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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Questions & Related Topics

Key Points

  • The article provides comprehensive information about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), covering symptoms, causes, prevention, and treatment.
  • Symptoms of STDs can range from sores and unusual discharge or bleeding to pain or burning sensations.
  • STDs can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites, and are typically contracted through sexual activity, but can also be transmitted through non-sexual activities.
  • Prevention methods include practicing safe sex, getting vaccinated, and having open discussions about sexual boundaries and expectations.
  • Treatment for STDs varies based on the type of disease and can include medications, therapy, and informing sexual partners.

Possible Symptoms for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

1. Sores

There are many different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that can cause a number of signs and symptoms that are a clear indication of their presence. One is the appearance of bumps or sores on the genitals, the rectum, or in and around the mouth area.[1]

2. Unusual discharge or bleeding

Discharge coming from the penis is a sign of some sexually transmitted diseases.[1] Vaginal discharge is sometimes normal, but discharge that smells odd or bad or that is an unusual color can be a sign of an STD. Vaginal bleeding is also abnormal and can be a sign.

3. Pain or burning sensation

People who have a sexually transmitted disease might notice discomfort or even pain during sexual intercourse.[1] Another strong sign is a painful or burning sensation when urinating. In some situations, you might even notice swollen and painful lymph nodes, especially in the area of the groin. These areas should not experience constant, consistent pain unless something is wrong.

Top 5 Causes of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

1. Bacteria

Bacteria causes some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.[1] The bacteria can be passed from person to person through sexual contact, after which it creates an infection.

2. Viruses

Viruses are also a common cause of sexually transmitted diseases. The human papillomavirus (HPV), genital herpes, and HIV are all caused by a viral infection.

3. Parasites

Parasites only cause one type of sexually transmitted disease: trichomoniasis. However, this issue can be just as difficult to deal with as any other STD.

4. Sexual activity

In most cases, STDs are contracted through sexual acts. Anyone who engages in unprotected sex can potentially contract an STD from a partner who is already infected. Furthermore, certain sexual acts can increase your chances of contracting an STD. These include sex with multiple partners, sex with someone who has multiple partners, or trading sex for drugs or money.[2]

5. Nonsexual activity

Sometimes, STDs can be contracted without sexual activity. For example, you can potentially get genital herpes or warts through simple skin-to-skin contact.[2] You could also contract hepatitis B by sharing someone’s toothbrush or razor. Trichomoniasis can sometimes be contracted through contact with a toilet seat, wet towels, or another wet object, although this is less common. Participating in intravenous drug use and needle sharing are both serious risks of contracting STDs.

3 Ways to Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

1. Protected sex

One of the best ways to protect yourself against STDs is to use a latex condom during sex, which is highly effective against reducing your risk of contracting an STD.[3] Some individuals are allergic to latex condoms, however, and must use another option, such as a non-latex condom. These options are not as effective against preventing STDs.

2. Vaccinations

Those who want to become vaccinated against sexually transmitted diseases can visit their doctor and receive vaccinations for hepatitis B and HPV. There is an HPV vaccination for both men and women.

3. Clear discussions about sex

Another great way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases is to have a clear idea about your boundaries and expectations when it comes to sex. If you have a partner, it is important to discuss with them the idea of getting tested as well as to consider a monogamous relationship, which is one of the most dependable options for sexual intercourse without the threat of contracting an STD.[3]

If you do not have one reliable partner and/or you want to have sex with multiple partners, using protection is critical, as is keeping your number of sexual partners at a minimum.

Possible Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Treatment Options

1. Medications

Antibiotics are used to treat STDs that are caused by bacteria, including syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and parasitic infections like trichomoniasis. When you start a treatment regimen of antibiotics, you need to finish the entire prescription.

2. Antiviral drugs

Not all STDs are curable. Antiviral drugs can minimize the severity of an HIV infection and lower the risk of you passing it on to a partner. These drugs can also help minimize the recurrences of herpes.[1] However, it is important to remember that it is still possible to spread these STDs.

3. Informing your partners

Part of the treatment process after finding out that you have a sexually transmitted disease is to inform your sexual partners from the time of discovering you have an STD through the last year.[1] Most states require this action, as people deserve to know if they could have been exposed to an STD. In most cases, there are options where licensed healthcare workers can aid you in this task.

4. Therapy

Finding out you have an STD can be extremely difficult emotionally. You might have trouble trusting the partner who gave it to you, and you may notice a change in the way you feel about yourself. It could be helpful to seek out therapy or a support group that can help you cope.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

  • How long have you been experiencing these symptoms?
  • How many sexual partners have you had in the last year?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Do you use drugs?

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) May Also be Known as:

  • STDs
  • Venereal diseases
  • VD
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • STIs
  • Chlamydia
  • HPV
  • Gonorrhea
  • Genital herpes
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis


Frequently asked questions

  • What are some common symptoms of STDs?

    Common symptoms can include sores, unusual discharge or bleeding, and pain or burning sensations.
  • How are STDs typically transmitted?

    STDs are typically transmitted through sexual activity, but can also be contracted through non-sexual activities.
  • What are some ways to prevent STDs?

    Prevention methods include practicing safe sex, getting vaccinated, and having open discussions about sexual boundaries and expectations.
  • What are the treatment options for STDs?

    Treatment options can include medications like antibiotics and antiviral drugs, therapy, and informing sexual partners about the disease.
  • What types of organisms can cause STDs?

    STDs can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
  • Can non-sexual activities lead to STD transmission?

    Yes, non-sexual activities can also lead to the transmission of STDs.
  • What role does communication play in STD prevention?

    Clear discussions about sexual boundaries and expectations can play a significant role in STD prevention.
  • How important is it to inform sexual partners if you have an STD?

    It's very important to inform sexual partners if you have an STD, both for their health and to prevent further transmission.

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