No matter if you are young or old, married or single, gay or straight; being sexually active is part of a healthy lifestyle, but only when it’s done right. The more sexual partners you have or the more promiscuous your lifestyle is, the more chances there are that you can get Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). But all that can be prevented by using proper protection and by learning about them and that’s why we have compiled this basic information about STDs for you.
What are sexually transmitted diseases?
Sexually transmitted diseases are all those diseases that are mainly transmitted through sexual intercourse. They are also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases. The abbreviations STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are also often used.
Sexually transmitted diseases can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or protozoa. Some pathogens can also be transmitted by other means than sexual intercourse, eg through a smear infection, direct blood contact or from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth.
Sexually transmitted diseases are most common in women and men in the 20-30 age groups. Consistent use of condoms offers the best protection.
What are the most common sexually transmitted diseases?
The most common sexually transmitted diseases include, for example, infections with chlamydia and Trichomonad (trichomoniasis) as well as Herpes genitalia, Humane Papillomaviren (HPV) Gonorrhoe (Tripper), Syphilis (Lues, harter Schanker), soft chancre and HIV & AIDS. Other diseases such as Hepatitis B and Candida albicans (Candidiasis), can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. In the majority of these diseases, other transmission routes can lead to infection in addition to sexual intercourse.
What symptoms and complications can occur?
Not only the pathogens, but also the possible symptoms are different in a sexually transmitted disease. Common symptoms of STDs include:
- (Smelly) discharge,
- Pain or burning when urinating,
- Genital itching,
- Genital ulcers (ulcerations),
- Inflammatory swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin,
- Scrotal swelling,
- Abdominal pain,
- General signs of illness ( e.g. Fever, tiredness, loss of appetite),
- In women too cycle disorders.
STDs often cause no symptoms and go unnoticed and untreated for a long time. Some STDs can lead to severe consequential damage such as infertility (e.g. Chlamydia, gonorrhea) or cancer (e.g. HPV). Depending on the pathogen, infected pregnant women can develop malformations in the womb or can have a miscarriage or can even infect the child with congenital syphilis.
How to prevent sexually transmitted diseases?
The safest protection against a sexually transmitted disease and the associated damage to health offers consistent prevention by means of Condom. This applies equally to vaginal, anal and oral sex. The use of a condom is the be-all and end-all, especially if you have different sexual partners.
In addition, general hygiene measures are important to prevent possible transmission smear infections to avoid. Against individual pathogens (e.g. HPV, hepatitis B) are also available vaccinations to disposal.
Why is it important to protect yourself?
In recent years, an increase in “classic” venereal diseases has been observed internationally. This is primarily due to unprotected sex: there is a widespread belief that the “classic” STDs have practically disappeared. Many people therefore feel safe and refrain from using condoms. Protection against infection is still important.
Whom can I ask?
If you have symptoms or a suspected infection, you can contact the following places for diagnosis and therapy:
- Specialists in dermatology and venereology,
- Specialists in urology and andrology,
- Specialists in gynecology and obstetrics.
Even a general practitioner can also help you, or at the very least refer you to a specialist. If you don’t have the option to visit a doctor, then get as much information as you can from the internet. But make sure that your information is correct and reliable, as there is plenty of misleading information and internet hoaxes on the internet like blue wafflé disease, which is only there to scare you. But ultimately your best bet is using protection and going to a doctor when needed.