MST (sexually transmitted diseases) - Dermatology and aesthetics


Dermatology and aesthetics

Dermatology and aesthetics

STD (sexually transmitted diseases)

What are sexually transmitted diseases Prevention
  • What are sexually transmitted diseases
    • Gonorrhea
    • Non-gonococcal urethritis
    • Genital trichomoniasis
    • Syphilis
    • Genital herpes
    • Genital condylomatosis (genital warts)
  • Prevention

What are sexually transmitted diseases

The diseases contracted through sexual intercourse have been known for hundreds of years with the name of venereal diseases (in ancient Greece Venus was the goddess of love), but in recent times (starting from the nineties of the twentieth century) this expression has been replaced, at least in specialist medical language, from the more correct one of sexually transmitted diseases (or infections) (STD).

The new term also expresses a change of attitude, originating from the fact that, while in the past the diseases in question were generally contracted during "mercenary" relationships, in the last decades of the twentieth century they spread, thanks to the change in sexual customs, also in other areas and segments of the population: in particular, the phenomenon derives from the greater diffusion of high-risk behaviors, such as the presence of multiple partners, sexual activity with occasional partners, poor use of protection systems, drug addiction, etc .; the terminological change also derives from the appearance of new pathologies (HIV, Chlamydia trachomatis or Trichomonas vaginalis infections, anogenital herpes, anogenital condylomatosis etc.), which have been added to those already known (syphilis, gonorrhea, carcinid, inguinal granuloma and venereal lymphogranuloma).

The human organism can be divided into anatomical-functional units: in the male, for example, the urethra, with the accessory glands, the prostate, the seminal vesicles, the vas deferens, the epididymes and the testicles constitute a unit, as well as, in the female, it is the urethra with vulva and vagina, the various accessory glands, the uterus, the tubes and the ovaries.

From this subdivision it follows that an infection present in one part may subsequently extend, and therefore, in the first case, pass from the urethra (urethritis) to the innermost organs (prostatitis or epididymitis), in the second, transmit from the urethra or vagina (urethritis or vaginitis) with tubes, ovaries and sometimes extending to the entire urogenital system. Another consequence is the fact that some STDs can cause complex injuries, functional impairment of the reproductive system structures or infertility situations. The presentation modalities and the severity of the single STDs vary according to the etiological agent (bacteria, viruses, protozoa, parasites); some diseases have a long incubation (HIV, papillomavirus etc.), others manifest themselves in a few days (for example gonorrhea); some cause simple ailments and limited physical problems (for example, pediculosis), others only act locally, others, finally, lead to problems in the general state of health and well-being of the person (syphilis, AIDS etc.).

In addition to actual sexual intercourse, contagion can also occur in indirect ways such as sharing underwear, toothbrushes and personal hygiene accessories with other people; in any case, correct personal, general and urogenital hygiene is essential for the prevention of STDs.

Main diseases

sexually transmitted

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Provoked by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, it has an incubation period of 3-10 days and manifests itself mainly as urethritis, with purulent secretion that comes out of the urethral meatus, which is associated with burning and stimulation to urination. In the male, the "squeezing" of the penis with movement turned towards the urethral meatus can cause the secretion to escape outside which, in some cases, may be scarce or absent; about half of the sexual partners of a person suffering from gonorrhea can contract the infection and then maintain it without disturbing it (asymptomatic infection).

Therapy relies on antibiotic drugs. Especially in cases not treated or diagnosed late, the disease can extend to the rest of the urogenital system, with possible scarring results and, consequently, with the narrowing of some tubular structures (fallopian tubes, urethra, vas deferens etc.), with negative inferences on the fertility of the individual and the couple.

In rare cases, the dissemination of the infection is possible, with even serious outcomes.

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Non-gonococcal urethritis

The main etiological agents are Chlamydia tracomatis, Mycoplasma genitalium and Ureaplasma urealyticum. The incubation period is 1-5 weeks, the symptoms varying from modest forms (mild burning when urinating) to others with more pronounced disturbances and intense urination burning, perineal, testicular pain, lower abdomen, etc .; urethral secretion, not always present, is usually modest.

If left untreated, infections can affect other body structures and become chronic with physical and functional consequences (infertility), however, adequate therapy guarantees healing. When the germs spread, in women, the genital system and the peritoneum determine the so-called pelvic inflammatory disease, responsible for physical symptoms (malaise, pain, fever, etc.) and functional (especially infertility and ectopic pregnancy).

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Genital trichomoniasis

The causative agent is Trichomonas vaginalis. Among the most frequent STDs, it manifests itself as vaginitis and urethritis, less frequently as prostatitis and epididymitis; in pregnant women it can cause premature birth.

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The causative agent is Treponema pallidum. The incubation period is 2-4 weeks. In the initial phase (primary syphilis) it manifests itself with a small reddened area (located on the glans penis, foreskin, scrotum, vulva, labia majora, tongue, rectum, lips, in the suprapubic area etc.) which first becomes papule, then breaks and becomes ulcer, hard and painless. Therapy is based on the use of antibiotics; if the infection is not treated or diagnosed late, it can evolve and extend to other organs (secondary and tertiary syphilis), including the central nervous system, with serious outcomes. The mother can transmit syphilis to the fetus during pregnancy, resulting in congenital syphilis in the child.

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Genital herpes

It is determined by a DNA virus, herpes simplex, and is responsible for the appearance of groups of vesicles on a reddened base on the genital organs and perianal area (the region around the anus); burning urination, pain, swelling of groups of glands, fever and general malaise may occur. The first infection has increasingly severe symptoms compared to relapses or reinfections. Therapy is carried out with antiviral drugs.

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Genital condylomatosis (genital warts)

The causative agent is the human papillomavirus (HPV), of which there are several types. The incubation period varies from a few weeks to a few months. Some types of viruses cause the appearance on different parts of the genital region (penis, scrotum, urethral meatus, vulva, vagina, cervix, perianal region etc.) of reliefs similar to tiny "crests", while in other cases the lesions are flat. The symptomatology is linked to the site of the lesions and consists of burning urination, pain, secretions etc. HPV infections are of particular importance from a clinical point of view because, beyond genital condylomatosis, they can sometimes cause cervical cancer in the woman, and for this reason the prevention related to this virus is also important from an oncological point of view. Most HPV infections are asymptomatic, undiagnosed and untreated.

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