Many women may not show any symptoms of STDs
Many women may not show any symptoms of STDs and may be unaware of the need for treatment.
Women experiencing the following problems must seek gynecological advice.
Bumps, swelling, redness, sores or warts or rashes/tiny pimples around the vagina, anus, buttocks or thighs
Pain or discomfort during sex
Lower abdominal or back pain: Abdominal or pelvic pain may be due to pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID) caused by an advanced stage of chlamydia (yeast infection) or gonorrhea. Many women often overlook these symptoms.
Urinary symptoms: Women may feel pain or a burning sensation during urination or may need to pee more frequently or may see blood in the urine.
Abnormal bleeding: This may be because of PID or bleeding from the vagina other than during a monthly period.
Severe itching in or around the vagina may be due to
- An allergic reaction to a latex condom
- Yeast infection
- Pubic lice or scabies
- Genital warts
- Early phases of most bacterial and viral STDs
Abnormal vaginal discharge: Look at changes in consistency and appearance continually through the cycle. With chlamydia (a yeast infection), a woman may have a thick, white discharge from the vagina. If a woman has yellow or green discharge, it may be gonorrhea or trich infection. Vaginal discharge may have an odor.
Nonspecific STD symptoms may include
- Weight loss
- Loose stools
- Night sweats
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
STDs are passed through vaginal, anal or oral sexual contact. These STDs may even lead to cervical cancer and infertility. Therefore, safe sex practices are more important.
What are the most common STDs in women?
Common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in women include
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Genital herpes
- Bacterial vaginosis
HPV is the most common STD in women, which is also the main cause of cervical cancer. There are vaccines available against cervical cancer for prevention.
Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and genital herpes are common STDs. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50% of new chlamydia and gonorrhea cases occur in women between the ages of 15 and 24. A total of 20 million new STD cases are reported every year in the United States alone and approximately 357 million new infections of syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis are reported every year worldwide.
How can you prevent yourself and your partner from STDs?
Everyone should take certain precautionary steps to avoid getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as follows
- Regular testing: Get a Papanicolaou (PAP) smear test every three to five years.
- Vaccination: Ask the gynecologist about getting tested for any other STDs and whether human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination can be suggested.
- Protection during sex: Use of female condoms and dental dams can provide a certain level of protection. It can help to protect both a woman and her partner from STDs. Spermicides, birth control pills, and other forms of contraception may protect a woman against pregnancy but not from STDs.
- Communication: A woman should honestly communicate with the gynecologist and her partner about their sexual history.
Condoms are the best protection from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
What if you get STDs during pregnancy?
Because there are no symptoms of this infection, many women remain unaware of their infection. Therefore, the gynecologist may ask for a full sexually transmitted disease (STD) panel test at the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy.
These infections can be dangerous to a woman and her baby. It may pass on to the baby during pregnancy and result in birth defects; therefore, a woman must seek treatment. If a woman has any bacterial STD, then the gynecologist may prescribe antibiotics. If a woman has a viral STD, she may receive antivirals that are clinically tested as “SAFE” during pregnancy.
What if you contracted an STD during a sexual assault?
Sexual assault could be the direct cause of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in women. If a woman has been sexually assaulted, she must immediately see a gynecologist or doctor.
- The doctor may try to capture DNA and evaluate a woman’s injuries.
- The doctor also checks for any potential STD infection while examining a woman.
- Even if some time has passed since a sexual assault, a woman should still seek medical care.
- The doctor/gynecologist may discuss possibly reporting the event along with health-related problems.
To prevent further infection, looking at a woman’s risk factors and medical history, the doctor/gynecologist may prescribe any of the following
- Hepatitis vaccine
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antiviral medication
Follow-up with the doctor at the recommended time is important for effective treatment of STD infections.
Latest Sexual Health News
Medically Reviewed on 9/11/2020
Sexual assault and abuse and STDs. (2015, June 4)
STDs during pregnancy – CDC fact sheet. (2016, March 28)