SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES AND INFECTIONS (STDs & STIs)
What is an STI and STD?
A sexually transmitted disease is passed on from one person to another through sexual contact. Because sexually transmitted disease don’t always cause symptoms, we can also call them sexually transmitted infections. Common STI’s include:
- Crabs, or pubic lice
- Genital herpes
- Hepatitis B
- HIV and AIDS
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Molluscum contagiosum
What are the symptoms?
Sexually transmitted infections can cause various symptoms, or none at all. The following symptoms may be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection:
- Sores or bumps on the vagina, mouth or rectum
- Painful or burning sensation when urination
- Vaginal discharge or unusual bleeding
- Foul smelling discharge
- Painful intercourse
- Sore and swollen lymph nodes in the groin
- Pelvic pain
What are the causes?
STDs and STIs may be caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses, and are spread by genital contact during sexual activities. Dr Makhubo encourages young women to prevent STDs and STIs by educating young women and adolescents on safe sex and contraceptives that protect women from contracting STDs and STIs – especially life threatening conditions such as HIV and AIDS. If you believe you may have any of the above mentioned symptoms, it is essential to book an appointment with your gynaecologist to treat and manage a possible infection or disease.
How can I prevent a STD?
While non-barrier methods of contraception cannot protect a woman from contracting an STI or STD, practicing safe sex with a single monogamous partner, being tested before getting sexually involved and using condoms may protect you from contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
What are the treatment options?
By discussing your symptoms and medical history during a gynaecological consultation, Dr Makhubo will be able to diagnose your condition and provide you with options to relieve symptoms and treat the present infection or disease. Depending on the sexually transmitted disease you have been diagnosed with, your gynaecologist may suggest antibiotics or antiviral medications. Some infections can however not be cured such as HPV and Herpes, while others like HIV are more serious as they can be potentially life threatening if not managed properly.
Leaving a sexually transmitted infection untreated may result in further complications, like heart disease, cancer, infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and pregnancy risks. For this reason, it is important to seek medical advice from Dr Makhubo to accurately treat the infection and ensure it doesn’t become a serious health risk.