If you are sexually active, contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI)is a real possibility. Some STIs such as Syphilis and HIV are symptomatic, which means that they can stay in the body for a while but will start showing symptoms. On the other hand, some STIs such as Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia are asymptomatic, which means they may not show symptoms but can lead to side effects. This is why it is advisable to get tested regularly and practice safe sexual practices. Here is what you need to know about symptomless STIs.
This is one of the most common symptomless STIs. It is also referred to as a ‘silent infection,’ because it does not show symptoms in most people. Statistics show that Chlamydia is the most common STI that affects sexually active women under the age of 25. It is transmitted through sexual contact with an infected partner. It can be transmitted through sexual penetration or oral sex with an infected partner. Chlamydia may also be transmitted during child-birth through an infected mother to her child. An exposed infant may develop pneumonia or conjunctivitis. While Chlamydia may not show symptoms in most people, it can make women infertile if left untreated.
Symptoms, testing and treatment of Chlamydia
Chlamydia does not show symptoms in most infected people. However, some people may develop symptoms several weeks after having sexual intercourse with an infected person. A common symptom among most women is having an abnormal vaginal discharge and feeling a burning sensation when they are urinating. Men may also experience a burning sensation while urinating as well as having a discharge from their penis. Although not very common, some men may experience swelling and pain in their testicles. Chlamydia may also infect the rectum of both men and women who have anal sex or when it spreads from an infected area such as a vagina to the rectum. People with chlamydia in the rectum may experience symptoms such as a discharge, rectal pain and bleeding. If you show these symptoms, it is advisable to get tested. Testing will usually involve laboratory tests to diagnose the STI. With the right Chlamydia treatment, it can be completely cured. However, it can recur if a person engages in sexual intercourse with an infected partner.
Gonorrhoea is also another common symptomless STI. It is caused by the Neisseria Gonorrhoea bacteria. This bacterium is mostly present in vaginal fluid or penis discharge. It is mostly transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, anal or oral sex. It can also be passed through sharing of unwashed sex toys. Gonorrhoeacan affect areas such as the urethra, cervix and rectum. It can also affect areas such as the eyes or throat, although this is not very common. Gonorrhoea can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby while giving childbirth. If a child born with Gonorrhoea does not receive treatment, there is chances of developing permanent blindness. However, it cannot be spread through hugging, kissing, sharing towels, cups or plates. This is because the bacteria causing the STI does not have the ability to survive outside the body for long.
Symptoms, testing and treatment of Gonorrhoea
It is estimated that almost half of infected women, and almost 1 in 10 men do not show any symptoms. However, some of the symptoms that may show include a yellow or thick green discharge from the penis or vagina, bleeding between periods, and experiencing pain when urinating. If you suspect you have any symptoms or have had sexual intercourse with an infected person, it is advisable to get tested as soon as possible. Testing Gonorrhoea usually involves testing a discharge swab or carrying out a urine test. Treatment of Gonorrhoea usually involves an antibiotic injection or tablet. It is highly advisable to get tested for Gonorrhoea since its long-term effects may include infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). In addition, since it can be contracted again, those who are treated are advised to practice safe sexual practices.