5 Common STDs and How to Treat Them

Any form of sexual contact can put you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. There are over 30 types of STDs and over 20 million people are impacted every year. Most forms of STDs are easy to contract. Many of them can have consequences that impact not just the person infected, but their partner. STDs can also cause health complications later on in life, if not treated properly.

Fortunately, most forms of STDs are treatable and all can be prevented. Dr. Staci L. McHale and the expert staff at New Beginnings OB-GYN have been serving patients in Las Vegas, Nevada for many conditions, including sexually transmitted diseases.

Here are some common STDs to look out for:

1. Syphilis

This bacterial infection can affect many areas of the body not related to the genitals and happens in three stages. It often starts with sores near the groin called chancres which can also infect the tongue and lips. 

As the condition progresses, a patient can expect reddish-brown rashes on just about any area of the body, soreness, aching, fever, fatigue, and enlarged lymph nodes. Left untreated, syphilis can cause tissue damage years after the initial infection and lead to numbness, dementia, blindness, and paralysis. 

2. Chlamydia

Chlamydia is another bacterial infection that may be hard to detect in its early stages as it may be asymptomatic. Between one to three weeks a patient may experience painful urination, lower abdominal pain, a smelly penile or vaginal discharge, testicular pain, pain during intercourse, and bleeding between menstrual periods.

The symptoms may vary and can be mild. If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility. It can also make men infertile, though this is rare. 

3. Gonorrhea

Another STD that may be asymptomatic once infected, gonorrhea can also affect unborn children of infected mothers. Gonorrhea has many similar symptoms to chlamydia and syphilis (painful urination, pelvic pain, and bleeding between periods) but the discharge from gonorrhea may be painful and pus-like. It may also cause swelling in the testicles.

Gonorrhea may also affect the rectum, eyes, throat, and joints. Left untreated, it can cause infertility in both sexes, cause complications in births where babies suffer blindness or other conditions, and increase the risks of contracting HIV/ AIDS.

4. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is a viral infection that can cause warts that could potentially lead to cancer. The types of infection that can cause cancer may affect the genitals (vulva, cervix, or penis), anus, and throat. There are many varieties of HPV and many of them are non-cancerous.

HPV can be contracted from skin contact as well as through sex. Warts typical of HPV can appear on the genitals, hands, face, and other parts of the body. They are contagious and other risks such as a weakened immune system, damaged skin, and multiple sex partners can contribute to getting infected. Left untreated HPV can lead to different forms of cancer as well as lesions in the throat or upper respiratory system.

5. Hepatitis

Hepatitis is the group name for different inflammatory conditions (usually viral infections) impacting the liver. Typically hepatitis B and C are the infections contracted through sexual contact. But they can also be contracted through contact with infected blood by sharing needles or razors.

Fatigue, dark urine, flu-like symptoms, pale stool, abdominal pain, signs of jaundice, and loss of appetite may be signs of hepatitis infection. Left unchecked, hepatitis (or most types of infection of the liver) can lead to liver failure and cirrhosis.  

Fortunately, all of these STDs can be treated, and patients should seek help as soon as they develop symptoms to prevent long term complications.

Syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are treated with different types of antibiotics. Hepatitis B and C can be treated with antiviral medications and HPV is treated a few different ways. Infections that cause warts can be treated with a few different medications and infections that don’t respond to medications or in the cervix may require surgery. 

Help for dealing with STDs is available Make an appointment with Dr. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN to get treatment today.

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