Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are infections that can be spread through sexual contact. Sexually transmitted infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Sexual contact can involve vaginal, anal, or oral sex, as well as genital touching. However, STIs can also be spread in ways other than sexual contact, such as from mother to baby during pregnancy or childbirth, or through blood transfusions or shared needles. It is important to note that not all STIs cause symptoms, and a person can be infected with an STI without even knowing it.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can have a range of symptoms, including no symptoms, which is why sexually transmitted infections may go unnoticed until a person has complications or a partner is diagnosed. Symptoms of STDs may appear a few days after exposure, but it may take years before any noticeable problems occur, depending on what’s causing the STI.
Some common symptoms of STDs include:
- Sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area.
- Painful or burning urination.
- Discharge from the penis.
- Unusual or odorous vaginal discharge.
- Unusual vaginal bleeding.
- Pain during sex.
- Sore, swollen lymph nodes, often found in the groin area but occasionally distributed throughout the body.
- Lower abdominal pain.
- Rash over the trunk, hands, or feet.
It is important to see a health care professional immediately if you are sexually active and may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection or if you have symptoms of an STI. It is recommended to make an appointment with a health care professional when considering becoming sexually active or by age 21, whichever comes first, or before starting to have sex with a new partner.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses. Examples of bacterial STDs include gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. Trichomoniasis is an STD caused by a parasite, while human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes simplex virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are examples of viral STDs.
Spread from Mothers to Infants
Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be passed from mother to infant during pregnancy or delivery. Examples of such STIs are gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, and syphilis. Infants born with STIs can suffer from serious problems or even death. Therefore, it is essential for all pregnant women to be screened for STI infections and treated accordingly.
It is important to note that some STIs can also be transmitted through breast milk. However, the benefits of breastfeeding generally outweigh the risks of transmission. In such cases, antiviral medications can be used to reduce the risk of transmission.
Preventing the spread of STIs from mothers to infants involves early detection, treatment, and follow-up care. Pregnant women who test positive for an STI should receive prompt treatment to prevent transmission to their infants. Additionally, infants born to mothers with STIs should receive appropriate testing and treatment as soon as possible.
Overall, it is crucial for pregnant women to receive regular prenatal care, including STI screening, to protect the health of both the mother and the infant.
Complications of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can arise if left untreated. These may include pelvic pain, pregnancy complications, eye inflammation, arthritis, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, heart disease, and certain cancers such as HPV-associated cervical and rectal cancers. Therefore, early screening is crucial to prevent these complications.
Various strategies can be employed to minimize the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The most effective way to avoid STDs is to avoid sex or sexual activity. However, if one chooses to engage in sexual activity, there are several ways to lower the risk of getting an STD.
Staying in a long-term relationship in which both partners have sex only with each other and neither partner is infected can be one way to avoid an STD. However, it is important to note that some STDs can be present without showing symptoms. Therefore, it is still important to get tested regularly.
Avoiding vaginal and anal sex or sexual activity with new partners until both partners have been tested for sexually transmitted infections is another way to lower the risk of getting an STD. Oral sex may be less risky, but STIs can still spread if a person doesn’t use a condom or a dental dam. These protective measures obstruct any direct contact between the oral and genital mucosal surfaces.
Getting vaccinated before engaging in sexual activity can be an effective means of preventing specific sexually transmitted infections. Vaccinations are accessible to safeguard against STIs stemming from human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteens ages 11 or 12 (or can start at age 9) and everyone through age 26, if not vaccinated already.
Using condoms and dental dams consistently and correctly is another way to lower the risk of getting an STD. Use a fresh latex or polyurethane condom or dental dam for every sexual encounter, whether it’s oral, vaginal, or anal. It’s important to note that non-barrier contraceptive methods like birth control pills or intrauterine devices (IUDs) do not offer protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Avoid the use of oil-based lubricants like petroleum jelly with latex condoms or dental dams, as they can compromise their effectiveness. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that these barrier methods provide reduced protection against STIs that involve visible genital sores, such as HPV or herpes.
It is important to avoid excessive alcohol consumption and illegal drug use, as being under the influence of these substances can lead to taking sexual risks.
Before any sexual contact, partners should talk about practicing safer sex. It is important to clearly agree on what activities will and won’t be OK.
Research indicates that male circumcision can reduce the risk of contracting HIV from an HIV-positive female partner by up to 60%. Furthermore, male circumcision may contribute to a decreased transmission rate of genital HPV and genital herpes.
Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication that can be taken daily to lower the risk of getting HIV. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two combination medicines, Truvada and Descovy, to lower the risk of HIV infection in people who are at very high risk. These medicines must be taken every day, exactly as prescribed.
According to the CDC, if one uses Truvada daily, they can lower their risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99%. And they can lower their risk of getting HIV from injection drug use by more than 74%. Studies suggest that Descovy is effective in reducing the risk of contracting HIV through sexual activity. However, it’s important to note that Descovy’s effectiveness has not been specifically examined in individuals engaging in receptive vaginal intercourse.
It is important to note that while these methods can lower the risk of getting an STD, they do not provide 100% protection. It is still important to get tested regularly and communicate with partners about safer sex practices.
Get the Best STDs Treatment at Stonexperts
At Stonexperts, we understand that seeking treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be a sensitive and sometimes daunting experience. That’s why we’ve designed our services to be compassionate, confidential, and highly effective.
Our team of experienced urologists and healthcare professionals is committed to providing you with the highest quality STD care. From accurate diagnosis to tailored treatment plans, we’re here to support you every step of the way. We believe that no one should have to compromise on their health or well-being, and that includes your sexual health.
At Stonexperts, you’ll find a safe and welcoming environment where your privacy is respected, and your concerns are taken seriously. Our advanced medical technologies and up-to-date knowledge ensure that you receive the most effective treatments available.
Don’t let the stigma or fear surrounding STDs prevent you from seeking help. With Stonexperts, you can regain control over your sexual health, enjoy peace of mind, and look forward to a healthier future. Your well-being is our priority, and we’re here to guide you toward a happier, healthier life.