The 5 Most Common STDs for Women and Men – Learning the Dark Side of Sex

As human beings, sexual intercourse is a natural part of our lives. We take part in the process to have fun, and we even do it to just repopulate the planet – but there’s always going to be some negative side effects; ones in which you’ll be putting yourself at risk of contracting. Whenever an STD is brought up within a conversation, it’s going to be a relatively quick one. Nobody wants to deal with any of these venereal diseases, but some of them are actually quite common. Many of them have a social stigma surrounding the symptoms that they’ve got you dealing with, but a lot of them are also treatable.

This is a list that’s going to run through 5 of the most commons STD’s around right now, and it’s also going to explain how you can go about treating them (if they’re treatable); as well as what the symptoms may happen to be. Practice safe sex and you’ll never need to worry about contracting any of these ailments, but if you’re currently suffering from some sort of symptom (in regards to your genitalia, or plenty of other things), this is a piece of writing that you’re going to find rather useful.

STD’s aren’t something that you want to deal with throughout your life, but if it’s something that you absolutely must conquer, you’ll need to do it in the proper manner. Using the information presented today, understanding the 5 most common STD’s around has never been easier.

#1 HPV

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is a series of viruses that can cause warts on your hands, feet and even your genitals (in this case, more specifically your genitals). It’s something that will increase the risk of you developing cervical cancer (for women) as well. There’s about a 50% rate of infection when it comes to anybody who has ever had sex – that’s right, it’s about as common as flipping a coin and calling the right side. Most of the time people aren’t even going to realize that they’ve been hit with the virus, as they won’t develop any symptoms and the virus infection will go away by itself. There are around 100 different viruses that are related within this “STD group”, and the phrase “papilloma” is a reference to the warts that develop from this ailment.

How Does HPV Work?

The HPV virus lives within the epithelial cells of your body. These are the flat cells that you’ll find on the surface of your skin, as well as the surface of many other orifices (like the vagina, the anus, the vulva, the penis and in some cases even your cervix) – out of the 100 different viruses that make up HPV, about 60 of them will attribute to the cause of warts on your body without affecting the genitals. The other 40 (or so) viruses will focus on none other than your genitals (and only your genitals).

It spreads through direct contact with another person’s skin whom is suffering from the virus, so this would pertain to things like: genital skin, any sort of mucous membranes and even bodily fluids. This is all stuff that can be passed through intercourse, infected skin can’t pass on the virus if there’s a condom being used – that means practice safe sex everybody! If you don’t show any symptoms of HPV, neither you or your partner are going to know that the virus is being transferred.

How Can I Protect Myself?

One thing that’s been reassured again and again throughout this piece is that safe sex is the key here – you can’t contract any diseases if you’re handling your sexual intercourse process in the safest way possible. HPV is a very common virus, and as such, you should be taking every precaution possible to potentially avoid contracting it.

#2 Chlamydia

Chlamydia happens to be one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases on the planet, and the fact that there are limited symptoms (and in most cases, there’s essentially none) means it’s going to spread quite quickly. You may have even been passed the disease without the person who has it, actually knowing they’ve developed it. In all honesty, about 75% of the infections will occur in women without symptoms, while about 50% will occur in men (also without symptoms); this is according to the CDC.

How Can I Tell If I’ve Got Chlamydia?

You aren’t going to be going through the easiest process around without knowing whether you have it or not, and the fact that symptoms don’t always show up isn’t going to make things any better. If the symptoms do happen to flair up on your genitals, they’re going to become pretty obvious (and fast) – for women some of the symptoms would be:

  • Vaginal discharge that has a strange odour to it
  • Abdominal pains that are mixed with a fever
  • Itching or a burning sensation located around your vagina
  • Pain when you’re urinating/having sexual intercourse
  • Periods that are relatively painful

If you’re a man and you seriously think that you’re dealing with Chlamydia, the symptoms are going to be a little different (although somewhat the same) – and they are as follows:

  • Painful urination
  • Itching and burning sensations around the tip and opening of your penis
  • Both swelling and pain in regards to your testicles
  • Cloudy discharge in very small amounts from the tip of your penis

A doctor can diagnose you with a swab test, all they’ll need to do is get a DNA sample from the problem area on your body.

