Couple with a condom

What Women Need to Know About STDs and Bacterial Vaginosis

For many women all over the world, the idea of safe sex simply means protecting yourself from having a baby if you are not yet ready for one. This is why many women choose to use helpful aids like birth control medication, implantable birth control or permanent contraception when they are sexually active, as they think it will help them have “safe sex” and will prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

However, having safe sex is so much more than preventing an unwanted pregnancy or taking birth control regularly. One very important component of the safe sex equation is protecting yourself from the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or infections such as bacterial vaginosis.

The Dangers of STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases are not only uncomfortable and embarrassing, but they are also very dangerous to a woman’s overall health. Some common STDs like genital herpes or Chlamydia can cause uncomfortable swelling, infection and inflammation, while others like HIV or HPV can be potentially life-threatening. For this reason, it is extremely important to protect yourself against common STDs and undergo routine STD testing if you are sexually active.

The only way to completely protect yourself from STDs is to abstain from all types of sexual contact. However, if you are sexually active and plan on continuing to be in the future, the best way you can reduce your chances of catching an STD is by wearing a condom every single time you have sex. For women who participate in oral sex, a dental dam is also a great way to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.

Types of STDs

Unfortunately, there are a number of different sexually transmitted diseases that you could potentially catch whenever you have any type of sex. Some of the most common include:

  • Genital Herpes
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis B (HBV)
  • Genital Warts
  • Pubic Lice (Crabs)
  • Syphilis
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Trichomoniasis

Wearing a condom each and every time you have sex is the best way to prevent yourself from catching one of the above STDs, apart from abstaining from sex all together.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Another common bacterial infection that many sexually-active women are susceptible to is bacterial vaginosis. This infection is caused by a certain kind of bacteria that accumulates and changes the normal balance of the bacteria in the vagina. This is a very common infection in women between the ages of 15-44, and can significantly increase your chances of getting an STD.

Unfortunately, unlike other STDs, it is somewhat unknown what causes bacterial vaginosis or what causes it to spread. While sex definitely contributes to this harmful imbalance of bacteria in the vagina, bacterial vaginosis is not considered an STD, and it may even affect women who have never had sex before.  The best way to prevent bacterial vaginosis is to do the following:

  • Do not have sex
  • Limit your number of sexual partners
  • Do not participate in douching

For more information about STDs, bacterial vaginosis or getting tested for common sexually transmitted diseases, be sure to contact Zeid Women’s Health Center located all throughout East Texas for an appointment today. Our experienced team of health care providers can help to educate you about the importance of preventative health care, as well as help you treat any existing conditions you may have.

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