Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Gynecologic Infections due to Gonorrhea and Chlamydia

Two separate bacteria types named gonorrhea and chlamydia are transmitted sexually and they may cause wide infections in genital organ of a woman. This condition called pelvic infection (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease-PID) may cause adhesions in the pelvis and even a vital threat when spread.

Gonorrhea which is responsible of the disease named the same and chlamydia which causes urethral infections in men, commonly do not cause any symptoms while it may cause restriction in canals that transport sperms, leading to infertility. In women, obstruction of the tubes and genital organs may cause infertility and increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. Obstructed tubes in women is one of the most causes of infertility and its most important cause is the pelvic infections due to sexually transmitted infections. Pelvic infections may be asymptomatic but they usually prevent with discharge and pubic pain. Women should be aware of these symptoms and consul doctors in order to catch a chance of early treatment. This examination is important for finding out whether pain and discharge is due to a pelvic infection or not and its early treatment.

Genital ulcerous diseases

Diseases of this group are sexually transmitted diseases which present with genital ulcers in men and women. The most common ones in this group are herpes simplex infection and syphilis. Other genital ulcer diseases are rarer (cancroid, lymphogranuloma venereum and granuloma inguinale). Genital ulcer, Behçet’s disease, cancer, drug allergies may also cause ulcers.

Herpes simplex infection

Similar lesions seen on and around the lips present in more severe symptoms in genital area in multiple groups in herpes infections. It may be caused by herpes simplex type 1 (HSV 1) which causes infection on the lips as well by HSV 2 which is more commonly transmitted sexually. When virus is settled in the body once, it causes recurrent infections in certain terms. While the first infection is more painful and itchy, second and ongoing infections present lesser infections. The most important character of this infection for a woman is that it has a risk of causing vital infections in the baby when occurred near to the term of pregnancy, thus requiring cesarean.

Syphilis

The bacteria of syphilis (Treponema Pallidum) presents itself with a well edged painless genital ulcer called the chancre when it first enters the body. This phase is the best for treatment of the disease. If it is left untreated, this ulcer disappears in 6-8 weeks spontaneously but the disease progresses and it may cause various skin rashes, inner organ disorders a while later. If it is still not treated, these symptoms fade away in 4-12 weeks and it looks like the disease got better. However, after 10 asymptomatic years, disease shows itself with serious cardiovascular diseases, neurological damage and other organ affections.

Although the disease is possible to treat in any phase, the risk of a sequel and permanent damage in organs is lower when treated earlier. Another important thing about syphilis in women is that when it occurs in pregnancy the infection may pass to the baby through placenta and cause serious anomalies in the baby to be born.

Genital chondylomas (Genital warts)

They are masses of various number and sizes due to the virus called Human papilloma virus (HPV) settling in the genital area via sexual contact. The virus causes recurrent infections and new mass formations when it infects the body. It causes symptoms more commonly in women. Masses may be microscopic as well as they may get a shape of a cauliflower by multiple masses getting together. HPV is extraordinarily contagious and it can be transmitted from close contact of genital areas without sexual penetration and even from public toilets.

Treatment options of chondylomas include surgical removal, burning via cauterization, freezing via cryotherapy and use of crème-like drugs. Here, the point is to remove the lesions entirely and reduce the risk of reoccurrence and contagion. However, there is no efficient treatment method for removing the virus entirely from the body. Apart from the aesthetic problems due to chondylomas, another feature of HPV is that some subtypes of it carry cancerogenous specifications. Amongst many subtypes of HPV, apart from type 6 and 11 which cause chondylomas, most of its subtypes are cancerogenous. These cancerous types usually infect the body quietly and create the cancerogenous effects in the body. Men who carry this virus has the risk of penis cancer while women has increased risk of cervix cancer.

Although the most common subtypes are 6 and 11 that cause infections are non-cancerogenous types which gives symptoms like mass formation, there is an increased risk of having other subtypes in a person who is diagnosed for HPV. Therefore, men who carry this virus should consult an urologist while women should have yearly pap-smear test as well as colposcopic evaluation which lets examination of the cervix under microscope.

AIDS

AIDS is a word made of the first letters of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. This disease is caused by a virus called HIV (Human Immune Deficiency Virus) , it is transmitted via sexual relations, blood transfusion which carries the virus, contact to a patients body secretions (in the absence of a sexual intercourse via sexual kissing, hospital personnel giving medical care service without taking precautions etc) and its primary target is the immune system. It causes diseases of various opportunistic infections and some cancer types by weakening this system. The duration between the first contact and determination of the virus in the blood may be as long as 6 months while presentation of the first symptoms may be as long as 10 years.

Today, AIDS patients cannot be cured; however, their life expectancies are increased with drugs that are used successfully in treatment of opportunistic infections and drugs that stop the spread of the virus partially. Studies for a vaccine for AIDS also continue.

Hepatitis B

This disease is also a viral disease which may be transmitted via sexual intercourse or familial close contact. When a family member is diagnosed with infection or carriage of the virus, other members are under a risk and they must be vaccinated after necessary tests. Today, Hepatitis B vaccine is applied to babies and other sensitive individuals in the routine. In a close future, we may presume that Hepatitis B will be removed from the world entirely such as Pox disease.

Vaginitis

Vaginitis presents itself with bad scented, dirty colored, foamy, cheesy discharge and itching, painful urination, bleeding after sexual contact. Sexual contact is not the only way of occurrence of vaginitis. Fungal vaginitis may develop due to pregnancy, oral contraceptives, uncontrolled diabetes etc. Trichomonas vaginitis also may occur due to absence of hygiene (public bathrooms, pools, shared use of underwear etc).

Urethritis

Urethra, the part of urinary system after the bladder, is the organ which gives the symptoms of STDs most commonly. This clinical condition called urethritis includes painful urination and discharge. The most common cause of this discharge is gonorrhea. Apart from gonorrhea, chlamydia and some other bacteria types may be the cause of urethritis. Although urethritis is a common disease in women too, it commonly accompanies infections of other parts of the genital system and it may not take attention because urethral discharge is commonly together with vaginal discharge.

When an STD is diagnosed in someone, the risk for having another disease together is increased significantly. Therefore, these persons should also be evaluated for other diseases.

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