STD, STI, UTI in Women: What are They and What Should You Know? 

Due to the increasing spread of COVID-19, the Easter break this year may be longer than anticipated. With the extra time off we want to brush up on our sexual health knowledge to ensure a healthy and relaxing break. While it is especially important to practice personal hygiene right now, other health issues such as sexual health and safety should not be neglected 

 

What’s the Difference Between an STD and STI? 

STIs are classified as sexually transmitted infections and STDs are sexually transmitted diseases. STIs are infections, which can potentially develop into a disease. These infections and associated disease can occur on the mouth and genitals, and for the majority they are transferred through sexual contact with an infected individual. 

 

Types & Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Infections 

Some of the most common infections include; Chlamydia, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Genital Herpes, HPV and HIV. Below are the most common symptoms for each infection. If you have any of the below symptoms don’t hesitate to book an online, secure appointment with one of our Australian Registered GPs. 

 

Chlamydia 

  • Change in vaginal discharge 
  • Lower abdominal pain 
  • Menstrual changes 
  • Pain during urination or sexual intercourse 
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse 

 

Syphilis 

Primary Symptoms 

  • Sores appearing near the mouth, rectum or genitals  

Secondary Symptoms 

  • Headaches 
  • Fever 
  • Weight loss 
  • Aching joints 
  • Swollen lymph nodes 
  • Fatigue 

 

Gonorrhea 

  • Lower abdominal pain 
  • Pain during urination or sexual intercourse 
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse 
  • Enlarged/ swollen glands near vaginal opening  
  • Change in vaginal discharge 

 

Genital Herpes 

  • Mild irritation and tingling for 12-24 hours 
  • Small irritated/ swollen blisters which in the affected area 
  • Ulcer formation after the blisters break 
  • Tenderness in the affected area 

 

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) 

  • Genital warts 
  • Appear as a small cluster of bumps in genital areas 

 

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) 

  • Fever 
  • Fatigue  
  • Swollen lymph nodes 
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Night sweats 
  • Sore throat 
  • Pneumonia 

 

Long Term Effects and Impacts 

Many of these Infections can be treated or can be prevented from becoming worse by seeing a medical professional although if no action is taken these infections can potentially turn into diseases or have long term impacts on the body. In the case of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, any of these infections left untreated can all potentially cause infertility, joint pain and increase the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. 

HIV can eventually evolve into AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) if untreated, meaning the immune system will ultimately deteriorate.  

 

Avoiding STIs and STDs 

To avoid contracting a sexually transmitted infection, please practice sexual safety when having intercourse. These measures can include; 

  • Wearing protective contraception  
  • Getting checked for infections regularly 
  • Avoid having intercourse (including oral) with a partner until they have been screened for an STI/ STD 
  • Washing before and after sexual intercourse 

 

Understanding UTI’s and How to Avoid Them 

A UTI differs to an STD/STI as it is a urinary tract infection which occurs from bacteria entering the unitary tract via the urethra, causing pain and discomfort. This can occur from not properly wiping when using the bathroom, not urinating after sexual intercourse, having a small urinary tract and holding in the need to urine 

Symptoms include; 

  • persistent urge to urinate 
  • Burning during urination 
  • Passing small amounts of urine 
  • Cloudy urine or urine that is red, pink or brown colored (an indication of blood in urine) 
  • Urine with a strong odor  
  • Pelvic pain 

To avoid having to treat a UTI it is important to; 

  • Drink lots of fluids (Especially cranberry juice) 
  • Wipe from front to back 
  • Urinate after having sexual intercourse 
  • Avoid irritating feminine hygiene products such as douches and ‘feminine’ washes 

  

Any Concerns? 

If you are unsure if you have an STI, STD or UTI, you are experiencing the listed symptoms or simply want more information, book an appointment with one of our certified healthcare professionals. 

Don’t feel comfortable talking in person? Don’t worry you can consult a healthcare professional from your home using our secure, confidential platform. 

To easily access contraception QuickScripts andonline medical professionals allow you want to avoid sitting in a doctor’s waiting room these holidays. 

 

References 

https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/About-sexually-transmitted-infections-STIs 

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/sexually-transmitted-infections-sti 

https://stoptherise.initiatives.qld.gov.au/stis 

https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/about-hiv-and-aids/symptoms-of-hiv 

https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv-aids/fact-sheets/19/45/hiv-aids–the-basics 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447 

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