Your sex life is private and you may prefer that it remain that way. But sometimes what happens behind bedroom doors doesn’t stay behind closed doors. Recently, STI (sexually transmitted infection) cases have been on the rise all around the world (specifically 20 percent this past year). Therefore, it is absolutely vital that we are well informed about STIs and that we are aware of the early symptoms before it becomes life-threatening. Here is what can happen if the five most deadly STIs go untreated.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, affecting more than 79 million people in the United States. It is especially dangerous because many people infected with HPV show no symptoms, and will pass it on to someone who may not show symptoms themselves until years later. When HPV goes untreated, it can manifest in two different symptoms—genital warts and cancer. HPV can be responsible for developing into the following types of cancers (usually several years after obtaining the infection): cervical, anal, oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the throat), vaginal, vulvar and penile.
Chlamydia is extremely dangerous if left untreated. Some of the subtle symptoms include pain and discharge in the genital area, as well as a burning sensation while urinating. When chlamydia goes unnoticed, the infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease which can result in permanent damage to the reproductive system. Pregnant women should always get tested for chlamydia as the infection can pass on to the baby, which may result in a premature birth or cause further complications, including pneumonia and eye issues.
Most of the time, there aren’t any visible symptoms of gonorrhea but rather, the infection spreads to areas that have devastating effects on the body. It can cause itching, pain and discharge in your rectum and genitals as well as infections in your eyes and throat. If the infection goes without treatment for an extended period of time, it can result in infertility of both men and women, joint pain and stiffness, and an increased susceptibility to HIV.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that will first show signs when a small, painless sore forms at the site where it was contracted. Many times, the lymph nodes will swell as the sore starts to grow. After a few weeks, the sore usually disappears and phase two of the infection begins. Phase two usually yields skin rashes, skin growths, hair loss and flu-like symptoms. Even worse, about 1 in 3 untreated syphilis cases will lead to symptoms as serious as a stroke, dementia, paralysis, blindness, heart disease, deafness and even death.
Many people infected with herpes will not be aware of it and can pass it on to other people without knowledge. Those who do show symptoms of the virus will often see small blisters that lead to painful ulcers along with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. The infection spreads through the sore, so wherever you were exposed is where you will show most of these symptoms. When you do not catch the virus early on, it can lead to a huge increase in your risk of contracting another STI, complications for the baby if you are pregnant, inflammation in the urethra which eventually will have to be drained, meningitis and rectal inflammation.
All of these STIs are treatable through the right professional care. To avoid them getting to a dangerous point, have honest conversations with each of your sexual par tners before engaging in activity with them, get the correct vaccinations to protect you against some STIs, and perhaps most importantly remember to use a latex condom or barrier each time you engage in sexual activity.