1. Anal herpes
Anal herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), specifically the HSV-2 strains. The herpes simplex virus affects about 13% of the global population aged 15-49 years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 491 million individuals have genital herpes virus 2 (HSV-2).
Anal herpes is characterized by white or red pus-filled sores, lumps, or blisters surrounding the anus. The virus is transmitted through anal intercourse. Many people are asymptomatic, while others will experience persistent symptoms.
Symptoms of anal herpes
Anal herpes symptoms are similar to those of other STDs, making diagnosis challenging.
When first infected with the herpes virus, early symptoms usually appear 2-10 days after the virus enters the body. The initial outbreak is frequently the most severe, presenting with:
Other symptoms include:
- Itching around the anus
- Painful blisters
- Change in bowel habits
Treatment for anal herpes
Because anal sores are a type of genital herpes, treatment is the same as for other regions infected by the HSV-2 virus.
Antiviral medicines are used to treat genital herpes. Taking antiviral medicine regularly can reduce the frequency and severity of symptomatic episodes. The two of the most widely used antiviral drugs are:
These drugs can minimize the length and intensity of an epidemic and be a long-term treatment to prevent or reduce the probability of an outbreak.
Suppressive therapy with medicine is an effective treatment to reduce outbreaks and lower the risk of infection transmission. Exercise and a well-balanced diet can also significantly reduce the frequency of anal herpes flare-ups.
2. Anal warts
Also called condyloma acuminata, anal warts affect the region surrounding and within the anus and are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted illness in the United States according to the CDC.
HPV is primarily transmitted through sexual contact. Although anal warts are more common in those who engage in anal intercourse, they can travel from the genitals to the anus.
Some HPV strains create warts on your extremities, whereas others cause anal and vaginal warts (penis, scrotum, vagina, or labia). They begin as little patches or growths, can be as small as the head of a pin and can expand to cover the whole anal region. They usually do not cause pain or discomfort; people are often unaware that they have them. Some individuals may have itching, bleeding, mucus discharge, and/or a sensation of a bulge or mass in the anal region.
Symptoms of anal warts
People with anal warts are often asymptomatic at first, but when symptoms appear, they generally exhibit the following:
- Itchy anus
- Mucus secretion
- A bulge in the anal region
Treatment of anal warts
If the warts are small and only on the skin surrounding the anus, they can be treated with topical medications, freezing them with liquid nitrogen, or surgically removing them (cutting or burning them off).
Though treatment produces immediate results, it must be conducted using either a local anesthetic or general or spinal anesthesia. The physician should perform an internal anal examination with an anoscope to determine whether you do not have any inside the anal canal (internal anal warts). Internal anal warts may not respond well to topical medications and may require surgery.
Gonorrhea is extremely contagious. According to the CDC, nearly 1.6 million new gonococcal infections occurred in the United States in 2018, with young individuals aged 15 to 24 years accounting for more than half of all cases. In the U.S., gonorrhea is the second most reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection. However, because many infections are asymptomatic, recorded cases represent only a small proportion of total infections.
In women, N. gonorrhoeae can infect the mucus membranes of the reproductive tract, as well as the fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix. In both men and women, the urethra and mucus membranes of other parts of the body, such as the mouth, eyes, throat, and rectum, can get infected.
Many people with gonorrhea, especially women, are asymptomatic, which means they have no signs of infection. If symptoms appear, they usually appear in 2-5 days in men, with a potential range of 1-30 days. Symptoms usually appear in women within 10 days of infection.
Symptoms of gonorrhea in men
- Burning or pain during urination
- Yellowish-white discharge from the penis
- Increased frequency of urinating
- Pain or swelling in and around the testis
Symptoms of gonorrhea in women
- Yellow vaginal discharge and sometimes, it could be bloody
- Burning or pain during urination
Even when the infection progresses to the fallopian tubes, some women have no symptoms. Others may experience one or more of the following symptoms, which may indicate that the infection has advanced to pelvic inflammatory disease:
- Discomfort in the lower abdomen
- Lower back pain
- Pain during intercourse
- Bleeding between menstrual cycles
Treatment for gonorrhea
The current standard treatment regimen for gonorrhea is a single injection of ceftriaxone.
How can you protect yourself from STDs?
If you are sexually active, you should take the following precautions to avoid contracting or spreading sexually transmitted diseases (STDs):
- Use protection when having intercourse (male or female condom)
- Get tested for STDs regularly
- Follow the treatment for any identified STDs
- Inform your sexual partners so that they can be checked and treated
- Avoid using or sharing non-sterile needles for medications, body piercings, or tattoos
The more you know about STDs, the better you will be able to protect yourself. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist about your options.
Sexually Transmitted Infections. https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/s/sexually-transmitted-infections
Herpes: HSV-1 and HSV-2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/herpes-hsv1-and-hsv2
Anal Warts. https://fascrs.org/patients/diseases-and-conditions/a-z/anal-warts
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