Your complete guide to STDs and Reproductive Health


Last Updated December 20th, 2021

STDs – Stay aware, stay safe

STDs are sexually transmitted diseases; diseases where the infectious pathogens are transmitted via oral, vaginal, or anal sex. The bodily fluids present in these body parts are the ones infested by bacteria, virus, and parasites that pass on from an infected person to a healthy person via sexual contact. In addition to saliva, semen, and vaginal fluid, blood could also be an infectious carrier of STDs.  While sexual contact is the primary channel through which STD pathogens spread, these infections can also spread via infected blood transfusions and placental connections.

In simple words, there are three main channels that are involved in the vigorous spread of STDs – unprotected sexual contacts, infected blood transfusion, and from infected mother to the fetus. Sexually transmitted diseases are one of the most common forms of infection prevalent globally. The ones exceeding STDs in terms of the number of cases are lower respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, and malaria.

There are more than 498 million human beings on this planet (within the age-group of 15 to 49 years) who are affected by STDs every year! In the USA alone, more than 20 million cases of STDs are reported annually.  There are more than 25 different types of STDs known – such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, AIDS and many more. Out of these, the cure for HIV/AIDS still eludes the medical community making it a highly contagious and deadly infection.

STDs: Some shocking facts

STDs are also called venereal diseases; the name venereal having been derived from “Venus” – the Roman goddess of love. These infectious and largely debilitating conditions can manifest a wide spectrum of symptoms. Ranging from simple discomfort felt in the groin area such as itching and swelling to extremely disabling (and probably fatal symptoms) such as tumors and pneumonia, STD pathogens can rapidly hijack your body’s immune system and cause widespread mayhem.

With rapid strides in the world on antibiotics, better knowledge on how STDs spread, and enough awareness on safe sexual practices, one would assume that the incidence of STDs would have come down drastically. However, recent studies prove otherwise. Let us take a quick look at how vast and deep-rooted these conditions have become in the past few years.

  • Among all the 1st world countries, the USA seems to be witnessing an unprecedented surge in the number of STD cases. Between 2000 and 2016, there has been a whopping 98% rise in the rates of chlamydia. Since 2009, gonorrhea has increased by almost 67%. The number of syphilis cases has almost doubled.
  • MSM (or men who have sex with men) contribute to 70% of all cases of syphilis. 45% of all cases of chlamydia were observed in young women (15-24 years).
  • Women are more vulnerable to STDs because a shorter urethra allows easy passage of bacteria and parasites into the body. In fact the risk of STD among women is 10 times more than that in men.
  • There are more than 1.5 million new cases of HIV/AIDS reported every year. 70% of all cases of AIDS are concentrated in the sub-Saharan region of Africa.

Common STDs & associated health conditions: What do they look like?

Syphilis

One of the oldest recorded STDs, syphilis is caused by a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. This chronic infection can severely debilitate the central nervous system too. In the initial stages, it resembles a benign rash or a lesion that can occur anywhere in the body, including the eye. This quickly progresses to reddish-brown colored sores that start appearing in the mouth, vagina, and the anus. The patient feels fatigued, numbness in the body, severe eye irritation, and loss of muscle coordination.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a viral infection caused by the HSV (herpes simplex virus). It is mainly characterized by blisters present in the genitals which gradually spread to the buttocks, inner thighs, and even the eyes. The sores can cause permanent damage to the eyes leading to blindness. The patient experiences excruciating pain upon urination and bleeding where the blisters are present.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is one of the most dangerous STDs to occur among females. This can lead to serious damage to the female reproductive system causing pregnancy complications, miscarriage, and even infertility. The most notable symptom of this infection is an inflammation in the groin area followed by abnormal discharge (both penile and vaginal) and painful urination.  Women may observe bleeding during/after sexual intercourse. Conjunctivitis may concur with chlamydia since the bacterial infection can easily spread to the eye.

Cold sores

Another viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus, cold sores or “herpes labialis” is characterized by pus-filled blisters appearing near the lips and nose. It is a highly contagious infection and as per WHO, 2/3rd of the entire global population (<50 years) carries this virus.  The blisters are reddish in color and cause extreme pain and discomfort. When they dry up, they leave behind scabs and scars. If these spread to the oral cavity, they can cause swelling and bleeding of gums.

