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Top 5 irreversible health conditions that STIs can give you

The silent symptoms make these sexually transmitted infections more complex and difficult to treat. ©shutterstock

Sexually transmitted infections are usually manageable, but care should be taken to get proper and timely treatment. If ignored, they can result in life-threatening medical conditions.

Sexually transmitted infections are very common and are usually the result of unsafe sex. You may get these infections if you have unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person. Another name for these infections is sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or venereal diseases (VD). Sometimes, these infections may also be transmitted through shared needles and via breastfeeding. A newborn may get them from an infected mother. Sometimes, a person suffering from some of these diseases may exhibit no symptoms. However, the silent symptoms make these sexually transmitted infections more complex and difficult to treat. If left untreated, they can cause irreversible damage to your body and may even cause death. Here is a low-down on the irrevbersible health diseases you may end up with if sexually transmitted infections are not addressed on time.

Chlamydia

This is quite common. It affects both men and women. Chlamydia is dangerous because you may go for months without exhibiting any symptoms. Symptoms are usually an abnormal vaginal discharge and a burning sensation when urinating in women.

Men may notice a discharge from their penis, experience a burning sensation while urinating and pain and swelling in one or both testicles. Repeat infection is very common. Condoms, if properly used, may offer protection. You doctor may recommend antibiotics for treatment of this disease.

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Health effects: Repeat infection happens a lot in this disease. But your doctor can easily cure it with antibiotic medication. But if left untreated, it can cause permanent infertility in both men and women, put you at increased risk of contracting HIV. It also increases the risk of urethritis in men.

Other risks are pelvic Inflammatory disease and miscarriage and/or pre-term labour in women. If a mother has this disease then her baby may suffer from premature delivery, conjunctivitis, lung infections, pneumonia and ear infections.

Gonorrhoea

This disease can be transmitted by sexual contact with an infected person through the penis, vagina, anus, mouth or eye. It affects the reproductive tract as well as the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, eyes, and rectum. Though antibiotics can treat and cure gonorrhoea, many strains of this disease are now becoming antibiotic-resistant. If you practise unsafe sex, you must go in for regular screening.

Health effects: If left untreated, this sexually transmitted disease can lead to scarring of the Fallopian tubes. It can cause ectopic pregnancies or miscarriage and infertility in women. Inflammation of the prostate, scarring of the urethra and infertility in men are common side-effects of this diseases. Babies born to mothers with this disease may suffer from blindness, serious joint infections and deadly blood infections.

Herpes

This is very common. This infection can lie dormant for years without exhibiting any symptoms. There is no cure for this disease though doctors may recommend antiviral drugs to shorten outbreaks and decrease infectiousness. They may also prescribe medication to relieve symptoms of redness, itchiness and tingling.

Health effects: This disease is not life-threatening, but it is not curable either. But if you leave it untreated, outbreaks may become severe and you may suffer from open sores. This can put you at risk of other infections. Some herpes viruses, like HSV-1 and HSV-2, can cause meningitis and encephalitis. Even babies may be susceptible to these conditions if they contract herpes from their mother during childbirth.

Syphilis

This sexually transmitted diseases makes its presence felt via a painless sore on the genitals. In later stages it can manifest as a skin rash. This may disappear after some time with or without treatment. In fact, a person may not exhibit any symptoms for many years after this. In this late stage, say after maybe 20 years of getting infected, it can cause irreversible life-threatening complications. It can damage the brain, nerves, eyes or heart. Doctors use penicillin to treat this condition.

Health effects: If left untreated, this disease can manifest as soft, spongy balls of inflammation all over the body and bones. It can cause large sores on the skin and inside the body. This causes internal bleeding, enlargement of the liver and/or spleen, deformations, dementia, aneurysm, loss of motor functions, seizures and even death.

Chancroid

This condition is easily curable if treated properly. This bacterial infection causes open sores on or around the genitals of men and women. It is more prevalent in developing nations and among the poorer sections of people. Commercial sex workers are also more prone to this disease. This infection is also transmitted via skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to treat this condition. In severe cases, it may require surgery.

Health effects: Left untreated, this disease may cause permanent scarring on the genitals of men and lead to serious complications and infections in women including infertility. It may also increase your risk of other STDs.

Hepatitis B

You may get this disease if you come in contact with infected semen, blood and other bodily fluids. You may get it if you have unprotected sex or use an unsterilised syringe. Transfusion with infected blood is also another way that you may get infected. Babies may get it from infected mothers. This can cause severe liver damage, and this can eventually lead to cancer. Symptoms are usually absent and, hence, a person may unknowingly pass it on to an unsuspecting partner.

Health effects: If left untreated, this condition can cause chronic liver disease and liver failure. It can lead to liver cancer and even death. Vaccines can prevent this disease. Usually, hepatitis B vaccinations come in three doses administered over several months for total immunity and protection from the virus.

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