Dedicated Women’s Healthcare Specialists offers Puyallup, WA and South Sound area patients access to rapid screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. You will be given the information to prevent the spread of, and care for STDs, as well as education about safe sex practices.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Q & A
What is a Sexually Transmitted Disease?
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are diseases which occur because of infections which are transmitted from one individual to another via sexual contact or intercourse. While many STD have associated symptoms that will bring the patient to see a doctor, they can occur without symptoms or can reveal symptoms months or even years following contraction of the disease. STDs are also called sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. It’s very common for individuals to use the term STD even when there are no symptoms present, or when it would be an STI. Many of the diseases can be effectively treated but some may cause extremely serious complications and can even be fatal if left undiagnosed.
What Types of STDs are there?
There are many types of STDs. Sadly, they are very common. More than 50% of all individuals in America will contract an STD or STI at least once in their lives. Types of STDs include:
- Chlamydia- This is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. It is mostly asymptomatic in women and it is recommended that all sexually active women undergo screening for this infection annually until age 25. In women, this can cause infection of the fallopian tubes causing permanent damage leading to infertility. Therefore, it is very important to be screened for this condition.
- Genital Warts- Sometimes called venereal warts, these are caused by HPV (human papillomavirus). Warts are growths that appear in the genital area and looks like cauliflower. There are many subtypes of this virus and only certain types cause genital warts while others can cause cancer of the cervix and throat.
- Genital Herpes- This commonly causes painful ulcers. Once acquired, this virus stays with you for life although it can be successfully managed.
- Gonorrhea- This infection may cause discharge but can be asymptomatic in many women.
- Crabs or Pubic Lice- These are small insects that are found in pubic hair and elsewhere and can cause severe itching.
- Scabies- This is a parasitic infection in which mites burrow under the surface of the skin and cause an allergic reaction.
- Hepatitis B- This is infection of the liver that can cause jaundice and can be transmitted sexually. Chronic infection can also lead to liver cancer.
- HIV & AIDS
- Cervical Cancer- Most cervical cancers (more than 90%) are caused by Human Papillomavirus, or HPV which is sexually transmitted. Therefore, it can be considered a STD. HPV can also cause cancers at other sites such as vulva and throat.
- Molluscum Contagiosum- This can cause small bumps on the genital skin.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, or PID- This usually involves one or more of the sexually transmitted bacteria that moves from the vagina to the fallopian tubes and beyond and cause pelvic pain, fever, and sometimes abscess. It is a very serious infection that can cause infertility in many women.
- Syphilis- This can cause genital ulcer but can involve other organs.
- Trichomoniasis- This is a parasite that causes vaginal discharge, odor, and itching.
Can These Be Prevented? What Type of Treatments Are There?
People can protect themselves and each other from acquiring STDs. Employing safe sex technique such as using condoms helps an individual to significantly reduce the likelihood of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. However, this unfortunately does not eliminate the risk entirely. If you develop any symptoms that you think may be related to a STD, you should come in to be examined and undergo appropriate diagnostic testing or screening. If you are in a new relationship with a partner, this is also a good time to be screened for various STDs. Most STDs can be successfully treated and managed once diagnosed. Many conditions require treatment of all sexual partners in order to prevent reinfection. It is very important to follow instructions when treatment is provided. Treatment may require oral medication, injection, topical cream, or a procedure including surgery.