Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are infections that can be passed on when you have unprotected sex or close sexual contact, either vaginal, anal, or oral sex with another person who already has an STI. It can be transmitted from men to women, from women to women and men to men.
Usually, STI has no specific symptoms, so it is not possible to diagnose by just looking at any STI infected person. It is always recommended to get medical assistance and a check-up done if you had unprotected sex. Earlier the treatment, sooner the recovery.
STI does not have any specific symptoms but in general, the following may be just an indication commonly for both genders:
- Pain and burning during urination
- Itching, burning or tingling around genitals
- Blisters, sores, spots or lumps around the genitals or anus
- Yellow or green vaginal discharge
- Discharge with a foul smell
- Bleeding between periods or after sex
- Painful sex
- Lower abdominal pain
- Redness and swelling of the genitals
- Discharge from the penis
- Irritation of the urethra (the duct by which urine is conveyed out of the body from the bladder)
These symptoms are very common and do not necessarily mean that you have an STI, even Thrush or Candidiasis Fungal Infection has the same symptoms. So it’s always advisable to consult a doctor to find out the cause of the symptoms and get treated accordingly.
Chlamydia (common pathogen to cause infection) and Gonorrhoea (another bug to cause infection) are the most common STI and both do not have any early-stage symptoms. Around 50% of women and 10% of men with Gonorrhoea do not have any symptoms.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.
- Always have safer sex:
The use of condoms while having sex will protect you from the grip of STI.
- Always maintain perineal hygiene:
- Clean the area around the vagina properly
- Avoid excessive soap & shower gels
- Avoid lotions, deodorants & alcohol-based reagents
- Wipe from front to back
- Dry off after the shower
- Avoid baby wipes
- Wear a clean cotton undergarment
- Change your sanitary pad regularly
- Have a balanced diet:
According to a study, women are more vulnerable to STI. A woman’s vagina is covered by a thin and delicate membrane, which more easily allows viruses and bacteria to pass through and causes infection. The vagina also has a warm and moist environment, which makes it more favourable for bacterias to grow.
Untreated STIs can lead to long term health complications like:
- Infertility – inability to get pregnant
- Ectopic pregnancy – abnormal pregnancy which can be life-threatening
- Chronic pelvic pain – pain in lower abdominal
- A pregnant woman can also pass STI disease to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth
Most STIs can be cured with antibiotics. STIs should not be diagnosed by yourself because symptoms vary from person to person. It should be diagnosed by a medical professional.
Still, no cure is available for some STI like HIV, but medications are available to manage these chronic conditions in order to avoid getting them worse.