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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

I get so many questions from my patients in the clinic regarding sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Many misdiagnose or mix between regular infections or symptoms with those
associated with STDs. It shows how much we are concerned about this topic, especially that there is no much awareness about it!

I really had a hard time thinking what to write about that topic, afraid to miss on some info, so I will try to keep this brief and to the point, so here we go, below are some of the most common/ known STDs:

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea:

These two infections are bacterial infections and they are the most common type of STDs, usually the symptoms are of a normal vaginal infection which are:

  • Pain or burning while peeing
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower belly pain
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge (may be yellowish and have a strong smell)
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Pus or a watery/milky discharge from the penis
  • Swollen or tender testicles
  • Pain, discharge and/or bleeding around the anus

They do not appear immediately after sex, it may take weeks for symptoms to start to appear, the patient may only suffer from one symptom from all of the above, and the most common one is the abnormal vaginal discharge.

Good news is that oral Antibiotics treat them, so it is very easy to be treated and completely cured.

Oral and Genital Herpes:

A virus called Herpes Simplex Virus causes this. There are 2 main strains of this
virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2, both are sexually transmitted.

HSV-1 causes primarily oral herpes, which are sores in or around the mouth, during
oral sex they can be passed to the genitals leading to genital herpes.

HSV-2 causes primarily genital herpes, sores develop in or around the genitals.

In both types the sores usually form a crust and heals within a few weeks.

Herpes could be passed from mother to her baby during delivery if the baby is exposed to sores during birth and this condition can be dangerous to the newborn.

Herpes usually heals on its own for people with a good immune system and antiviral drugs can help.

Syphilis:

This is a bacterial infection, usually at the beginning it goes unnoticed. The very first symptom to appear is something called “chancre” which is a round sore in the genital area, anus or mouth. The chancre is painless but very infectious.

Later symptoms of syphilis include:

  • Rash
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss

And when syphilis is left untreated it can lead to very serious complications up to death. But usually this infection is caught early and is treated very easily by antibiotics.

AIDS

AIDS is caused by HIV virus, which targets the immune system of the body and damages it putting the body at risk of all kinds on infections and certain types of cancers.

In early stages of the disease it is very easy to mistake it with common cold as the symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Aches and pains
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Rashes

Those symptoms disappear within a month and the person will continue to carry the virus and not know and can infect others. It is one of the diseases that are diagnosed usually late.

There is no real cure for HIV but there are treatment options in form of antiviral drugs that can help hinder the progress of the disease and help the affected person live a long and somewhat healthy life with the virus.

Pubic Lice:

I think everyone knows what lice is 😊. They are tiny insects that are present in hair follicles and feed on human blood.

Symptoms:

  • Itching in the genital and or anal area
  • Red spots or bumps in the genitals or anus
  • Irritability

It is treated by complete removal of the hair in that area and using anti lice topical treatments and of coarse bed sheets and clothes must be washed thoroughly too.

Human Papilloma Virus:

Refer to the previous article CLICK HERE

All vaginal infections READ MORE can be transmitted through sexual contact so usually when a woman comes to the clinic with vaginal infections; we recommend that her husband take the same treatment too.

By Dr.Yasmine Darwish
Master in obstetrics and gynecology Alexandria university
Master in assisted reproduction, Valencia university (IVI) Spain
Member of European society of human reproduction and embryology

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