Health & Fitness

STDs- Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis

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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are generally acquired by sexual contact. The bacteria, viruses, and parasites causing sexually transmitted diseases pass from person to person via semen, blood, or vaginal and other bodily fluids.

STDs can also be transmitted nonsexually from mothers to their infants during pregnancy and through blood transfusions or shared needles. These are serious diseases that need instant treatment. A few diseases like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cannot be treated and can be life-threatening without cure.

What are the types of STDs?

General types of sexually transmitted diseases are:

  • Genital herpes
  • Hepatitis B
  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomoniasis (sometimes called “trick”)
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea (sometimes called “clap”)
  • Genital warts
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Vaginitis

Symptoms of STD

They may not always cause symptoms. People can contract sexually transmitted infections from the patients who seem perfectly healthy and may not even know they have an infection.

It is important to get tested regularly when a patient is sexually active. Every one can have (and pass on) an STD without even knowing it. The CDC suggests a gonorrhea and chlamydia screen for people younger than 25.

The general symptoms of STD may include:

  • Genital symptoms
  • Vaginal bleeding but not period bleeding
  • Warts, bumps, sores or on or near the mouth, anus, penis, or vagina
  • Vaginal discharge of different color or amount than usual
  • Rashes, redness, swelling, or severe itching near the penis or vagina
  • Discharge from the penis.
  • Painful sex
  • Vaginal discharge with bad odor that can cause irritation

Other symptoms are:

  • Aches, pains, fever and chills
  • Skin rash
  • Weight loss, diarrhea, night sweats
  • Painful urination or frequent urination
  • Jaundice (paling of the skin and whiteness of the eyes)

Causes of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

All types of STDs are caused by the sexually transmitted infections. Such infections usually transmit by sexual contact, or through bodily fluids, skin contact via vaginal, oral, and anal sex. There are cases where some of them may never become a disease, particularly if treated, and they can even go away on their own.

However, if the pathogens that caused an infection end up destroying cells in the body and disrupting its functions, an STI will lead to an STD.

STDs occur when bacteria, viruses or parasites infect your body. STDs like syphilis can be passed to an unborn child. Some STDs can be present in an infected blood.

People must not worried about passing an STD through casual contact. Shaking hands or sharing a bathroom do not cause STDs.

Is an STD contagious?

Yes, it is contagious. People with an STD can pass it on through sexual contact. That’s why it’s critical to seek medical assistance and get treatment right away. Once the disease goes away, patient can resume his sex life.

What sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) testing like?

The STD test depends on the type of STD . Doctor usually talks to patient about what tests he/she needs. STD testing may include:

  • Cheek swab
  • Blood test
  • Urine test
  • Examination of the genital area
  • Testing discharge or cell samples from the body (usually the vagina, urethra, cervix, penis, anus or throat).
  • Testing of a fluid sample from sores.

People after STD diagnosis may feel embarrassed or ashamed for treatment. It can happen to anyone — millions of people diagnose with STD daily. And most people typically get an STD at least once in their life. Consider reaching out to a friend, any loved one, or mental health professional for support if experiencing anxiety or stress about the STD diagnosis.

How to protect from STDs?

People must know about STDs. The more they know, the better they can protect themselves and their partners. Avoiding sex only can provide complete protection against STDs. But what to do if a person is sexually active?

Make sure to use a latex condom during any kind of sex. These condoms are extremely important when you have multiple sex partners.

Having sex with one person (monogamy) or limiting the number of sexual partners can decrease the risk of STDs. This is because each new partner raises the chances of catching an STD. People should select sex partners carefully. For healthy life it is important not to have sex if the other partner has an STI.

Checked for STIs regularly can also be helpful. It can help prevent spreading the infection to other people. Asking any new partner to get tested before having sex for the first time may minimize problems. Alcohol or drugs must be avoided before having sex. Drunk people when engage in risky sexual behaviors can lead to an STD.

It is important to learn the signs and symptoms of STDs. When notice symptoms, get treatment quickly.

How to diagnose sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

People who are sexually active should talk to their health care provider about risk for STDs. It is better to discuss whether patients needs to be tested. Specifically this is important since many STDs might not cause symptoms.

Some STDs may be diagnosed by blood tests. A physical exam or microscopic examination of a sore or fluid swabbed from the vagina, penis, or anus can diagnose other types of STDs.

Risk factors

Factors that can increase risk of STD are:

  • Unprotected sex. If an infected partner penetrates vaginal or anal and isn’t wearing a latex condom, it will significantly increase the risk of getting an STD. Improper or inconsistent condoms use can also increase risk.
  • Sexual contact with multiple partners. The sexual contact with more people raises the risk of STD.
  • A history of STDs. Having one STD may make it much easier for another STD to take hold.
  • Excessive use of alcohol and recreational drugs. Alcohol misuse can make you more willing to participate in risky behaviors.
  • Injecting drugs. Needle sharing can cause many serious infections, such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
  • Being young. Half the new STDs take place in people between the ages of 15 and 24.
  • Being forced in a sexual activity. While dealing with rape or assault, a person can acquire STD. It is difficult but important to see a doctor to receive screening, treatment, and emotional support.
  • Oral sex may prove less complicated. Infections can still transmit without a latex condom or a dental dam.

Complications

Many people during the early stages of an STD usually experience no symptoms. That’s why screening for STDs is important to prevent complications.

Possible complications may occur, like:

  • Eye inflammation
  • Infertility
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Certain cancers, like HPV-associated cervical and rectal cancers

When to see a doctor

Consult a doctor immediately if you are sexually active. See your doctor if you have been exposed to an STD and you have signs and symptoms of an STD.

Instantly make an appointment with a doctor when you’re considering becoming sexually active.  Make a short call to your doctor before you start having sex with a new partner.

Also Read: Top 10 Diseases In The World 

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