STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, are infections that are transferred via sexual intercourse, oral sex or kissing.
What are STDs?
STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, are infections that are transferred via sexual intercourse, oral sex or kissing. If a woman develops an STD during pregnancy, it may lead to complications and could affect the baby. Sexually transmitted diseases include viruses such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), HPV (human papillomavirus), herpes and genital warts, bacterial infections such as syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia, and parasites such as pubic lice and Trichomonas vaginalis.
What are the symptoms?
STD symptoms depend on the type of infection that you’ve contracted. As an OB/GYN, we will cover the symptoms as they pertain to women:
- HIV – flu-like symptoms, along with a rash, swollen lymph nodes, mouth ulcers and muscle aches.
- HPV – genital warts that can cause itchiness, pain and discomfort.
- Herpes – genital pain and sores.
- Syphilis – painless sores, non-itchy skin rashes, small skin growths in the vulva, flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph glands, weight and hair loss.
- Gonorrhea -symptoms may be mild, but it comes with a risk of developing serious complications. You may experience a burning or painful sensation when urinating, vaginal bleeding between periods and increased vaginal discharge.
- Chlamydia – symptoms are not usually noticeable, but you may experience a burning sensation during urination and an abnormal vaginal discharge.
- Pubic lice -intense itching in the pubic hair area.
- Trichomonas vaginalis – discomfort during urination, thin discharges or a change in volume or color and itching, redness, soreness or burning of the genitals.
What kind of tests do doctors conduct for sexual transmitted diseases?
STD tests vary from person to person, based on the symptoms. A Pap test and a physical exam can often provide the information needed to make a diagnosis. Blood tests can be done to check for syphilis and herpes, since they require blood samples. HIV/AIDS can be tested by collecting a swab of saliva or a blood sample. For gonorrhea and chlamydia, urine tests and a microscopic exam of vaginal discharge will be conducted.
What are my risks of contracting an STD?
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of getting an STD. Condoms and other protective steps should be taken to decrease your chances of contracting or spreading a sexually transmitted disease. Most STDs can be spread orally, so you can get them from kissing someone with a sexually transmitted disease.
Treatments in the greater Los Angeles area
STD treatments will depend on the diagnosis. In some cases, as with herpes, your symptoms can be relieved but not cured. Antibiotics are used to treat gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia. Prescription medication can be taken to rid your body of parasitic STDs. At Taaly Silberstein OB/GYN & Aesthetics, women in the greater Los Angeles area can make appointments to receive the proper diagnosis and treatments. Practicing in Tarzana, Dr. Silberstein can answer any questions or concerns that you have about your body, with regard to sexually transmitted diseases. To get tested, request an appointment by calling (818) 996-3200.