What are STI’s?
Sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) are infections or viruses spread from person to person by intimate physical contact or through sexual intercourse. Common STI’s include chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, genital herpes, and syphilis.
Aside from colds and the flu, STI’s are the most common contagious (easily spread) infections in the United States. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that there are millions of new cases each year, so it’s important to know the facts when it comes to protecting your body.
How Can I Protect Myself?
The good news is, there are a lot of different ways you can protect yourself. You can reduce your risk by of contracting an STI by:
- Limiting your number of sexual partners.
- Using protection (such as condoms) every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
- Making sure you are up to date on all of your immunizations. Vaccinations are available for hepatitis B as well as some forms of HPV.
Regular screening is also key to catching an STI early if you do contract an infection.
“It’s recommended that sexually active women between the ages of 15 and 25 have at least an annual gonorrhea and chlamydia screening,” Dr .Gass says.
There are some STI’s that can be cured, but early detection is important.
“Additional screening can be offered for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis C, and other STI’s,” Dr. Gass says.
What are the Most Common Symptoms of an STI?
Some of the most common STI symptoms to look out for include:
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Sores, bumps, rashes, or blisters in the genital or anal area
- Abnormal discharge
- Redness or swelling in the genital area
- Pain in the pelvic or abdominal area
- Pain, soreness, irritation, or other discomfort during intercourse
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Recurring yeast infections
If you believe you are at risk for contracting an STI, it is very important to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.
“Sexually transmitted infections can have an impact on future fertility,” Dr. Gass says.
During pregnancy, STI’s can also cause harm to the fetus. If you are pregnant and you or your partner have had -- or may have -- an STI, be sure to inform your doctor so you can work out a treatment plan that will decrease the chances of your child getting the infection.
Schedule An Appointment
“If you have concerns about STI’s or believe you could need screening, please talk to your healthcare provider,” Dr. Gass says.
At Women’s Care, our providers are devoted to you and your health. That means having the most advanced techniques, up-to-date educational information, and a compassionate, caring staff.
To schedule an appointment with one of our providers to discuss STI screening or any other health related topic, please call us at 920-729-7105 or click here.