctor would be a good start. Many cities have specialist that your doctor could refer you to for a detailed assessment and treatment plan.

We know that for many people it can be embarrassing talking to health professionals about sexual health matters. Just remember that the concern you have described is common and there are health professionals trained to deal with this.

I am not sure what area you live in, but if you are in BC Canada and would like assistance finding a health professional who can assist you, just send us a private question. All your information is confidential and we could assist with finding a health professional for you.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

Hi, recently my girlfriend and I had a bit of a breakup. Lasted from Thursday night to Sunday night. I love her, I have no reason to not trust her. Until now….but I’m not sure. On Sunday we had sex. Unprotected(IUD) like normal. Monday morning I noticed her underwear on the bathroom floor from the day before ( prior to sex) was coated in a white discharge. I’ve noticed this before on days after her and I had sex. I always thought it was my semen coming out of her and was normal.My question would be, how long does this discharge occur? And is it semen? I don’t know whether to question it or forget about it. We wouldn’t have had sex since Wednesday yet her underwear looks like we had sex Saturday. Please help, my mind is going crazy.

Hi there,

Thanks for your question. 

The discharge that you noticed on her underwear is completely normal and occurs regularly for women, even if they are not having sex at all. 

The vagina and cervix produce fluid regularly as a house-keeping mechanism to help cleanse the vagina and prevent infections. The amount and consistency changes throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. It’s normal for a woman to regularly have some white discharge on her underwear. I am not able to say how long the discharge occurs because every woman is different and it changes throughout her lifetime. 

I hope this has helped.

Health Nurse


Hello, I have these very small spots only visible when I pull back my foreskin on the under side and some days I can hardly even see them. Went to Dr and said they were normal, I did not ask what they could be though. Should I get a second opinion to be safe? Would a dermatologist be best to see for this?

Hi there,

Thanks for your question, I’m sure there are some other folks who are wondering the same thing.

What I believe you’re describing is what is called pearly penile papules also known as Hirsuties coronae glandis. They are found on the sulcus or corona of the glans (the ridge-like base of the head of the penis or the neck of the penis). They look like small dome or thread-like projections or bumps that go around the underside of the penis head in one or more rows. The papules are completely normal, common to have and are at no risk to your health.

As sexual health practitioners, we see these a lot and they are very easy to identify. If this all sounds like what you have, you can be confident in the doctor’s assessment and reassurance. The papules shouldn’t cause any pain, dysfunction or open sores. If you have any symptoms, you could visit the doctor for that.

Thanks again for your question. I hope this has helped.

Health Nurse.

My boyfriend and I got treated for chlamydia a week ago. I had this symptoms just like when you have a yeast infection. My down there was extremely itchy (I would scratch it here and there as the itchiness were unbearable), had a burning sensation and was secreting white cottage like things. It was one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. I’ve felt better for the past couple days and plus our 7 day treatment is done. But why do I still feel burning discomfort during intercourse? Is it that I’m not cured yet or could it have been from the scratching that I did and maybe my vagina needed some time to heal?

Hi there,

Thanks for your question. I’m sorry to hear you have felt so uncomfortable lately.

The symptoms you’re describing do sound a lot like a yeast infection. In women, symptoms include vaginal itchiness, dryness, pain and increased discharge that can be thick and looks somewhat like cottage cheese. It is very common to feel discomfort in your vagina during intercourse as well as on your vulva (the outer genital area) when you have a yeast infection.

Please take a look at the information about Yeast from our A-Z Topics:


The main information about treatment from that page includes, “Treatment options for yeast include creams or tablets that are inserted into the vagina, creams that can be used on the skin in both men and women, and pills that can be taken by mouth. In BC, treatments can be bought at the pharmacy and a prescription is not needed.”

I would recommend trying some yeast treatment, more specifically the vaginal insert options, you can buy yourself at the pharmacy. You can also use the topical cream on your vulva (outer genital area) to relieve the itchiness and discomfort. You might find you experience some relief of your symptoms very quickly. If you do not find relief, I would encourage you to see your family doctor or visit a walk in clinic to have them assess you.

I hope this information helps and you find relief soon.


Health Nurse

So guys masturbating daily ain’t anything new these days but me i orgasm in my pants and mainly in my boxers and never really make an effort to clean my self up but yeah is it healthy and may I get females answer please more comfortable with hers than his


I am not really sure what question you’re asking so I can’t give any specific information, but I can give you some general information related to the topics you have written about. Let us know if this information doesn’t answer your question.

Masturbating is normal and healthy; doing it on a daily basis is not a problem. Masturbation could become a problem if it happens so regularly that your unable to do other things in life like go to work or school, socialise with friends or family etc… Masturbation could also be a problem if it involves doing something illegal e.g. masturbating in public.

I am not sure if this is happening to you, but I have met some men who report ejaculating in their pants when they don’t want to. They have said that this was happening usually during a stress/anxiety response they found themselves in e.g. while doing an exam. This is different than when a guy has a wet dream at night. If this is happening to you it would be worth talking to a health care professional about the situation that made this happen.

In terms of general genital hygiene it’s good to wash the genitals with a mild soap and warm water each day. You have to be careful not to wash the genital too much especially with any harsh soap. With uncircumcised men you need to wash under the foreskin as well, you can just use warm water for this or some men will use a small amount of mild soap if it does not irritate them. In terms of hygiene after ejaculating it would be good to rinse with warm water or wipe the extra moisture away. Some people can develop genital rashes and conditions if the genitals are not dried properly, especially under the foreskin. 

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

I had semen squirt into my eye yesterday. I immediately used a salt and hot water to wash it out of my eye and within a few hours the redness in my eye disappeared. However, after waking up this morning there is still a slight redness in my eye and a watery film on the inner corner of my eye. Should i get this checked out at a clinic?

Hi and thanks for your question.  Semen can be quite irritating to the eye and it sounds like you rinsed it out immediately which is what would be advised in this situation.  It is definitely possible for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea to be transmitted to your eye this way.  If infected, the eye would usually remain red and develop a discharge. Antibiotic treatment would be needed.  If your symptoms do not resolve and/or you are concerned about the possibility of infection, then having it checked out at a clinic would be advisable. Health Nurse