STIs (sexually transmitted infections)
Symptoms and Treatment
Thrush is one of the few infections that can occur naturally as well as through sexual activity. Natural causes can be a reaction to certain antibiotics, deodorants, soaps etc. It can also occur as a result of wearing manmade fibre underwear or if the person is generally run down
Intense itching and discomfort, redness of the genital area, a thick cream or white coloured discharge which has an unpleasant odour.
Oral thrush can also occur if oral sex etc has taken place during the time of infection.
A sore mouth with a covering of white spots or blotches will occur
Over-the-counter creams, pessaries and oral tablets can be purchased at chemists or are available on prescription from your GP. If symptoms persist and you have bought your treatment from the chemist you should always get it checked by a doctor.
It is important to treat both the person showing symptoms and their partners etc to prevent re infection.
Crabs or Pubic Lice
Again this can be caught without sexual contact, activity etc. It is possible to catch pubic lice from sharing bedding, towels, clothes etc as well as from direct sexual activity
Itching, and small creatures in the pubic, underarm or indeed any body hair including eyebrows
A body wash lotion available from your GP.
Chlamydia is an STI that can have infected the body and be doing internal damage with no symptoms. If symptoms are present they usually manifest as a discharge of mucus or pus from the vagina or penis and lower abdominal pain in both males and females. At first these symptoms may appear to be very mild and often the infected person will disregard them and not seek medical help.
Chlamydia once diagnosed is easily treated with a course of antibiotics. If symptoms are still present after taking the full! course you should return to your doctor and be re-tested
In women untreated Chlamydia can lead to repeated pelvic inflammatory disease which in turn can lead to scarring of the fallopian tubes and infertility. Scarring of the fallopian tubes can also mean a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy (where the fertilised egg attaches to the wall of the fallopian tube instead of in the womb.) This means emergency surgery to remove the egg, as it is potentially fatal to the woman if untreated or even untreated early enough.
In men infection with Chlamydia can result in swelling of the scrotum area caused by inflammation of the epididymis. This can result in men becoming infertile also.
Chlamydia is easily diagnosed by taking a small sample of the discharge or a small swab. It is recommended that everyone that has had more than one sexual partner should be tested if they have symptoms or not. The only way to prevent infection is to use a condom properly, and every time you have sex, unless both partners have been checked and are clear.
There are 2 types of Herpes Simplex Virus - HSV 1 & 2
HSV 1 is more commonly known as a cold sore and usually affects the mouth area though can infect the genitals during oral sex
HSV 2 is genital herpes, which is usually found around the anus, vagina, penis, thighs etc.
Both HSV 1& 2 can also enter the body through open wounds if there is direct contact.
There are slightly different symptoms between a first outbreak and subsequent outbreaks so will deal with them independently
Itching or burning in the genital or anal area. Pain in the genital, buttocks or legs. Fluid discharge from the vagina or penis. A feeling of pressure in the abdomen.
Within a few days sores will appear near the source of infection, i.e. the genitals, mouth, anus etc. They can also appear inside the vagina and on the cervix and also inside the urinary tracts of both men and women.
At first the sores appear as red lumps that go on to develop into blisters and then open sores which are extremely painful.
Over a period of days the sores heal often leaving no scars other symptoms that often occur with a first outbreak are flu type symptoms painful or difficult urination and swollen glands in the groin.
After the initial attack the virus will stay dormant inside the nerve endings.
Most people can expect, on average, several episodes of active herpes a year these are called recurrences. New sores do not always appear where old sores were as the virus uses the nerves to travel to the skin.
Sometimes, the virus can become active but not cause any sores that can be seen. At these times, small amounts of the virus may be spread in fluids from the mouth, penis, or vagina, or from barely noticeable sores. You may not notice this because it often does not cause any pain or feel uncomfortable. Even though you might not be aware of the sores you still can infect a sex partner during this time.
After the first outbreak, any future outbreaks are usually mild and last only about a week. An infected person may know that an outbreak is about to happen by feeling a tingling feeling or itching in the genital area or pain in the buttocks or down the leg. For some people, these early symptoms can be the most painful and annoying part of an episode. Sometimes, only the tingling and itching are present and no visible sores develop. At other times, blisters appear that may be very small and barely noticeable, or they may break into open sores that crust over and then disappear.
While some people have only one or two outbreaks in a lifetime, others may have several outbreaks a year.
Although there is no cure for genital herpes, your doctor might prescribe one of three medicines to treat it:
Acyclovir (Zovirax®) treats the first and/or later episodes of genital herpes.
Famciclovir (Famvir®) treats later episodes of genital herpes and helps prevent future outbreaks.
Valacyclovir (Valtrex®) treats later episodes of genital herpes.
During an active herpes episode, whether the first episode or a repeat one, you should follow a few simple steps to speed healing and avoid spreading the infection to other places on the body or to other people:
Keep the infected area clean and dry to prevent other infections from developing.
Try to avoid touching the sores.
Wash your hands after contact with the sores.
Avoid sexual contact from the time you first feel any symptoms until the sores are completely healed, that is, the scab has fallen off and new skin has formed where the sore was.
