Many women, regardless of age, know very little about the sexually transmitted diseases they could be susceptible to – or even have without knowing. While that’s certainly understandable (we have so many things to remember and prepare for without adding that in!), our sexual health should be just as important as our physical or mental health. The symptoms of an STD can be a minor annoyance, or they can seriously affect you.
One out of every four Americans between the ages of 15 and 55 will catch at least one sexually transmitted infection, and they are the most common among teens and young adults, as about 65% of these infections happen to those under 25.
What You Should Know
While many STDs may not show up through symptoms, others do, and they’re generally in the same ballpark: sores or blisters on or around the genital area or in your mouth, pain or burning during urination, itching or swelling in or around the vagina, unusual vaginal discharge, pain in your pelvic area, or bleeding other than during your period. While these symptoms might not mean an STD, they likely mean something serious anyway, so make sure you talk to your doctor.
STDs are spread via contact with bodily fluids, or contact with infected skin or membranes (think your mouth). That means oral sex is also a way to contract an STD.
So, as you might have heard, prevention is key. While abstinence is the only guaranteed way to do so, you can always practice safe sex by using a condom Every. Single. Time. If you like lube, make sure it’s water-based, which will keep the condom from breaking. And, make sure any partners you plan to stay with are tested for STDs, to make sure you’re safe. Some STDs are incurable, while others can worsen without treatment. If you discover you have one and receive treatment, you could still contract the same disease again if you’re not practicing safe sex.
The effects of having an STD on your body can be very serious. Along with pain in your genital or pelvic areas, you could become infertile, damage your brain, negatively affect your heart, cause birth defects in any children you have, and increase your risk for some types of cancer.
Given the ways your body can be affected by STDs, and that it’s pretty easy to make sure you’re protected, make sure you’re taking the right steps. If you think you might have symptoms, or just want to be tested to be sure, schedule a visit with your doctor today by clicking below. We look forward to hearing from you!