Sexually transmitted diseases(STDs) are of global concern because of the health complications they present and several people who live with these infections are usually asymptomatic until they spread the disease. The symptoms of STDs varies by gender , age and period of exposure to the infection. Today’s article will be focused on the meaning of sexually transmitted diseases, their types, symptoms and possible preventions.
What is Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
Sexual transmitted diseases are infections that are spread by having unprotected vagina, anal or oral sex with someone that is infected with the disease. It can also be referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STDs are not only transmitted through sexual intercourse, depending on the infection they can also be transmitted through blood transfusion , needles and from mother to child through breastfeeding and birth.
Types of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
There are various kinds of sexually transmitted diseases based on the disease-causing organism and they include;
- HIV & AIDS
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Crabs/ Public lice
These articles will explain more about the symptoms , prevention and treatment of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae
and spread through sexual intercourse with a person that has the infection, it can also be spread from mother to child during birth. Gonorrhea infections target the urethra and rectum in men, and cervix in women, it can also affects the eyes of infants.
Symptoms of Gonorrhea
The symptoms of gonorrhea varies based on the site of infection in the body and gender.
Symptoms of gonorrhea infections in men
The presence of gonorrhea infections in men present the following symptoms
- Swollen testicles
- Burning sensation during urination
- Yellow and whitish discharge from the penis
Symptoms of gonorrhea infections in women
Most of the women that are affected with gonorrhea do not usually show symptoms but the symptoms that are exhibited by others include:
- Painful urination
- Abdominal cramp
- Over bleeding during menstruation
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Painful sexual intercourse
Based on the site of infection, the following are the signs and symptoms of gonorrhea diseases.
- Rectum: the symptoms of infection include discharge, bleeding, soreness and itching.
- Eyes: when Neisseria gonorrhoeae infects the eyes it causes eye defect such as pus discharge, blur sight and trachoma
- Skin: Skin rashes and itching
- Joint: Joint pains, Swelling and arthritis
Syphilis is another kind of sexually transmitted disease and could present a very serious health condition if not properly given a medical attention and treatment at early stage of infection. Syphilis is caused by the bacteria called Treponema pallidum and it is spread through sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, sharing of needles, syringes and also from mother to child during pregnancy.
Symptoms of syphilis infections
The symptoms of syphilis varies and depends on the stage of infection and could spread to other parts of the body and cause serious health complications if not being treated at early stage.
The early stage of syphilis infection is characterized by the presence of a painless sore ( often called chancre) on the genital after 2-4 weeks of infection. This chancre appears on vulva vagina, anus, penis and scrotum then heals on its own after 4-6 weeks. Thereafter this infection progresses to another level and present more chronic condition if left untreated.
In this stage of infection rashes appear on the palm of the hand, sole of the feets and other parts of the body. Other symptoms that arise from this stage include weight loss, headache, fever, arthritis, sore throat and hair loss, these symptoms may last for 3-6 weeks and become persistent for years if not being treated.
The infection moves to another level and cause more serious damage to the health such as heart problem , blindness, impotence in men, stroke, meningitis, brain damage, liver damage and arthritis. The symptoms of syphilis can last for 8-20 years and the damages that are caused cannot be reversed or changed but the infections can still be treated with antibiotics.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the bacteria known as chlamydia trachomatis. It can be transmitted during unprotected sexual intercourse and from mother to child during birth. Eye defects that result from chlamydia infections can also be spread by sharing of infected towels with a person that has the disease.
Symptoms of chlamydia infections
Chlamydia infection present various symptoms in men and women and can also result into more serious complications if not treated earlier.
Symptoms of chlamydia infections in men
The symptoms of chlamydia infection in men include:
- Burning sensation during urination
- Presence of pain and swelling of testicles
- Abnormal discharge from the penis
Symptoms of chlamydia infections in women
- Cloudy or watery vaginal discharge
- Abdominal cramp especially after sex
- Bleeding and painful sex
- Burning sensation during urination
Other health conditions that arise from chlamydia infections include arthritis, trachoma and premature birth.
Symptoms of Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Sexually transmitted diseases are generally spread through sexual contact with an infected person and majority of people tend to show no symptoms at the early stage of infection, however STDs can present an irreversible health damage when they are not treated at primary level of exposure to the disease. The following are the general symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases;
- Thick, watery or bloody discharge from the vagina or penis
- Abdominal pain especially after sex in women
- Abnormal bleeding during menstruation
- Presence of skin rashes
- Painful urination
- Itching around the genital
- Lost of weight
- Lost of appetite
- Lost of hair
- Fatigue headache and fever
Diagnosis of Sexually transmitted diseases
The diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases are usually carried out by your doctor. He/she will start by asking about your sexual history and the symptoms you are experiencing. If your doctor suspect STDs based on your symptoms or sexual history he/she will order for your blood, urine or fluid sample and send it to The laboratory for confirmatory test.
Blood test can reveal if you have bacterial or viral STDs such as syphilis and HIV. Your urine sample can be used to screen and detect bacterial STDs. The fluid test are usually carried out to detect STDs when you have sores on your genitals.
Treatment of Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Sexually transmitted diseases can be treated and cured at early stage of infection but when they are left without being treated they can result into serious health conditions that cannot be changed. STDs that are caused by bacteria can be treated with different antibiotics while the one caused by virus can not be cured but can only be managed and suppressed.
Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs)
The following are effective ways of preventing sexually transmitted diseases:
- Practice safe sex: sexually transmitted diseases are usually spread through sexual contact, therefore it is important to correctly make use of latex condom before sex to avoid being infected. STDs such as gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV & AIDS and others can be effectively prevented by using latex condom correctly.
- Abstain from sex: avoiding sex is the most effective way of preventing sexually transmitted infections. If you are suspecting your partner of carrying an infection it is important that you both visit the clinic for confirmatory test before engaging in sex so as to lower your risk of being infected with the disease.
- Avoid multiple sex partners: engaging in sex with different people/partner can double your risk of sexually transmitted diseases. If you have problem with your current relationship, call the attention of your partner, settle your differences and unite as one. Sticking to me a partner is one of the best safety measures against sexually is one of the best safety measures against sexually transmitted infections.
- Avoid drug abuse: when you are under the influence of alcohol, Indian hemp, cocaine and heroin you may be pushed to engage in unprotected sex and this can increase your risk of contracting infections.
- Avoid sharing sex toys: it is important to acknowledge that you can also contract STDs from sharing sex toys especially in women. Direct genital contact with sex toys that have been used by an infected person can higher your risk of contracting STDs. Therefore avoid sharing sex toys and get protected.
- Get vaccinated: vaccination is getting immuned infections and it is one of the best safety measures against STDs. Currently vaccines are only available for hepatitis A, hepatitis b and human papillomavirus. The vaccines for the STDs are still under development.
- Perform hand hygiene before and after sexual intercourse
- Seek medical test in every new relationship: it is important to visit the clinic with your new partner for medical check-up in other screen sexually transmitted disease so as to know your status and get protect against infections.