The initial infection causes an ulcer at the site of infection. The bacteria, however, move throughout the body, damaging many organs over time. Medical experts describe the course of the disease by dividing it into four stages-primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary (late). An infected person who has not been treated may infect others during the first two stages, which usually last 1 to 2 years. In its late stages, untreated syphilis, although not contagious, can cause serious heart abnormalities, mental disorders, blindness, other neurological problems, and death.
The first symptom of primary syphilis is an ulcer called a chancre. The chancre can appear within 10 days to 3 months after infection, but it generally appears within 2 to 6 weeks. Because the chancre may be painless and may occur inside the body, the infected person might not notice it. It usually is found on the part of the body exposed to the infected partner's ulcer, such as the penis or vagina. A chancre also can develop on the cervix, tongue, lips, or other parts of the body. The chancre disappears within a few weeks whether or not a person is treated. If not treated during the primary stage, about one-third of people will go on to the chronic stages.
A skin rash, with brown sores about the size of a penny, often marks this chronic stage of syphilis. The rash appears anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks after the chancre appears. While the rash may cover the whole body or appear only in a few areas, it is almost always on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Because active bacteria are present in the sores, any physical contact—sexual or non-sexual—with the broken skin of an infected person may spread the infection at this stage. The rash usually heals within several weeks or months.
Other symptoms also may occur, such as mild fever, tiredness, headache, sore throat, patchy hair loss, and swollen lymph glands throughout the body. These symptoms may be very mild and, like the chancre of primary syphilis, will disappear without treatment. The signs of secondary syphilis may come and go over the next 1 to 2 years of the disease.
If untreated, syphilis may lapse into a latent stage during which the disease is no longer contagious and no symptoms are present. Many people who are not treated will suffer from no further signs and symptoms of the disease.
Roughly one-third of people who have had secondary syphilis go on to develop the complications of late, or tertiary, syphilis, in which the bacteria damage the heart, eyes, brain, nervous system, bones, joints, or almost any other part of the body. This stage can last for years, or even for decades. Late syphilis can result in mental illness, blindness, other neurological problems, heart disease, and death.
Unfortunately, the early symptoms of syphilis can be very mild, and many people do not seek treatment when they first become infected.
Doctors usually treat patients with syphilis with penicillin, given by injection. They use other antibiotics for patients allergic to penicillin. A person usually can no longer infect others with syphilis 24 hours after starting treatment. Some people, however, do not respond to the usual doses of penicillin. Therefore, it is important that people being treated for syphilis have regular blood tests to check that the infection has been completely destroyed.
People with neuro-syphilis may need to be retested for up to 2 years after treatment. In all stages of syphilis, proper treatment will cure the disease. But in late syphilis, damage already done to body organs cannot be reversed.
Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (hpv)
The symptoms of genital warts are basically the same as for warts on any part of the body. Raised lumps visible on the genitals or around the anal area.
Symptoms of warts in the vagina or on the cervix are bleeding between periods, bleeding after sex and a persistent abnormal discharge from the vagina without any burning or itching
Diagnosis by a doctor will be followed by chemically burning off the warts. This is fairly painless and though persistent warts may need retreating most will find they just need this treatment the once.
The early symptoms of gonorrhea often are mild. Symptoms usually appear within 2 to 10 days after sexual contact with an infected partner. A small number of people may be infected for several months without showing symptoms.
When women have symptoms, the first ones may include :
Bleeding associated with vaginal intercourse
Painful or burning sensations when urinating
Vaginal discharge that is yellow or bloody
More advanced symptoms, which may indicate development of PID, include cramps and pain, bleeding between menstrual periods, vomiting, or fever.
Men have symptoms more often than women, including :
Pus from the penis and pain
Burning sensations during urination that may be severe.
Symptoms of rectal infection include discharge, anal itching, and occasional painful bowel movements with fresh blood on the faeces.
Doctors usually prescribe a single dose antibiotics to treat gonorrhea:
If you have gonorrhea and are pregnant or are younger than 18 years old, you should not take ciprofloxacin or ofloxacin. Your doctor can prescribe the best and safest antibiotic for you.
Gonorrhea and chlamydial infection, another common STD, often infect people at the same time. Therefore, doctors usually prescribe a combination of antibiotics, which will treat both diseases.
If you have gonorrhea, all of your sexual partners should get tested and then treated if infected, whether or not they have symptoms of infection.
If left untreated
In untreated gonorrhea infections, the bacteria can spread up into the reproductive tract, or more rarely, can spread through the blood stream and infect the joints, heart valves, or the brain.
The most common result of untreated gonorrhea is PID, a serious infection of the female reproductive tract. Gonococcal PID often appears immediately after the menstrual period. PID causes scar tissue to form in the fallopian tubes. If the tube is partially scarred, the fertilised egg may not be able to pass into the uterus. If this happens, the embryo may implant in the tube causing a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. This serious complication may result in a miscarriage and can cause death of the mother.
Rarely, untreated gonorrhea can spread through the blood to the joints. This can cause an inflammation of the joints, which is very serious.
If you are infected with gonorrhea, your risk of getting HIV infection increases (HIV, human immunodeficiency virus, causes AIDS). Therefore, it is extremely important for you to either prevent yourself from getting gonorrhea or get treated early if you already are infected with it.
©2002 jaz aka red_orion