Being tested for STDs can be stressful and frightening. At MemorialCare the knowledgeable physicians and staff support you every step of the way, from deciding how often to get tested to understanding your results. We also offer prevention education to keep you safe and healthy.
Am I at risk for a sexually transmitted disease?
Anybody who is sexually active is at risk for a sexually transmitted disease (STD). You can significantly minimize your risk for STDs by using condoms. However, some STDs, such as the herpes virus and human papilloma virus (HPV), are transmitted via intimate skin-to-skin contact. The only fail-safe method of preventing STDs is abstinence.
The high prevalence of STDs makes regular testing an important part of self-care. Women are especially vulnerable to STDs because their sexual organs are mostly internal and their tissues are thinner.
Since it is difficult for women to see their sexual organs, they may miss key signs and symptoms such as the presence of ulcers or other lesions. The vagina’s moistness can promote the growth of bacteria, increasing the risk for infections.
What are the most common STDs that affect women?
Women can develop any of the STDs that affect men. The consequences can be more severe in women, both because it is easier to miss the symptoms, which may delay diagnosis to a later stage of disease, and because their infections can be passed to their unborn children. Many STDs, untreated, can lead to sterility.
Some of the more common STDs are:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Bacterial vaginosis
The good news is that most STDs — especially if caught early — can be managed or cured.
What are the symptoms of an STD?
Unfortunately, many STDs don’t have symptoms. However, the following symptoms are warning signs that should receive immediate medical attention:
- Strong or unpleasant vaginal odor and/or discharge
- Sores, blisters, warts, or itching in the genital or anal areas
- Bleeding between periods or heavy periods
- Lower abdominal pain or pain during intercourse
- Painful urination or dark urine
- Painful bowel movements
- Swollen lymph glands
- Unexplained fatigue
How can I get tested for STDs?
The warm and supportive atmosphere created by our specialists and caring staff makes MemorialCare a safe and effective place to be tested for STDs. They administer blood tests, urine tests, swab tests, and physical examinations on the premises to ensure your health, safety, and privacy.