About 30 different bacteria, parasites and viruses can trigger STIs. Usually STIs and STDs are spread by sex but some infections can also be passed by non-sexual interaction with contaminated blood and textiles, during labor or breastfeeding.
About 50% of sexually active people get an STD or STI at least once throughout life. STDs can be passed due to oral, anal and vaginal coitus along with genital touching. However, the good news is that these infections are manageable and avoidable.
STD symptoms can often be unobvious. Having this in mind, you should undergo a health checkup if you consider yourself subject to the risk of catching an STI.
However, some discernible symptoms may indicate an infection:
- Painful urination
- Burning when urinating
- Lower tummy pain
- Genital discharge of different kind
- Painful intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- Painful motions
- Anal itching
Some bacterial STDs are quite easy to treat with the help of medications approved by your doctor, given that the treatment begins on early stages of disease. It is crucial not to try to treat the disease yourself as STDs are contagious and quite serious conditions may follow when not treated properly.
Moreover, it is of paramount importance that you undergo a cure until the end even if the symptoms disappear.
In the vast majority of cases, your sex partners also have to undergo the treatment regardless of the presence of any symptoms.
The most important thing to do is to get yourself tested in order to reveal a disease as early as possible. If an STD remains untreated, it raises up the risk of acquiring other infections such as HIV.
Moreover, some untreated STDs can result in infertility.
Some viral STDs cannot be cured; however, their symptoms can be managed with appropriate medications.
If you have only one intimate partner who is uninfected, it can significantly reduce your risk for STDs. Reducing the number of sexual partners can also help to avoid the infection.
Other recommendations comprise:
- Correct and consistent latex condoms use. You should use the condom during each intercourse (oral, vaginal or anal);
- Escape sharing towels or underwear;
- Wash up before and after intercourse;
- Get vaccinated for hepatitis B;
- Do away with taking drugs and misusing alcohol because it increases the risk of unprotected sex.
STDs and Pregnancy
If you have an STD, it can pose serious health problems for your baby as well. Such diseases as HIV, Hepatitis B or Syphilis can normally be revealed after a screening at the first prenatal visit. Pregnant women being at risk of the diseases like gonorrhea should also be tested at least once during pregnancy. Moreover, as some of STDs are asymptomatic, regular testing during pregnancy is of high importance.
Sexually transmitted infections can cause the following complications:
HIV and Hepatitis B can pass to the babies. However, some measures can be implemented to reduce the risk of the disease transmission.
Hepatitis C, Chlamydia, Syphilis and Gonorrhea can cause miscarriage, preterm labor, stillbirth and low birth weight.