Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can spread from one person to another through sexual contact. Sexually transmitted diseases are severely passed on from sexual activity and intercourse that involves the mouth, anus, or vagina. STDs include Chlamydia, Genital, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, HPV, Genital warts, Syphilis, Trichomonas Vaginalis, etc. STIs are quite common these days, but most of them are easy to treat. STIs can affect your ability to become pregnant (your fertility), as well as your pregnancy. Women who are pregnant can get the same STIs as women who are not pregnant. In case a person gets infected with an STI while they're pregnant, it can cause serious problems for them as well as the developing child.
OnlyMyHealth editorial team had an exclusive interaction with Dr. Rita Bakshi, IVF Expert, and Senior Gynecologist spread the information regarding the Symptoms of STI, STI connection with pregnancy, and prevention from STI.
Symptoms of STI
Some of the symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Infections are:
- Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
- Abnormal vaginal odor
- Mood swings
- Sores or warts on the genital area
- Itching and redness in the genital area
- Painful or frequent urination
- Blisters in or around the mouth
- Anal itching, soreness, or bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling or redness around the penis or vagina
- Weight loss, loose stools, night sweats
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
A person should consult with a doctor if they experience any of these symptoms. Many STIs have no symptoms, so a person may not realize they suffer from STI. It is also extremely necessary for a person to test regularly, especially if they are, or are planning to get pregnant.
STI's Connection With Pregnancy
Having an STI while pregnant can cause an infection in the uterus after birth. Some STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening. Without treatment, these infections can also lead to infertility. Passing an STI on a baby can have harmful effects. These may include:
- Low birth weight
- Acute hepatitis
- Chronic liver disease,
Prevention From STI
Anyone who has sex is at a risk of contracting an STI, but there are ways to reduce the risk.
- Vaccines: - There are vaccines available that protect against HPV and HBV. Doctors generally do not recommend the HPV vaccine for pregnant people, so a person should get this vaccine before they become pregnant. It helps to protect against STIs.
- Condoms: - Condoms work as a protection sheet that controls unplanned pregnancy as well as infection. When a person uses them correctly and consistently, condoms can protect against STIs. A person should wear a condom before any genital, oral, or anal contact.
- Wash the intimate area: - To maintain hygiene and protect ourselves from any kind of infection it is important to wash it properly and try to keep it dry. It is essential to maintain the PH balance.
- Regular testing: - A person should undergo screening for STIs before and during pregnancy and make sure that any sexual partners also have tests. A person should also confirm that any new partners are free of STIs before they have sex with them. This kind of testing helps to avoid diseases.
- Practice monogamy:- This means having sex with only one person. This means that the other person must also have sex with only you to reduce your and their risk.
- Avoid Alcohol:- Don't use alcohol or drugs before you have sex, especially when pregnant. You are less likely to practice safe sex if you are drunk or high.