Adventures under the sheets are part of nature’s gifts to be explored, but this can quickly expose you to several infections if much attention is not given to your sexual health.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (S.T.I.s) are usually spread through unprotected sexual contact with an infected individual. However, it is essential to say that there are S.T.I.s that can be spread through non-sexual contact or from a mother to her child during pregnancy or childbirth.
Symptoms can sometimes manifest in various uncomfortable and painful ways. Depending on the kind of infection, it may take days, weeks, or even months for symptoms to appear. However, some infected persons do not experience apparent symptoms, while others may experience mild symptoms that might go unnoticed.
Here are some of the most common S.T.I.s and the symptoms to watch out for:
Genital Herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), and the symptoms may include
- Pain or itching in the genital areas
- Small red or white blisters in the genital region
- Ulcers around the mouth or genital area
- Pain in the back, buttocks or legs
- Swollen lymph nodes
Genital Herpes has no cure, but there are treatments to prevent or reduce the outbreak of sores and blisters.
Trichomoniasis, commonly known as Trich, is one of the most common S.T.I.s. It is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. Symptoms may include
- Foul discharge from the vagina
- Inflammation of the vagina/vulva
- Genital itching
- Painful urination
Trichomoniasis can be treated easily with antibiotics.
Gonorrhoea is an infection caused by the bacterium called Neisseira gonorrhoea. It affects areas like the urethra, eyes, throat, anus, vagina and the female reproductive tract.
- Increased frequency of urination
- Abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina
- Redness or swelling at the penis opening
- Sore throat
- Painful sexual intercourse in women
- Sharp abdominal pain
Gonorrhoea infections can be cured completely using antibiotics
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by a virus called the Hepatitis B virus. The symptoms may vary, and they include
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Yellow skin and eyes
- Dark coloured urine
Full recovery from Hepatitis B is possible with proper treatment.
Syphilis is a common S.T.I. that is caused by bacteria. There are various stages in the development of this disease, and symptoms vary with each stage.
The first stage is characterised by the appearance of a painless sore on the genitals, rectum, or mouth. This is followed by a rash, after which there are no symptoms. The final stage may occur years later and can cause nerve or brain damage or damage to organs like the heart or the eyes. Syphilis can be treated and cured with antibiotics.
Chlamydia is an infection caused by bacteria. It is spread by unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex. It can also be transmitted from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy or childbirth. Chlamydia may present symptoms like
- Pain in the vagina or testicle
- Discharge from the penis or vagina
- Pain during urination or sexual intercourse
- Abdominal pain
Chlamydia can easily be cured using antibiotics.
Pelvic Inflammatory disease (P.I.D.)
P.I.D. is an infection of the female reproductive organs resulting from a spread of sexually transmitted bacteria from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. Symptoms may include
- Pain in the abdomen, pelvic region, lower back and vulva
- Vaginal discharge or odour
- Leg cramps
- Painful sex or urination
P.I.D. can be treated to rid the body of the infection causing the disease.
Many S.T.I.s have similar symptoms making them almost impossible to identify or differentiate without a proper diagnosis by a doctor. If you have any of these symptoms, book an appointment to talk to a doctor.
Prevention of S.T.I.s
The spread of S.T.I.s can be prevented by:
- Refraining from having multiple sexual partners: Since S.T.I.s are majorly spread through sex, it is advisable to abstain from having unprotected sex, especially with multiple partners.
- Vaccination: A few S.T.I.s like hepatitis B and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) have vaccines that can be taken to prevent infection.
- Using condoms: The use of condoms consistently and correctly can significantly reduce one’s risk of getting infected with an S.T.I.
- Complete Abstinence: Total abstinence from sex remains the most effective protection method from S.T.D.s or S.T.I.
- Getting tested regularly: Regular testing and knowing your S.T.I. status reduces the risk of transmitting an S.T.I. to a sexual partner.
If you are showing any S.T.I. symptoms, please talk to your partner and a doctor on Doctall. Also, ensure to get tested; it is the only way to know if you have an S.T.D. and take your treatment seriously- untreated S.T.I.s can lead to complicated health problems.