Sexually Transmitted Diseases In Women
Know all about: Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women
Men and women face sexually transmitted diseases or STDs or Sexually Transmitted Infections STIs. It can get severe for women. STIs are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. It can be through contact usually done through vagina, oral or anal sex. Sometimes it can spread through another intimate contact. Some STD’s like herpes and HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact. If a pregnant woman is infected with STD it can cause serious health problems for the baby as well.
It is better to be equipped with knowledge of STIs than stay in the dark and panic later should such a situation arise. Because most of the STIs do not display any symptoms and this may later lead to fertility problems and also run into the risk of getting cervical cancer. You must practice safe sex to avoid running into such infections.
The common STIs that a woman can face in their vagina are:
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is the most common infection in women and is also often the cause of cervical cancer. There is a vaccine available to help prevent the initial strains of HPV. Consult your gynae for more information on the same,
Gonorrhoea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae and it tends to target the warm, moist areas of the body and this includes urethra, eyes, throat, vagina, anus and the female reproductive tract. This infection passes from person to person through oral, anal or vaginal sex. The best way to prevent this infection is by using a condom. Some of the symptoms of gonorrhoea may include discharge from the vagina (watery, creamy or slightly green), pain or burning sensation while urinating. The urge to urinate frequently will also occur, heavier periods or spotting, pain during sexual intercourse or sharp pain in the lower abdomen.
This infection is known as the ‘silent infection’ because people with chlamydia may not experience any symptoms at all. A person is likely to have this infection if they have had sex with more than one person. This STI can also be contracted if a person was forced into any sexual activity including oral sex. The common symptoms of this infection are painful sexual intercourse, vaginal discharge, burning sensation during urination, pain in the lower abdomen or inflammation of the cervix. For some women, the infection may also spread to the fallopian tubes and can also infect the rectum if not treated on time.
Two types of herpes simplex virus can cause genital herpes. This infection causes herpetic sores that fluid-filled painful blisters that can break open and ooze fluid.
HSV 1 — these usually cause cold sores
HSV 2 — these usually cause genital herpes
Genital herpes viruses usually enter into the body through mucous membranes. These are the thin layers of tissue that line the openings of your body. And are found in nose, mouth and genitals. Once these viruses get inside your body, they get integrated into your cells and later on stay in the nerve cells of your pelvis. The virus then tends to adapt to the environment and multiplies quickly making their treatment difficult.
HSV 1 and HSV 2 are found in bodily fluids such as saliva, semen and vaginal secretions.
The first outbreak of blisters will appear in the first 2 days after contracting the virus or even after a month later. The blisters are found around or near the vagina, anus or buttocks. Other symptoms may include blisters appearing in the mouth, on the lips, face and the area that has contracted this virus may start to itch or tingle. Before the blisters appear. You may also have headaches, body aches and fever.
Newborn babies may also get infected if born through vaginal delivery and may get ulcers on the face, body or genitals. So, during your pregnancy, if you have contracted genital herpes. It is very important to let your doctor know about the same, to get timely treatment.
Apart from these, there are various common symptoms of STIs and you should be aware of possible STI symptoms so that you can seek medical help should the need arise.
If there is a burning sensation during urination and you keep visiting the washroom frequently or if you notice the presence of blood, seek help.
Abdominal vaginal discharge
Though discharge is normal for a woman especially during her pre-period days, you need to look out for the kind of any foul odour or change in the colour. If there is a thick and white discharge, it could indicate a yeast infection. If the discharge is yellow or green it may indicate gonorrhoea.
At times vaginal itching may or may not mean a sign of STI, but sex-related causes for itching can include,
- early phases of most bacterial and viral STIs
- allergic reaction to a condom
- yeast infection
- genital warts
- pubic lice
This is another sign of pelvic inflammatory disease or PID or other reproductive problems caused by the infection.
Complain of pain during sex
A very overlooked symptom, but pelvic pain can often be a sign of pelvic inflammatory disease or PID and is most usually caused by the advanced stage of chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
Pimples or rashes
If you notice sores or tiny pimples in your vagina or around the mouth, this can be an indication of herpes, HPV or syphilis.
Prevention better than cure
It is advisable to take as many preventive measures to avoid contracting STIs. It’s always important that you get a pap smear test done every 3 to 5 years. And it is also important to get vaccinated for HPV that is after thorough check-up when your doctor suggests.
Using any contraceptive method, condom, in particular, can help both you and your partner from any sort of STI. Birth control pills and copper T may just help in protecting against pregnancy but not STI.