What All Women Need to Know About STDs

Here’s an alarming fact: At this moment, more than 110 million Americans have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Even more alarming is that you could be part of this statistic and not even realize it. The truth is that many STDs don’t have obvious symptoms, which is potentially why so many men and women have an STD that they’re not aware of. 

Dr. Essam Taymour, of Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group in Long Beach, California, offers routine testing and treatment of common STDs. In this blog, Dr. Taymour discusses what all women need to know about STDs so you can be proactive about your sexual health.

STDs don’t always cause symptoms

Sexually transmitted diseases are very common, and treatment is often easy and effective. But if you don’t know you have an STD, you’re probably not going to seek treatment, either. If you’re a sexually active woman, you could have any of the following STDs without symptoms:

Because untreated STDs can cause serious health problems down the road, it’s important to let us know you want to be tested during your next women’s wellness exam. 

If you do experience symptoms of an active STD, they may include:

Some of these are not obvious signs of a sexually transmitted disease, so if you’ve recently had sex with a new partner, or if you believe you’ve been exposed to someone with an STD, pay attention to the signs so you can seek prompt testing and treatment. 

Untreated STDs may cause infertility

Untreated sexually transmitted diseases can cause or contribute to some serious health issues, and infertility is one of them. If you’re considering becoming pregnant, getting tested for the most common STDs is essential to your health and the potential for a healthy pregnancy. 

For example, untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea — both bacterial infections — can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes. If this happens, you could end up with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to scarring in your reproductive organs, and permanent damage may occur that makes it difficult for you to conceive.

Untreated STDs can cause pregnancy complications

If you’re already pregnant, or planning to start a family, you need to be tested for STDs. Typically, during your first prenatal visit, we screen for: 

We may also recommend screening for hepatitis C and gonorrhea at least once during your pregnancy if you’re at risk for these diseases. 

You can pass STDs to your baby during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. This potentially causes your baby to be born with an eye infection, pneumonia, or chronic liver disease, to name a few.

If you do have an STD, you can still be treated while you’re pregnant in many cases. And we can provide education on steps you can take to reduce the chance of passing the infection to your baby. 

STD testing is important at various stages of your life

Regardless of sexual habits, and whether you’re considering a future pregnancy, there are guidelines for when and how often you should get tested for STDs.

According to CDC guidelines, women between the ages of 13 and 64 need at least one HIV test. Sexually active women under 25 should be tested for certain STDs annually, and older women who are at risk should also get tested annually. 

Based on your individual needs, we can help you determine the types and frequency of necessary STD testing to keep you safe and healthy at every stage of life.

Most STDs are easily treated

Testing is simple and treatment is effective for many types of sexually transmitted diseases. Just as you would take antibiotics to get rid of an ear infection or strep throat, treatment for an STD may be just as uncomplicated and sufficient.

Depending on the STD and your symptoms, Dr. Taymour may recommend a combination of oral and topical medications to fight the infection and mitigate unpleasant symptoms. 

At Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group, STD testing is confidential and administered by our compassionate team. Call us at 562-247-3038 to schedule a test, or request the next available appointment online today. 

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