- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common and are nothing to be embarrassed about. Over 2,295,000 new cases were reported in 2017 (CDC)
- are commonly transferred through anal, oral, and vaginal sexual activity.
- Common symptoms include lesions or sores, pain in the genitals and lower limbs, painful intercourse, and itching.
- Conventional treatments include antibiotics, however some STDs are becoming resistant to antibiotic treatments. In addition antibiotics can cause a host of other problems in the body.
- STDs can be treated naturally through a number of avenues including boosting of the immune system and ozone therapy.
The incidences of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have been increasing in recent years. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rates of chlamydia increased almost 7% between 2016 to 2017, and 16% since 2013. Cases of gonorrhea have increased 43% since 2009. (CDC).
Let’s take a look at the most common sexually transmitted diseases, their symptoms, how they are diagnosed, and how we treat STDs at LifeWorks Wellness Center.
Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases
There are several sexually transmitted diseases that are common in the United States. Here is a quick summary of each:
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Human papillomavirus or HPV is a very common sexually transmitted disease affecting over 79 million people in the U.S, many of whom are in their 20s (CDC). HPV is related to over 150 viruses and can cause genital warts and cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, tongue, tonsils, or anus. It is transmitted through skin to skin contact and anal, oral, and vaginal sex. Many of the strains are harmless and do not cause problems. And 90% of people will clear the infection within two years and remain immune. Although HPV can cause cancer, less than 3% of cancer is caused by it.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and it is a virus that attacks key cells in the immune system called T cells, causing the body to not be able to fight illness and disease. While there is no current cure for HIV, infected individuals are treated with antiretroviral therapy which reduces the viral load in their blood. This can reduce the risk of transmission and the effects of the HIV virus. By the end of 2016, an estimated 1.1 million people were infected with HIV in the U.S. (CDC).
Chlamydia is another common STD in the United States with 1,708,569 cases reported in 2017 (CDC). It is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis and is transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sexual activity, or to infants at birth. It is the most easily treated STD, however many people don’t know they have chlamydia as it does not usually cause symptoms. Untreated chlamydia is particularly dangerous for women as it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain symptoms.
Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus and is called type 2 or HSV-2. It can be contracted through contact with someone who has type 1 or HSV-1 herpes which is oral herpes, or through vaginal, anal, and oral sexual activity. It is spread through contact with a herpes lesion, mucosal surfaces of an infected person, and genital or oral secretions, so the spread is not limited to sexual activity. Many people do not know they are infected and can transfer the disease to another person unknowingly. Each year 776,000 new cases of genital herpes are estimated (CDC). Having genital herpes can increase the risk of contracting HIV when exposed.
Gonorrhea is also relatively common in the U.S. with 555,608 cases reported in 2017, almost a 16% increase from 2016. It is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae and is also transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex, as well as to an infant in childbirth. Gonorrhea can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), as with chlamydia, having the same potential devastating effects on fertility. Gonorrhea is progressively becoming resistant to antimicrobial treatments. This has changed government recommendations for treatment to include two antibiotics: injected ceftriaxone and azithromycin.
Syphilis is another STD with 101,567 new cases reported in 2017 (CDC). It is an ulcerative disease of the genitals that is caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. Syphilis has different stages and is spread through contact with one of the sores that develop from the disease called a chancre. These sores can develop in and around the mouth, around the genitals, inside the vagina, and in the anus. Cases are rising significantly in males who have sex with other males. Syphilis can also be transmitted to an infant through the placenta. This is called congenital syphilis and it can cause stillbirth and infant death.
Common STD Symptoms
Some STDs do not have any symptoms, or very mild symptoms, while others are more pronounced. Some common STD symptoms include:
- Discharge that is unusual or bad-smelling from the penis or vagina
- Lesions, sores, or bumps on or near the genitals and rectum
- Lesions or sores in and around the mouth
- Vaginal bleeding that is not typical
- Pelvic pain
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Pain and burning when urinating
- Painful intercourse or sexual activity
- Unusual pain in the lower abdomen
- Genital itching
- Genital pain or pain in the butt, hips, or legs
- Flu-like symptoms
- Swollen lymph nodes
How STDs Are Diagnosed
Sexually transmitted diseases are typically diagnosed through blood tests, urine samples, and fluid or discharge samples from an open genital sore. In addition, HPV can be detected through a PAP Smear.
It is important to get tested for STDs regardless of any signs or symptoms since undiagnosed infections can cause long-term damage and infertility.
If you are not abstinent or in a single relationship with an uninfected person, or if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is a good idea to get yourself tested to rule out the possibility of having an STD.
How We Treat STDs Naturally at LifeWorks
At LifeWorks each patient will receive an individualized program, tailored specifically to what your body needs to recover from an STD. We often use various methods of ozone therapy combined with supplements and other immune-boosting therapies. Ozone therapy is a powerful natural treatment option which helps to detoxify the blood and boost the immune system, and which can kill viruses, bacteria and fungi.
We will also conduct a functional evaluation to assess your overall health and to detect any nutritional deficiencies you may have. During this evaluation we also look for any other issues which could have suppressed your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to an STD. Undiagnosed conditions such as lyme disease, food allergies, and heavy metal toxicity in addition to a number of other immunosuppressive conditions will be looked for so they can be resolved and your immune system can return to normal, healthy function.
If you are looking for natural treatments for sexually transmitted disease, we would love to work with you. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about and is quite common. It’s better to explore natural options first, before subjecting your body and gut health to antibiotics which sometimes create additional problems.
To discuss your health issue or to schedule an appointment, call us at our Clearwater clinic at (727) 466-6789 or submit an online patient inquiry.