Diseases that affect the reproductive system can be uncomfortable and stressful, and some can have long-lasting effects if not appropriately treated. Sexually transmitted diseases are the diseases that typically affect the reproductive system, and both men and women are vulnerable to various diseases.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes and tissues in and surrounding the ovaries and uterus. It is caused by other sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea. More than 1 million women in the United States experience an episode of this each year. The infection occurs when bacteria travel from the cervix or uterus up through the reproductive organs. Symptoms may not appear at all, but when they do, they can include lower abdominal pain, pain during intercourse, irregular menstrual bleeding and pain during urination. Prompt and appropriate treatment is important, since PID can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes and uterus, making it difficult to become pregnant. Treatment consists of antibiotics, which cure the infection but do not cure any damage that was done to the reproductive system before taking the antibiotics.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection that can affect both men and women. In women, symptoms may include a foul-smelling discharge, itching in the genitals and pain with urination. Men do not generally display symptoms. This disease can be diagnosed by taking a sample from the vagina and examining the discharge under a microscope. In men, the disease is harder to diagnose, but an exam is typically done. The doctor may also ask questions about any symptoms, such as a penile discharge; a sample of the discharge may be taken. Treatment for trichomoniasis consists of either creams or gels inserted into the vagina, or oral antibiotics such as metronidazole.
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