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Understanding 3 Common STDs

As the name suggests, sexually transmitted diseases are contracted through various types of sexual contact. Whether vaginally, anally, orally, and even through contact with your hands, these diseases can easily be passed from one person to another. While shocking to learn, millions of new sexually transmitted infections occur each year in the United States. 

Therefore, understanding a few of the most common STDs is smart for your own health and wellness. Here are a few common STDs you need to know and understand. 

HPV

HPV, or the human papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted infection. 

In most patients, HPV causes genital warts, which can be both unappealing and uncomfortable. In women, the warts may form on the vulva or even cervix. Men who have HPV may develop warts on the penis or scrotum. 

HPV can also lead to cancer, making the STD quite dangerous if not diagnosed and treated. Patients who have certain strains of HPV will have an increased risk of developing cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, penis, and even different areas of the throat. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for HPV. Treatment, removal of the warts using cryotherapy, electrocautery, lasers, and surgical means is possible, but the underlying virus will remain in your body.  

Prevention is your best weapon against HPV, so always use protection when engaging in sexual activity. In addition, talk to your doctor about receiving the HPV vaccine. 

Chlamydia

Caused by bacteria, chlamydia is another common disease transmitted through sexual activity. The bacteria may be spread vaginally, anally, or orally. In some cases, patients have contracted chlamydia through touching only. 

Symptoms of this STD vary from person to person. Most people do not even show symptoms during the early stages. As the bacteria spreads, chlamydia can cause the following: 

  • Yellowish green vaginal or penile discharge 
  • Painful, burning sensation during urination 
  • Pain during intercourse 
  • Abdominal pain 

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, schedule an STD screening immediately. Although not a life-threatening condition, chlamydia is an infection that will continue to spread. 

Without treatment, chlamydia can lead to PID, a more severe infection that causes permanent damage to the cervix, uterus, and ovaries. Infertility is also a possibility. 

In men, untreated chlamydia can cause severe inflammation of the epididymis and infections of the prostate gland. 

Treatment will involve prescription antibiotics to kill the bacteria and stop the infection from spreading. If caught and treated early, your symptoms will improve quickly. 

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is another type of sexually transmitted infection that stems from bacteria. The infection can affect the cervix, urethra, throat, and rectum. 

Many people are currently living with gonorrhea without even realizing it because the STD may or may not cause symptoms. Once symptoms do display themselves, they can be quite painful because the infection has become more severe. 

Symptoms of gonorrhea include painful urination, discharge, and uncomfortable swelling in the testicle in men. Women may experience painful urination and intercourse, vaginal discharge, bleeding during and after intercourse, and abdominal pain. 

These symptoms are similar to the symptoms of chlamydia, but the STDs are caused by two different types of bacteria, so treating one will require a different type of antibiotic. 

If left untreated, gonorrhea can also cause complications. The infection can permanently damage the uterus, fallopian tubes in women and a male’s testicles. This damage can also lead fertility problems. 

Surprisingly, the infection can spread into the joints. Many patients with gonorrhea have long-term stiffness, pain, and immobility of their joints because they did not receive efficient and effective treatment. 

STDs can affect not only your health, but also your emotional wellness. For more information on STDs or to schedule a screening, contact Family Medicine Walk-In Center today.