The signs of sexually transmitted diseases are as varied as the women who get them. Some are obvious and even painful, while others are seemingly silent.
Both obvious and silent STDs can cause irreparable harm to women, their partners, and any future children. Getting tested for STDs on a consistent basis, especially if there has been a change of sexual partners or any intravenous drug use, is key for having any degree of certainty about one's health. (The only way to be 100 percent certain about not having an STD is to have never had sexually intercourse.)
Though not every STD has a physical symptom, it is important to recognize the signs that may be there. And even if there are no symptoms, these diseases can be passed on to others. Early detection of a STD can be life-saving in many ways.
Here are symptoms of the three most common sexually transmitted diseases in the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia is the most frequently reported and fastest-growing STD in the United States. Usually found in women ages 15 to 24, most cases go undiagnosed because for about 75 percent of women there are really no symptoms associated with this disease.
For the women who do have symptoms, they are minimal and quickly passing. Symptoms can include burning when urinating, abnormal vaginal discharge, and spotting between periods.
The good news is that once chlamydia has been diagnosed, it can be easily cured with a round of antibiotics. If left untreated, this disease can cause serious consequences like infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Another STD that is commonly underdiagnosed is gonorrhea. It is the second most frequently reported STD in the country. The symptoms, if there are any at all, are commonly confused with a bladder infection. They can include burning during urination, heavy menstrual periods, abdominal pain, or abnormal, thick, or bloody vaginal discharge.
Antibiotics can cure the infection but can not change the harm that the infection has done to one's body such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and infections that can damage one's joints and heart.
Genital herpes, the third most frequently diagnosed sexually transmitted disease, is an STD that cannot be cured with medication or any other treatment. Though outbreaks can be controlled, the virus stays in one's system and can be passed on to others.
Many women with herpes have no symptoms, but when sores do appear they can look like small red bumps or open sores near or on the vagina. These sores can come with vaginal discharge, fever, body aches, painful urination, and itching, burning, or swollen glands in the vaginal area.
Herpes is a disease one has for life. If left untreated it can cause blindness in newborn babies, along with the uncomfortable and painful symptoms detailed above.
Knowing the possible signs of an STD is important, but getting tested for STDs is even more essential. Testing can be done quickly, easily, and in many cases inexpensively (or even free) by a family doctor or health clinic.
Could You Have an STD — And Not Know It? WebMD. Retrieved Mar. 20, 2012.
STD symptoms: Common STDs and their symptoms. Mayoclinic.com. Retrieved Mar. 20, 2012.
Reviewed March 20, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
Add a Comment2 Comments
i think its very importent for wemon to be aware how betuiful they are as well as there body stay safe protect yourselfApril 1, 2012 - 9:24pm
you go girlApril 1, 2012 - 9:27pm