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When it comes to sexually transmitted infections (STI) or sexually transmitted diseases (STD), most people do not even know they’re infected. That’s why today, let’s shed some light on certain types of STIs that show few or no symptoms. And if left untreated, they can even hamper your reproductive health and even fertility.
There are numerous types of STIs that may or may not show symptoms. Infections with symptoms can be easily detected and cured. However, STIs without symptoms might be difficult to even diagnose, as these infections can potentially exist without exhibiting any symptoms at all.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Shalini Vijay, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Lullanagar to find out about the types of STIs that cause hardly any symptoms and are therefore hard to recognize.
Gonorrhoea is one of the most common STIs and it is caused by a bacteria known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae. A large number of women with gonorrhoea do not have any obvious signs, and this can cause severe problems. Dr Vijay says, “It can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, scar tissues that block the fallopian tubes, difficulty in pregnancy, and chronic abdominal pain.”
This infection can pass from person to person via unprotected oral, vaginal, and anal sex. You may experience vaginal yeast, sore throat, vaginal discharge, frequent urination, lower abdominal pain, fever, spotting, and heavier periods.
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection seen in a majority of people. It spreads by oral, anal, and vaginal sex and is caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. It happens in the age group of 15- 24 years. Dr Vijay says, “It is known as a silent disease as it can lead to the scarring of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and endometrial lining. It even invites tubal infertility and ectopic pregnancy.” Pregnant women with this infection run the risk of passing it on to their unborn children during birth.
It’s a blood-borne, sexually transmissible virus. “Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a sexually transmitted disease that can go undetected for a long time. People with HIV may have flu-like symptoms that are not noticed by a person who is not aware of them,” says Dr Vijay. If a person gets HIV and does not get treatment, then he or she can later get AIDS.
An STI called genital herpes can be spread during oral, anal, and vaginal sex. However, the chances of transmission of this type of herpes are comparatively low. A person with genital herpes may not have any symptoms or may only have minor ones. For this reason, many individuals are unable to identify and cure the condition. Small, painful sores and ulcers, painful urination, and atypical vaginal discharge are all possible effects of this infection.
Trichomoniasis happens due to a protozoan parasite that is commonly seen in women. Sometimes, a few women may experience pain with urination or intercourse, redness, a burning sensation, itching, or even smelly vaginal discharge. However, “Trichomoniasis in a large number of men and women will not lead to any symptoms,” says Dr Vijay.
If you do experience any symptoms such as unusual vaginal discharge, increased urination, foul smelling urine, lower abdominal pain, pain during sexual intercourse, painful urination, bleeding between periods, itching down there, strong vaginal odour, and bumps or sores in the genital area, immediately book an appointment with your doctor.