Chlamydia Treatment

It’s treated through the use of antibiotics, and potentially other types of medicines. After you’ve gone through a full cycle of antibiotics, you should go back to your doctor and get tested after 3 months – just to make sure that the infection is completely removed.

#3 Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is the third installment of “common STD” within our little article here, and it’s also one of the more common types that you could develop. Every single year, the United States sees about 700,000 new cases of gonorrhea (this is according to the CDC, of course). Another term for this ailment is the “Clap” or even the “Drip” – and that’s because you get a dripping sensation of discharge from your genitals when dealing with it. It’s a disease that is not only common, but treated with ease as well – as long as your doctor is competent enough to understand the situation.

What Causes Gonorrhea?

It’s caused by a form of bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae, it’s a bacterium that’s able to grow and multiply itself seeming instantaneously. This kind of bacteria can promote itself in a variety of settings, but it prefers the warm and moist areas of the reproductive system. This means that the cervix, uterus and even the fallopian tubes are at risk – as well as the bladder and urethra (this would apply to men as well). As if that wasn’t enough, the bacteria can even promote self-growth inside of your mouth, throat and anus as well.

How Do I Check If I’ve Got Gonorrhea?

There are a lot of specific symptoms that will apply to the Gonorrhea infection, and it’s important to identify them as quickly as possible. You need to know when you should look out for treatment, as symptoms can pop up well after 10-days (or so) of being exposed. Here are the symptoms for women suffering from Gonorrhea:

  • Greenish-yellow (or even white) discharge from the vagina
  • Pelvic or lower abdomen pain that is consistent
  • Burning while you’re urinating
  • Red and incredibly itchy eyes (Conjunctivitis)
  • Bleeding BETWEEN your periods
  • The process of “spotting” occurs after sexual intercourse
  • Swelling of the vulva (which is known as vulvitis)
  • Burning of the throat (due to an infection from oral sex)
  • Swollen throat glands (also from oral sex)

Although all of these symptoms ring true, sometimes you won’t even realize them because they are so mild.
Here are some of the symptoms in men – because this isn’t a disease that’s limited by gender! They are as follows:

  • Greenish yellow (or white) discharge from the tip of your penis
  • A burning sensation while you urinate
  • Burning in your throat (chalk that up to oral sex, again!)
  • Testicles that are somewhat swollen or painful
  • Throat glands that are somewhat swollen in your throat (also due to oral sex)

Gonorrhea Treatment Options

It’s definitely a treatable disease, and if you don’t treat it quickly (in women), it could lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. That’s going to lead to many heightened risks, such as developing damage to your fallopian tubes. It could also even lead to infertility, which is never a good thing any women to be dealing with. In men, failing to treat it could lead to epididymitis – a very painful testicular condition.

It’s treated through the use of antibiotics, and it’s critical that you tell anyone you’ve had sex with recently that you’re infected – it could save them a lot of trouble when all is said and done.

#4 Syphilis

You may not have thought that Syphilis was going to be one of the more common STD’s you needed to worry about, but that’s exactly what it happens to be! Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is developed through the Treponema pallidum bacteria. It actually used to be a rather large health threat to the public, as people were dying from this illness up until the 1940’s (where an effective treatment was finally developed!). That’s when penicillin came into play and started helping people deal with all sorts of infections, and apparently, the CDC has stated that the number of Syphilis cases we see every single year is continuously dropping.

In 2000, it also happened to meet a new time low for the amount of people being inflicted with the virus. Although that was great news, the virus doubled back up in numbers from 2005 to 2013 – meaning lots of people are refusing to practice safe sex.

The Symptoms of Syphilis

Understanding whether you’ve got Syphilis or not isn’t rocket science, the symptoms are pretty obvious and can get rather serious if you don’t manage them properly. When you’ve got the early variety of Syphilis, you’ll begin to develop sores on your genitals. They’re usually ulcers that looks rather nasty, but don’t hurt too much – they tend to occur on your genitals or inside of your mouth (as well as inside). Even if you don’t get proper treatment, these will usually heal within six or so weeks (and they won’t leave a scar, either).