Cervical polyps

A polyp is an abnormal fleshy growth. Cervical polyps are abnormal growths on the cervix (the passage between the vagina and the uterus). The main cause of such growths is chronic inflammation in the cervical region which is often a result of an untreated STD. The patient will experience unusually heavy periods and abnormal vaginal discharge. The polyps may obstruct the cervical region leading to infertility. Around 1% of cases can show precancerous signs if it gets infected by HPV (human papillomavirus), a highly contagious sexually transmitted virus.

Vaginitis

Vaginitis is the name given to the range of infections and vaginal conditions arising due to vaginal inflammation. The swelling, itching, and pain are not associated only with the vagina but also with the vulva and the cervix. STDs such as chlamydia and herpes alter the normal pH of the vagina leading to sticky vaginal discharge and foul smell. There is pus in the urine and abnormal vaginal bleeding as well.

Cervical Cysts

A cyst is somewhat similar to a polyp except for the fact that unlike polyp (which is a fleshy mass), a cyst often encloses a liquid (or semi-liquid) substance. Cervical cysts and cervical inflammation (cervicitis) are often associated with STDs such as gonorrhea and Trichomonas.  The HPV can cause mutations in the cells of the cervix (including the cysts and polyps) and may give rise to cervical cancer.

Abnormal vaginal bleeding

Any kind of vaginal bleeding that deviates from the normal menstrual cycle is medically termed as abnormal vaginal bleeding. Bleeding between periods, spotting, unusually heavy periods – all of these qualify as abnormal bleeding patterns. There is a long list of factors that can cause this but the most common ones are physical trauma, psychological stress, and STDs. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is the most obvious symptom of an STD or a miscarriage.

Prolapsed uterus

Prolonged labor, hormonal changes, and abnormal growths (such as polyps, cysts, and tumors) are the primary reasons why a uterus can weaken and prolapse. Owing to this anatomical defect, there are abnormal (and often painful) vaginal bleeding and extreme pain in the pelvic region. Frequent infections of the bladder, vagina, and uterus can also weaken the pelvic floor muscles leading to organ prolapse.

Fibroadenoma

Fibroadenoma is the most benign form of breast cancer in women. It is usually removed via surgery if it grows in size and /or calcifies. Though this is strictly not associated with STDs, it is usually a result of hormonal changes that could be triggered by an infection.  Fluctuations in the hormone estrogen are believed to be responsible for the formation of such lumps. Both estrogen and progesterone are linked to healthy vaginal flora. Thus, any disruption in the level could make you more vulnerable to STDs.

Blue waffle

This interestingly named infection is actually a fictional STD that is purported to cause the vagina to turn blue in color. It is also believed that a blue waffle infected female develops are a strong stench in the vaginal region. The supposedly main causes for the spread of blue waffle disease are multiple sexual partners and lack of hygiene. There is absolutely no medical evidence that supports its existence.

Blue balls

Blue balls or epididymal hypertension is a rather painful condition of the testicles where the male genitals retain enough blood owing to arousal which is not released via an orgasm. However, testicular pain is not limited to this particular reason only. There are several venereal diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea that can lead to similar pain and discomfort.  Other reasons include – hernia, hydrocele, and even kidney stones. The best way to obtain relief from this pain is to attain a release through ejaculation. If the cause of testicular pain is an STD, as mentioned above, it would be wise to take the help of antibiotics and natural supplements as discussed later.

The best, easy, and  most effective remedies for STDs

The best way to prevent the rapid spread of STDs is, undoubtedly, practicing safe sex. This includes using protection every time you indulge in oral, anal, and vaginal sex.  One should keep their genital area clean both before and after intercourse. Always be aware of your partner’s sexual history and avoid indulging in intimate sexual activities with multiple partners. However, none of these methods guarantee 100% protection from STDs.

