There's a reason why so many areas of medical practice focus specifically on womens health. Though women are statistically more likely to live longer than men, their bodies are also designed to be more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infection. STDs in women are one of the greatest threats to womens health today. For this reason, recognizing the signs of STDs in women is a critical step toward preserving females’ sexual health.
STDs: A Major Womens Health Epidemic
Chlamydia is the most widespread STD in the country, and for the past few years, female infection rates have surpassed those of men. Additionally, recent CDC data indicates that approximately 27 percent of annual new HIV infections occur in women. Furthermore, genital herpes is among one of the most problematic STDs, an infection that women are almost twice as likely to contract as males.
Recognizing Signs of STDs in Women
The ability to identify common STD symptoms is an essential component of preserving womens health. Though womens health issues following STD infection can vary based on a variety of factors, some widespread symptoms of STDs in women include:
Vaginal Discharge: Though vaginal discharge is fairly common among women and is often completely innocuous, the presence of thick, discolored discharge could signify Chlamydia infection, gonorrhea, or trichomoniasis. Unusual vaginal discharge may also be accompanied by a foul odor.
Painful Urination: Urinary tract health is a critical facet of womens health. Though pain during urination could point to a basic UTI, in some cases, this symptom can be attributed to gonorrhea, Chlamydia, or trichomoniasis.
Vaginal Sores: Though several factors can trigger vaginal irritation, the presence of sores is often indicative of an STD. Genital herpes, one of the biggest womens health issues today, can produce blistering sores that are painful in nature. Some herpes outbreaks, however, will be mild and unpronounced. Additionally, small, firm, painless sores in the genital region could signify syphilis.
Pain During Intercourse: In some cases, the presence of one or more STDs can result in painful intercourse for infected women. Chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis can all produce this effect.
Bleeding in Between Periods: For some women, spotting between periods is perfectly normal. For others, however, vaginal bleeding during this stage of the menstrual cycle could point to STDs such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Womens Health Maintained Via Treatment
Chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the most common STDs in women, can be cured completely via antibiotics, as can trichomoniasis. While there is currently no way to eliminate STDs such as herpes and HIV from the body, antiviral medications can target both infections, alleviate symptoms, and protect the body against disease progression.
Preserving Womens Health by Testing
According to the CDC, sexually active females should undergo annual STD testing for common infections such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, herpes, and HIV. HPV, another major womens health concern, should also be tested for on a yearly basis, as certain strains of the virus have the ability to cause cervical cancer.
Females who engage in unprotected sexual activity with multiple partners are advised to test more habitually than those in monogamous relationships. Additionally, women who are 25 or younger are said to be at an increased risk for STDs due to the relatively undeveloped nature of the female reproductive system at this point in a female's life.
STDs are a major womens health concern because many, if left undetected, can produce severe long-term consequences. Untreated gonorrhea and Chlamydia in particular are known to cause chronic pelvic pain, infertility, and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancies. Protecting womens health therefore hinges on STD testing and proper treatment for those at risk.
Common misspellings for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis include: klamydia, clamidia, chlamidia, klamidia, gonorrhoea, gonorrhoeao, ganaria, gonnorhea, gonorhea, sifilis, syphillis, siphilis