You’ve heard the term tossed around, but you’re still kind of unclear. What are STIs, and how do I know if I have one?
STIs are sexually transmitted infections that are spread through sexual contact with someone who has an infection. STIs are a common public health concern, with millions of cases reported every year. Here’s what you need to know about STIs and how Nella can help better diagnose them.
What are STIs?
STIs are caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that can be spread through sexual contact. They can affect both men and women and can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Some common STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
What are the warning signs of STIs?
Many STIs don’t necessarily have symptoms, or the symptoms may be mild and easily overlooked. However, some common warning signs include:
- Pain or discomfort during sex
- Abnormal vaginal or penile discharge
- Painful or frequent urination
- Genital sores, bumps, or blisters
- Itching or burning in the genital area
- Fever, fatigue, or other flu-like symptoms
If you experience any of these symptoms or are concerned that you may have been exposed to an STI, it is important to see a healthcare provider for testing and treatment.
How are STIs diagnosed?
STIs can be diagnosed through a variety of tests, including:
- Blood tests: These tests look for antibodies to the virus or bacteria that causes the infection
- Urine tests: These tests can detect the presence of bacteria in the urine that indicate an infection.
- Swab tests: These tests involve taking a sample from the genital area or the inside of the mouth and testing it for the presence of the infection.
Your healthcare provider will recommend the most appropriate test based on your symptoms and medical history.
How are STIs treated?
Treatment for STIs typically involves antibiotics or antiviral medications to clear the infection. Some infections may require multiple doses of medication or longer courses of treatment. It is important to take all medications as prescribed and to follow up with your healthcare provider to ensure that the infection has been successfully treated.
In addition to medication, your healthcare provider may recommend other measures to manage symptoms or prevent the spread of the infection, such as:
- Using condoms during sexual activity
- Avoiding sexual activity until the infection has cleared
- Notifying sexual partners and encouraging them to get tested and treated
Untreated STIs can lead to serious health complications, such as infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, or even cancer. It is important to seek prompt medical attention if you suspect that you may have an STI.
How can STIs be prevented?
The best way to prevent STIs is to practice safe sex. This includes:
- Using condoms consistently and correctly during sexual activity
- Limiting your number of sexual partners
- Getting vaccinated against HPV
- Getting regular STI testing if you are sexually active
If you are sexually active, it is important to talk openly and honestly with your partner(s) about STIs and to encourage them to get tested regularly.
How does Nella help?
While the Nella speculum was not specifically designed for the detection or treatment of STIs, its ease of use, comfort, and clear view of the cervix and vaginal walls can facilitate more accurate and thorough STI screening and treatment. With the Nella speculum, healthcare providers can more easily detect any symptoms or signs of STIs during pelvic exams, which can be crucial in identifying and treating these infections in a timely manner.
Additionally, the Nella speculum's disposable, single-use design reduces the risk of cross-contamination during pelvic exams, which can help prevent the spread of STIs. Ultimately, while the Nella speculum is not a cure for STIs, it can be a valuable tool in STI prevention and management.
Ask your doctor about Nella today.