Most people are aware of common STDs such as chlamydia, HPV and gonorrhea. Most of these diseases can be completely cured with antibiotics or prevented. But, what many people may not know is that if these infections or diseases are left untreated for a long period of time, serious and permanent complications can develop. You may think that long-term damage isn’t a possibility because, of course, you would know if you had an STD before then, right? Not necessarily. If you are sexually active and neither your or your partner(s) have been tested, you could have one of these common STDs. Many of them don’t always have symptoms, even after the infection has been in the body for an extended period of time.
There are over 130 variations of HPV (human papillomavirus). A few of these variations can lead to the development of cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men over time. HPV is responsible for the majority of cervical cancers. It can also cause cancers in the vulva, anus, and possibly even the mouth and throat. Some forms of HPV present themselves with symptoms of genital warts, but many of the higher-risk forms of HPV present no symptoms whatsoever until abnormal cells are discovered in a Pap smear or other test. The best way to ensure that you don’t have HPV is to get tested. There is also a vaccine available to prevent the contraction of high-risk variations of HPV called Gardasil. Gardasil can cost around $160, but our Gardasil discount coupons can cut this price by as much as 75% in some pharmacies.
Chlamydia is the most common STD in the U.S. Women are mostly at risk for long-term damage from chlamydia. Chlamydia often has no symptoms, and if left untreated, the infection will spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes. This can turn into pelvic inflammatory disease. Pelvic inflammatory disease can cause abdominal and pelvic pain, but sometimes there are no symptoms for this infection either. If the infection is still left untreated, it can result in permanent damage to the fallopian tubes and infertility. It can also cause ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition that occurs when a fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus. Chlamydia is a leading cause of infertility among women in the U.S. However, antibiotics have been proved to kill the chlamydia bacteria effectively. Azithromycin and doxycycline are the common antibiotics used to treat chlamydia.
If left untreated, gonorrhea can also turn into pelvic inflammatory disease in women. It can also cause abscesses in the ovaries and inflammation of the Bartholin glands (mucosal glands). Untreated gonorrhea can also provoke miscarriage, preterm labor, endometritis and infertility, and the infection can be passed on to a newborn baby. If gonorrhea is left untreated in men, it can cause epididymitis and inflammation of the prostate. In both men and women, the infection can spread to other areas of the body and cause serious conditions such as sepsis, arthritis, endocarditis and meningitis. Gonorrhea, similar to Chlamydia, normally can be cured through prescription medication from your doctor.
Long story short, be sure you and your partner get tested. It’s the only way to be 100% sure that you aren’t infected and prevent possible long-term damage and the spread of these infections. If you would like more information about the most common STDs and STD medications, visit our STD Condition Page.