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Burning when you pee? What can it be?

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Burning when you pee? What can it be?

In 2014, the number of STDs diagnosed in England declined by 0.3% when compared to that of 2013. However, with nearly 440,000 new cases diagnosed, there is still a huge problem to deal with. Of the new STD diagnoses made in 2014, the most commonly diagnosed were chlamydia (206,774; 47%), genital warts (70,612; 16%), gonorrhoea (34,958; 8%) and genital herpes (first episode; 31,777; 7%).

STDs are primarily transferred during unprotected sex, but it seems that encouraging individuals to take the relevant contraceptive precautions is just one of the problems that need addressing to slow the spread. Actually realising you have an STD to start with, and then plucking up the courage to speak to a doctor about it, are totally different, but highly relative problems.

If you believe you have an STD, you should visit your local GP where you can receive STD testing and STD treatment. If you know what STD you need treatment for, we also have a number of medications that are available to purchase online.

However, let’s look at the most common STDs, the associated symptoms, and the treatments available.

Understanding STI’s – What to look for.

Chlamydia 

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection which is usually spread through sex or contact with infected genital fluids such as semen or vaginal fluid.

One of the main problems with the spread of chlamydia is the fact that most people don't notice any symptoms and therefore don't know they have it. However, for those that do develop symptoms, they can include experiencing pain when urinating and unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or rectum. In women symptoms can expand to include stomach pains, bleeding during or after sex, or bleeding between periods. In men it can include pain and swelling in the testicles.

Chlamydia treatment is usually quick and simple, consisting of just a short course of antibiotics. But, if left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and lead to long-term health problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), epididymo-orchitis (inflammation of the testicles), and infertility. It can also sometimes cause reactive arthritis.

Azithromycin

Azithromycin is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as respiratory infections, skin infections, ear infections, and sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia.

Doxycycline

Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic and is used to treat many different bacterial infections, such as acne, urinary tract infections, intestinal infections, eye infections, periodontitis (gumdisease), gonorrhoea and chlamydia.

If you think you may have chlamydia, you doctor will be able to provide a quick chlamydia test, and if necessary, prescribe the most suitable course of medication.

Genital warts

Genital warts are the second most common type of STD in England, after chlamydia. They are small fleshy growths, bumps or skin changes that appear on or around the genital or anal area, and are the result of a viral skin infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is not a single virus, but a family of more than 100 different strains of viruses. Different strains can affect different parts of the body, including the hands or feet but the large majority of cases (around 90%) are caused by just two strains of the virus – type 6 and type 11.

Although around 30 different types of HPV can affect the genital skin, most cases of infection cause no visible symptoms. Even if they do appear, they are also largely painless and do not pose any serious threat to health, but they can be unpleasant to look at.

HPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact so although many cases are spread during sexual intercourse, you don't need to have penetrative sex to pass on the infection.

Aldara cream

Aldara cream contains the active ingredient imiquimod, which is a type of medicine called an immunomodulator. It is used to treat three different skin conditions including small superficial skin cancers, and actinic keratosis, as well as genital warts. Imiquimod works by encouraging the body's own defence mechanisms to attack the virus, which subsequently cures the warts.

Condyline (Podophyllotoxin Solution)

Condyline cutaneous solution contains the active ingredient podophyllotoxin, which is a medicine derived from the roots of the podophyllum plant. The solution works by entering the wart tissue and preventing the cells from dividing and multiplying. Over time, all the wart cells die and new healthy tissue grows in their place.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is usually transmitted by having sex with an infected person. It is a common infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), causing painful blisters to appear on the genitals and surrounding areas.

There are two types of herpes simplex virus (HSV), type 1 and type 2. Both types are highly contagious and can be passed easily from one person to another by direct contact.

Unfortunately, symptoms of genital herpes aren’t always evident, despite having the infection. Consequently, many are unaware that they have, and are spreading the infection.

Genital Herpes (Valaciclovir/Acyclovir) Treatment is a highly effective form of treatment for herpes as it reduces the level of symptoms and treats them in a quick and efficient manner, supressing the virus and stopping any outbreaks from occurring.

Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea, commonly referred to as ‘the clap’, is caused by bacteria called neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus, which is mainly found in discharge from the penis and vaginal fluid from infected men and women, but it can also survive in other moist areas such as the rectum and eyes.

Typical symptoms of gonorrhoea include a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when urinating and bleeding in between periods in women. However, once again around 1 in 10 infected men and almost half of infected women don't experience any symptoms at all.

Azithromycin is a prescription-only antibiotic that fights the neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria that causes gonorrhoea.

Syphilis

Syphilis is an infection caused by bacteria called treponema pallidum and is often spread during sexual intercourse, although it can also enter the body by merely having contact with an infected sore.

The symptoms of syphilis develop in three stages; primary, secondary and tertiary, with a period of latency common after the digression of secondary symptoms.

Primary syphilis

The initial symptoms of syphilis can appear any time from 10 days to three months after having been exposed to the infection. The most common symptom is the appearance of a small, painless sore or ulcer called a chancre on the part of your body where the infection was transmitted, typically the penis, vagina

Secondary syphilis

The symptoms of secondary syphilis will begin a few weeks after the disappearance of the sore and often include:

  • The appearance of a non-itchy rash. This can be anywhere on the body but commonly appears on the hands or feet.
  • Small skin growths form. On women these appear on the vulva and for both men and women they appear around the anus.
  • The onset of flu-like symptoms including tiredness, headaches, joint pains and fever.
  • Swollen lymph glands.
  • Sudden weight loss.
  • Patchy hair loss.

Latent phase

Without treatment, syphilis will then move into its latent (hidden) phase where there will be no evident symptoms.

Latent syphilis can still be passed on during the first year of this stage, again usually through sexual or close physical contact. Although rare in the UK, without treatment, there is a risk that latent syphilis will move on to the third, most dangerous stage – tertiary syphilis.

Tertiary syphilis

The symptoms of tertiary syphilis can begin years or even decades after the initial infection. The symptoms of tertiary syphilis will depend on what part of the body the infection spreads to. For example, it may affect the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, bones, skin or blood vessels, any one of which could potentially cause death.

Treatments

Primary and secondary syphilis can be successfully treated with a single dose of penicillin, or course of antibiotics.

Treatment of tertiary syphilis is slightly more complicated and requires longer courses of antibiotics and may even need intravenous treatment which is administered directly into the vein. Although this treatment can stop the infection, it cannot repair any damage that has already been caused by the tertiary syphilis.

That covers, rather graphically in places, the most common STDs in England. As you now know many STDs don’t carry with them any physical or visual symptoms, but if you have the slightest inkling that you may have one, get yourself tested by your local GP.

Although there are plenty of STD treatments available, being proactive and taking part in safe sex is still the best way of stopping them affecting your life.

If you have any questions, please do get in touch. We have a team of in-house doctors who will be able to assist you.

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