In case, you or your partner is experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is best to refer to a doctor at the earliest. The main course of treatment in most cases is antibiotic dosage or anti-viral medication. In addition to the prescribed medicines, there is a wide range of immunity-boosting foods and supplements that you can choose from to speed up the recovery process.

  • Garlic: Did you know one of the most common kitchen ingredients, garlic, can be your weapon in fighting off numerous STDs? Well-known for its strong anti-microbial properties, this pungent pod packs in the power of antibiotics. It can effectively flush out infection-causing parasites and build your immunity against bacterial infections. Garlic is also used as a vaginal suppository for treating trichomoniasis in women.
  • Tea Tree Oil: This popular extract has gained wide popularity in the cosmetic industry. This essential oil has numerous health benefits; it can easily combat fungal and bacterial infections without inducing any side-effects. You can apply this oil topically on the infected skin areas to witness relief from the painful symptoms of syphilis. You can also add tea tree to your bathing water to treat trichomoniasis. It is especially effective in treating infections caused by HSV (herpes simplex virus).
  • Yogurt: Infections, be it sexually transmitted or otherwise, usually occur because our body’s natural immunity remains incapable of fighting off pathogens in the first place. There are a variety of reasons why this happens, but a faulty diet is one of them. A diet rich in sugar, processed foods, junk, trans fat etc tends to kill the healthy gut bacteria. To compensate for this, one must fill his/her diet with immunity-boosting foods such as yogurt. It contains lactobacillus strains of bacteria that can easily keep your urogenital region pathogen-free. In many experiments, it has been found that topical application of yogurt in case of yeast infections helps bring down the symptoms almost instantly.
  • Aloe Vera: Well-known for its instant cooling effects, aloe vera is yet another natural marvel that you can use to sooth the pain and itching associated with STDs. Aloe vera extract and gel can be safely applied to sores, blisters, and rashes which are very common in case of sexually transmitted infections. It can also be consumed orally to enhance immunity from within. Additionally, topical applications of Aloe Vera gel on syphilis scars and wounds can help get rid of them effectively. Not to mention, numerous studies have indicated the high efficacy of using aloe vera extract in treating genital HSV infections.
  • Ashwagandha: This wonder herb has been long associated with Ayurveda. The powdered form of the ashwagandha root is widely used to treat conditions of erectile dysfunction and menstrual irregularities. This plant’s extract is both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial in nature. Thus, taking ashwagandha supplements for STDs can help you obtain relief from inflammation and also reduce bacterial growth. Today, it is widely employed in treating the symptoms of chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Oil of Oregano: Sexually transmitted infections often cause inflammation. To combat this symptom, one needs to take the help of anti-inflammatory extracts. Oil of oregano is one such natural substance that contains strong bactericidal properties. Its main constituent, thymol is a strong antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal agent. The oil can be either directly applied to the sores and lesions or consumed by diluting a few drops of oil in one cup of water. It is a well-known natural antibiotic and is widely used to treat STDs and other infections, such as pneumonia, too.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics are regarded as one of the oldest means of combating infections and boosting immunity. It refers to a unique group of foods that are enriched with healthy gut bacteria. Foods that are prepared by fermentation such as kefir and Greek yogurt are naturally endowed with probiotic powers. You can opt to eat foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread or take probiotic supplements to help speed up the treatment of STDs. Once the healthy bacteria enter your system, it can effectively get rid of the pathogen population from your body.
  • Berberine: Numerous studies suggest that adding high-quality Berberine supplement in addition to antibiotics can largely speed up the treatment process, especially for gonorrhea. Berberine is a bright yellow-colored substance derived from turmeric and barberry tree. This particular extract works by destroying the bacterial biofilm (a thin film that protects bacteria) and by increasing the efficacy of the current antibiotic course. Most doctors prescribe 500 mg supplements 3 times a day to fight the STD symptoms.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice and just like any other fermented food it is a storehouse of immunity-boosting compounds. Since ancient times, ACV has been credited with treating and curing a number of infections, including the sexually transmitted ones.  Today, it is considered to be a popular home remedy for treating gonorrhea. There are multiple ways in which you can include ACV in your daily routine to obtain the best results. One is to apply ACV directly on the affected skin with the help of cotton. Second is to add ACV to your bathwater and soak in that water for at least 20 minutes. Thirds is to soak an organic tampon in ACV and using it to kill a bacterial infection. Additionally, consumption of ACV can help boost your immunity from within and deter the microbial growth.
  • Raw honey: Honey is one of the oldest known natural sweeteners and is endowed with a large number of healing properties. It is natural humectants (helps in retaining moisture) and kills disease-causing pathogens. A component of raw honey, Bee Propolis, is observed to possess high antiseptic and healing properties that are especially suited for treating STDs. Honey and its extracts are being successfully used to treat a wide range of STDs such as syphilis, canker sores, herpes etc. The main component of honey not only soothes the inflamed skin (due to rashes, lesions, and boils) but also suppresses bacterial growth from spreading.
  • Baking Soda: Most STDs and infections cause severe irritation and itching of the skin. Topical application of baking soda can help treat the itching associated with these infections. Baking soda is naturally antimicrobial in nature and can help obtain relief from the itchy symptoms. One must always dilute it with few drops of water and use it as a paste as opposed to using it directly on the skin.