The secondary stage of Syphilis is a little more serious, and it has the potential to last all the way up to three months! It begins around six weeks (all the way up to six months) after being exposed, so you may not notice the symptoms for an extended period of time. If you’re in this stage, you may also have some sort of “copper and penny like” rash. It happens on your hands and the soles of your feet most of the time – but also has the ability to appear elsewhere. You may also experience swollen lymph glands, some fever and even weight loss. Secondary Syphilis isn’t nice to deal with, but it’s still able to be resolved without treatment.

Latent Syphilis is where the infection lies dormant inside of your body, thus, you never have to deal with any of the symptoms. Tertiary Syphilis is a very big deal, as it’s when the virus escalates after not being treated for an extended period of time – at this point, it’s going to put you at risk for heart and brain problems. It could even prove to be fatal if you don’t treat it in time!

Syphilis Treatment Options

Antibiotics are ideal, regardless of what kind of Syphilis you may have. After you’ve been confirmed of having the virus, you should let every single person you may have had sex with as of recent – you should tell essentially everybody is possible. They’ll need to be inspected themselves, and it very well could save their lives. Follow up blood tests will need to be done in order to make sure that your body has rid itself of the infection, just remember that antibiotics cannot reverse the physical damage of late stage Syphilis; it can still, however, conquer the virus as a whole.

#5 Herpes

Herpes is one of those STD’s that you’ve more than likely already heard of, and you may have even already had to deal with an outbreak or two. This is not only a very common virus, but it’s also one of the most contagious ones that you’ll have to look out for. The infection itself is almost always caused by a the HSV-1 or HSV-2 virus; both of these are named the “herpes simplex virus-2” and “herpes simplex virus-1”, respectively. These are the viruses that are responsible for most cold sores.

Herpes Symptoms

There are many tell-tale signs that somebody is dealing with herpes, but there are also plenty of times where the inflicted person won’t show any symptoms at all. When you’re dealing with an HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection, you’re dealing with a viral invasion that begins on the surface of your skin. It works its way into the crevices on the surface, and travels alongside nerve paths. In some cases, it might become dormant (which merely means it will remain inactive) in the nerves and just sit there for the rest of its natural born life.

You may be infected with this virus and not even know it, as it may take a few days (or even a few months) for any sort of symptom to actually appear. This timeframe is based off of the time in which you’ve come in contact with the genitals of somebody who was infected. If the symptoms occur very soon after somebody has been infected with the virus, they are more than often relatively severe. The sores will start off as blisters, and then eventually work their way into burst open sores; after that, they scab over and begin to heal (a process in which would take a few weeks).

You may also notice that you’ve developed some flu-like symptoms with a fever of sorts, as well as lymph nodes that appear to be (or feel) swollen.

Herpes Treatment

Your doctor is going to put you through tests to see whether you’re actually dealing with the infection or not, and if you are, they’ll go about prescribing you the proper medicine. There are specific kinds of medicines out there that will be prescribed to you in the case of a Herpes infection, and the three main ones would be:

  • Acyclovir
  • Famciclovir
  • Valacyclovir

There are other variations of these medicines, but these are the three main ones that doctors look towards helping their patients deal with Herpes. Herpes isn’t an easy STD to deal with by any means, but it’s most definitely one of the most common ones around.

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Honorable Mention: HIV – Is It Really That Common?

HIV is one of those diseases that you never want to contract, especially since the fatality rare is relatively high. Although this wouldn’t exactly be one of the most common STD’s that you could list out there, it’s definitely one of the most dangerous – it’s important to know that HIV is far from curable. Once you’ve gotten it, you’re going to have it for the rest of your life; that’s why safe sex is such a crucial component of life.

HIV has the potential to not only negatively impact your life in a serious manner, but it could kill you as well. It’s one of those STD’s that isn’t going to go away by itself, and it should never be taken lightly. Get tested!