Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are infections that can be transferred from one person to another through sexual contact.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) affect millions of men and women each year.
- Anyone can become infected through sexual intercourse with an infected person.
- Many of those infected are teenagers or young adults.
- Changing sexual partners adds to the risk of becoming infected.
- Sometimes, early in the infection, there may be no symptoms, or symptoms may be easily confused with other illnesses.
Several symptoms can indicate the possibility of a sexually transmitted disease. If you experience any of these symptoms see your health care provider as soon as possible.
- Unusual vaginal discharge, or any discharge from the rectum or penis.
- Painful intercourse.
- Burning or discomfort during urination.
- Unusual pain or discomfort in the abdomen in women or the testicles in men. Also be aware of any unusual pain in both the buttocks and legs.
- Swelling, blisters, open sores, warts, or a rash in the genital area, on the sexual organs, or in the mouth.
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever, headach, aching muscles, or swollen glands.
Although just having these symptoms does not mean they are caused by a sexually transmitted disease, these symptoms do indicate a potential infection.
Several potential health risks are associated with sexually transmitted diseases or STDs. These include:
- Ectopic or tubal pregnancies which can be fatal to the mother and are always fatal to the unborn baby.
- Babies born to women with sexually transmitted diseases may suffer death or severe damage as a result of the mother's STD.
- Cervical cancer is almost always caused by an STD called the human pappilloma virus or HPV.
- Sometimes sexually transmitted diseases cause damage to other organs including the heart, kidneys, and brain.
- The sad fact is that certain STDS such as HIV or AIDS are eventually fatal.
A partial listing of sexually transmitted diseases
- Chlamydia - Chlamydia is a very dangerous STD as it usually has no symptoms; 75 per cent of infected women and 25 per cent of infected men have no symptoms at all.
- Gonorrhea - Gonorrhea is one of the most frequently reported STD. 40 per cent of it's victims contract PID if not treated, and it can cause sterility.
- Hepatitis B - A vaccine exists, but there's no cure; can cause cancer of the liver. · Herpes - Painful and episodic; can be treated but there's no cure.
- HIV/AIDS - First recognized in 1984, AIDS is the sixth leading cause of death among young men and women. The virus is fatal involving a long, painful death.
- Human Papalloma Virus (HPV) and Genital Warts - The most common STD, 33 per cent of all women have this virus, which can cause cervical or penile cancer and genital pain.
- Syphilis - Untreated, can lead to serious damage of the brain or heart.
- Trichomoniasis - Can cause foamy vaginal discharge or no symptoms at all. Can cause premature birth in pregnant women.
- Other STDs and related conditions.
Vaginal infections or vaginitis describe the most common medical concerns women have in the area of their reproductive organs. Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina that creates discharge, odor, irritation, or itching. It is difficult to diagnose because vaginitis has many causes. Women use a variety of over-the-counter medications to treat the itching, discharge, and discomfort of these conditions.
- The vagina creates its own environment and maintains a balance among the normal bacteria found there and the hormonal changes in a woman’s body. Vaginitis occurs when the vaginal ecosystem has been changed by certain medications such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptive preparations (oral and topical), douches, vaginal medication, sexual intercourse, sexually transmitted diseases, stress, and change in sexual partners.
- Some vaginal infections are transmitted through sexual contact, but others such as yeast infections probably are not. Vaginitis often is caused by infections, which create distress and discomfort. Some infections are associated with more serious diseases.
- The most common vaginal infections are these. Their causes are quite different, their symptoms similar, and treatment varies.
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Vaginal yeast infection
- Many women often mistakenly think they have a "yeast infection" and treat themselves when, in fact, they have a similar vaginal infection that will not respond to self-treatment with over-the-counter yeast medications.
- The important thing is not to guess but to recognize the symptoms if you develop a vaginal infection and see your health care provider for precise testing and to get the most appropriate and effective treatment right away.