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Sexually transmitted diseases

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Sexually transmitted diseases are one of the causes of painful sex

Painful sexual intercourse, denoted by the term dyspareunia, is known to every woman at some stage in her life. It is expressed in constant or periodic pain during penetration, during, or after sex. The condition is quite unpleasant and its occurrence can be associated with structural and physiological changes in the female reproductive system, as well as with psychological trauma and problems.

One of the causes of pain during sex is currently widespread sexually transmitted diseases – syphilis, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Virus B and C, etc. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every day more than 1 million people worldwide become infected with sexually transmitted diseases.

Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and HPV infection are among the most common sexually transmitted diseases. More than 290 million women in the world are infected with the main cause of cervical cancer – HPV. A large percentage of sexually transmitted diseases are asymptomatic, which is why their consequences are quite serious. The main complication that can occur due to lack of treatment is impaired fertility and infertility.

Sexually transmitted diseases, as their name suggests, are passed from person to person during sexual contact—vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Interestingly, some of them (genital herpes, syphilis) can also be transmitted with a simple kiss. Pregnant women with a sexually transmitted infection transmit it to the fetus transplacentally or during childbirth. Sexually transmitted diseases in pregnant women can cause premature birth, the birth of a child with low body weight, complications in the development of the fetus, and in some cases, death. The infection can be passed from mother to child and during breastfeeding.

Symptoms characteristic of all sexually transmitted infections are as follows:

  • Discharge from the vagina with a change in color, smell, amount, and consistency. In bacterial vaginosis, vaginal discharge is grayish in color with an unpleasant fishy odor; with syphilis and gonorrhea – yellow-green color; with chlamydial infection – milky white with a yogurt consistency, and with HPV, the vaginal discharge has a brownish tint and an unpleasant odor;
  • Pain during intercourse (dyspareunia) – with sexually transmitted diseases inflammation, redness, and swelling develop, and in some cases, ulcers, blisters, and warts are formed, which are painful and cause discomfort and pain during intercourse;
  • Burning during urination (dysuria);
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding – bleeding outside of your period;
  • In men – secretion from the penis with an unpleasant odor;
  • Inflammation, itching, redness of the skin in the genital area;
  • General malaise, pelvic pain, fatigue, dizziness, fever.

 Risk factors that can lead to the development of a sexually transmitted disease include beginning sexual activity at an early age (about half of those infected are between the ages of 15 and 24), unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners, and their frequent surrender. Having a previous sexually transmitted disease increases the risk of developing another over time. Injecting drug use is also a significant risk factor, as some sexually transmitted infections are transmitted not only through sex but also through the blood (eg, hepatitis B and C, HIV).

Complications of sexually transmitted diseases are not uncommon due to the high frequency of asymptomatic cases. Regular screening and testing is essential to reduce this rate. Complications that can occur if left untreated include pelvic inflammatory disease, arthritis, eye infections, and heart problems. Cervical cancer can occur when infected with high-risk HPV strains 16 and 18. Among the most serious complications that occur with untreated sexually transmitted infections is infertility.

Infection with sexually transmitted diseases during pregnancy is especially dangerous. Complications that may occur in the fetus include eye infection, blindness, deafness, liver damage, pneumonia, and severe brain damage. To protect against harm during pregnancy, women are examined in the first trimester and, if necessary, in the last trimester of pregnancy, when the harm to the health of the fetus will be greatest. During pregnancy, antibiotic treatment of bacterial infections such as trichomoniasis, syphilis, gonorrhea, and bacterial vaginosis is possible, but the treatment of viral infections such as AIDS, hepatitis B, and C does not lead to a complete cure, but only reduces the likelihood of transmission of infection to the fetus.

To prevent infection with sexually transmitted diseases, it is recommended to control your sex life by limiting Specify the number of sexual partners and establishing a monogamous relationship with a partner who you think is not a carrier. In the case of casual sexual intercourse, the use of condoms is mandatory. For the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, women over 30 years of age, along with preventive examinations, are also recommended to be screened for HPV. Against the human papillomavirus and hepatitis viruses, there are also vaccines to prevent the corresponding diseases.

STDs are common among young people and can lead to serious complications. Regular check-ups, screening tests, and the use of available vaccines are important to limit them.

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