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Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
Panera bread steak arugula
Panera Bread: The truth behind this “healthy” restaurant chain What to order and what to avoid when dining at Panera Bread ? Know more about this popular…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
Jackfruit: Slice your way into higher immunity, better digestion, & more… Native to the South East Asia, the jackfruit is a fruit brimming with thousands of health benefits. Discover…
Coconut sugar: What is it and is it healthier than table sugar? In the long list of things that the wonderful coconut gives us, coconut sugar is another remarkable addition.…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
CEA_test
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test CEA or carcinoembryonic test detects the presence of CEA antigen in your blood mainly & determines the effectiveness…
PROGESTERONE_test
Progesterone test The progesterone test is a blood test used to determine the level of hormone progesterone in the blood…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
Hymenoplasty
Hymenoplasty Read on to find out all about hymenoplasty, the procedure, post-surgery care, the risks, and the benefits.
oral hygiene tips
6 shocking consequences of bad oral hygiene (and how to avoid them) Did you know bad breath is not just turning off, but also harms your body in ways you…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
Hysteroscopy_procedure
Hysteroscopy Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive tool to help specialists view the uterus to diagnose and even treat several…
Strep throat pain
Anti-Streptolysin-O Test The ASO or Anti-Streptolysin-O is a blood test designed to check for the presence of streptococcus bacterial infection…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
sodium blood test
Blood Sodium Test A blood sodium test measures the amount of sodium (an important electrolyte) in your body. It is also…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
How accurate is the hair follicle drug test? Hair follicle drug test is one of the best ways to identify drug use in professional circles. But…
Inhale oxygen, exhale worries: The top breathing exercises and how to perform them Performing the breathing exercise is like becoming mindful of how you breathe.  Here is a list of breathing…
CT-scan-machine
CT – Computed Tomography Scan CT scan or computed tomography scan is an diagnostic imaging technique where cross-sectional images of body are obtained…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
antihepatitis core antigent
Anti-Hepatitis B Core Antigen (AHBc) Total Anti-hepatitis B core antigen (AHBC ) is a blood examination and the only serological marker of infectious blood…
woman with abdominal pain holding ovulation calendar
Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It was…
Experts reveal the safest ways to perform an enema at home The idea of pushing some up your rectal area might make you queasy but an enema could actually…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
pilonidal sinus
Pilonidal sinus Pilonidal sinus is more common in young men than women. Learn about treatment options, surgical management, risks, and…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Horny Goat Weed: Can it improve libido in human beings too? This plant got its name as Horny Goat Weed when one of the goats feeding on the plant…
Rick Simpson’s Oil: The truths and controversies of this cannabis product Rick Simpson's Oil is an extract from the much-controversial plant, Cannabis. What is the actual truth behind the…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
Atkins diet weight loss
Atkins Diet: The right steps to carb control that can help you lose those pounds fast The Atkins diet is a high fat, low-carb diet with proven weight loss benefits that is flexible enough…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…