Sexually Transmitted Diseases: How Effects Impact Women Differently From Man

May 11

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are undoubtedly a big health challenge in Singapore, especially among women. If left untreated, these infections can cause serious health complications (or even death in extreme cases) and can damage the reproductive organs to the point of infertility. Compounding the problem is that some people can get infected and show minimal or no symptoms at all.

STD screening and HIV testing are the keys to the prevention of STDs. Why is it believed that women are affected differently and are more prone to STDs? Below are the reasons why STDs impact women more severely than men.

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1. Women’s anatomy is more prone to infection compared to men’s.

According to a women’s health clinic professional, women’s internal anatomy can serve as a breeding ground for infection as it allows bacteria to go deep inside the body and multiply rapidly in the moist environment. Moreover, the lining of the vagina is thinner and more delicate than the skin of the penis, making it easier for viruses and bacteria to penetrate and thrive.

2. STD symptoms have the same symptoms with minor female reproductive problems.

Women usually confuse STD symptoms for something less serious. Women experience normal discharge, especially before and after menstruation; abdominal pain before getting their period; and itching and burning feeling when having occasional yeast infection. That’s when they decide to see M Lam clinic for checkup in Singapore to find out what is happening in their bodies. Men, on the other hand, can easily detect signs of STDs like discharge because they don’t normally experience one.

3. Women are less likely to show symptoms.

Common STDs like gonorrhoea and chlamydia often show minimal to no symptoms on women compared to men, according to men’s health clinic. If symptoms occur, they go away on its own even if the infection still remains.

4. Lesions can happen internally.

Genital lesions (like from syphilis or herpes) usually occur inside the vagina and can go unnoticed, while in men, symptoms are more likely noticeable as the sores and ulcers happen externally—on the penis.

5. STDs can affect women’s reproductive plans.

If left untreated, STDs can lead to serious health problems and cause infertility, which can affect a woman’s future pregnancy plans. Unresolved STD cases can also cause internal inflammatory problems in the reproductive system, which can result to ectopic pregnancy or inability to conceive. Chlamydia, a common STD, can also affect men’s fertility but not as severe as women’s.

6. Pregnant women can pass the disease to their babies.

HIV, syphilis, and genital herpes can be passed to unborn babies. Some of the harmful effects of STD include low birth weight, brain damage, deafness and blindness, and stillbirth (a baby that’s born dead).

Doctor explaining diagnosis to her female patient

7. HPV is a common cause of cervical cancer.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common STDs, and is the number one cause of cervical cancer. Fortunately, there is now HPV vaccine, which helps prevent many kinds of reproductive cancer. Although HPV is also common in men, most cases don’t develop into more serious health complications.

Reducing Chances of Getting STDs

Regardless of the gender, STDs pose a serious threat to the health. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce the risk of getting infected. But of course, the best way to avoid STDs is to abstain from sex. For those sexually active people, there are ways to secure your health from these infections.

• Be open with your partner. Talk to your partner about sexual health, STDs, and prevention before any sexual interaction. Open communication about your sexual health encourages respect and trust in the relationship and helps reduce risks for STDs.

• Get tested. If you have never had any sexual contact with another person, there is no risk of getting infected. However, if your new partner has had sex with anyone else, STD screening will let you know whether he or she may have STD.

• Limit your number of partners. If you intend on having sex, have it with just one person. The fewer partners you have, the lesser chances you will get contracted.

• Take advantage of vaccines. An important preventive tool against STDs is vaccination. So far, the vaccines available can protect against hepatitis A and B and HPV. Visit a GP clinic to know more about these anti-STD vaccines.

• Use condoms. Condoms are great in preventing most STDs from being passed on from one person to another when used correctly and consistently. And by consistently, we mean correctly using condoms every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.

• Lubricate sufficiently. Along with using condoms, sufficient lubrication should be used during intercourse to avoid abrasions caused by friction. Abrasions and wounds, no matter how small, create a potential place for bacteria and viruses to thrive in the genital area.

• Avoid alcohol and drugs. Avoiding alcohol and drug use significantly shrinks your risk of contracting an infection, being forced to have sex, and unwanted pregnancy. When not intoxicated with alcohol and drugs, we make better decisions. Moreover, intravenous drugs require the use of needle. By sharing needles, it’s possible to spread or contract an infection. If donating blood, make sure that the nurse is using disposable needles and uses proper precaution while drawing blood.

STDs affect both men and women. However, some STDs affect women more seriously than men, which means women should be extra careful when it comes to sexual and reproductive health. Good thing there are now tests, treatments, and preventive procedures available that are especially tailored to meet women’s reproductive needs against STDs. With the right knowledge and by working with a qualified specialist, you can protect yourself against these potentially fatal infections.

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