Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are transmitted during any type of sexual activity, including intercourse (vaginal or anal), oral sex and the sharing of sexual devices.
It is estimated that about one in four Americans has an STD. Common STDs in women include chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV and genital herpes.
Antibiotic treatment can cure STDs caused by bacteria, including chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea. No cure is available for some STDs like HIV or hepatitis B, but medications are available to manage these conditions.
Complications of STDs depend upon the specific type of illness, but pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility are complications of some STDs.
Condoms can protect against some, but not all, STDs and are never 100 percent effective.
Sometimes, there are no symptoms of STDs. If symptoms are present, they may include one or more of the following:
- Bumps, sores, blisters or warts near the mouth, anus or vagina
- Swelling or redness near the vagina
- Pain in your lower belly
- Skin rash
- Painful urination
- Weight loss, loose stools, night sweats
- Aches, pains, fever and chills
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
- Discharge from the vagina
- Vaginal odor
- Vaginal bleeding(other than during a monthly period)
- Painful sex
- Severe itching near the vagina
If you suspect that you may have an STD, make an appointment immediately. Early treatment can prevent lasting damage and illness.