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Complications of STIs
Complications of STIs
STIs are also known as STDs or veneral diseases (VDs). These are infections or diseases that are transmitted from one person to another through any type of unprotected intercourse or contact. They are common all over the world, and may be caused by either:
  • Bacteria: gonorrhoea, syphilis, chancroid, chlamydia, etc.
  • Virus: HIV/ AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts, hepatitis, etc.
  • Parasites: pubic lice, scabies, etc.
  • Protozoa: trichomoniasis, etc.
  • Fungi: candidiasis, etc.

The marked clinical manifestations or signs and symptoms of STIs basically starts to appear from few days to months after exposure. This depends on the causative organism and/ or the type of infection. The signs and symptoms or outbreaks of STIs varies in severity from one person to another. However, some persons do not show or present any signs and symptoms even months after exposure to the infectious agents (organisms causing STIs), this therefore increases the risk of spreading and/ or contracting the infections.

At this junction, it is imperative to know that some STIs can be treated and cured using the appropriate antibiotics. However, others can not be cured hence they persist all through life. Some of these incurable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) however  have some types or kinds of treatment plans design to manage and ameliorate the condition to enable persons living with such condition have or live a normal, long and fulfilled life.

Complications of STIs

Complications are diseases or medical conditions which may have aroused during or in the course of or as a consequence of another disease. Therefore, complications of STIs are conditions that may have risen and coexisted with a prolonged contraction of STIs. Some well documented complications of STIs are;

  • Blindness in newborn babies
Some persons infected with STIs for whatever reasons do not show or present any signs and symptoms, hence are left untreated. For some, these infections lingers for a long time and often lead to complications. If a pregnant woman is infected with either chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, etc. And such infection is left untreated for a long time. The infection may be passed to her baby during childbirth. As the baby passes through the birth canal, the infectious organisms (bacteria) may enter the child eyes and cause blindness of the newborn. However, this can be prevented so avoid the complications and see your doctor. 

  • Neurosyphilis 
It is an established fact that a prolonged infection of syphilis can spread to/ and affect the central nervous system (CNS). Syphilis on affecting the nervouse system (brain and spinal cord) may lead to such complications as insanity, severe or chronic headache, dementia, behavioural changes, lack of coordination, movement disorder, etc. 

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) 
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a disease or an infection which basically affects any part of the reproductive system in a woman's lower abdomen. It is normally called pelvic infection. Prolonged infections of gonorrhoea, chlamydia, etc. can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The bacteria which causes PID often migrates from the infected female genitals through the cervix to the uterus and eventually the fallopian tubes and ovaries. If such infections or diseases are left untreated, it may cause severe pain. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) gives such symptoms as;
  • pain in the lower  abdomen,
  •  illness/ malaise ,
  • high fever,
  • odorous discharge,
  • pain and bleeding during or after coition. 
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can cause miscarriage, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, etc.

  • Infertility 
A prolonged and untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause infertility in both men and women. Infertility arising from complications of STIs in men is as a result of testicular infections. Prolonged infections such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia, etc. can cause blockage or occlusion of the epididymis which may cause male infertility. This it does by blocking the passage of the spermatozoa.

In female, prolonged and untreated STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, etc. can cause scar on the fallopian tubes. Such scar can block the tubes causing fallopian tubal occlusion. The tubes can equally be narrowed which may ultimately prevent the sperm from reaching the ovum (egg). The narrowed tubes might prevent the fertilized egg or ovum (zygote)  from migrating to the uterus thereby implanting itself in the tissues on the walls of the fallopian tube, hence causing ectopic pregnancy. 

  • Severe pelvic and abdominal pain
One of the most common complications of STIs is abdominal pain. This pain could be as a result of bacterial infections or incessant bowel movement which could also be caused by bacterial infections. This pelvic and abdominal pain most times become intense during or after coition. Sometimes women with prolonged infections might also experience bleeding during or after pareunia, heavy menstrual flow or bleeding in between periods. 

  • Ectopic pregnancy
This is an abnormal condition in pregnancy where the fertilized ovum or zygote is implanted in the tissues outside the walls of the uterus. This mainly happens on the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy is a major complication of STIs, since the prolonged and untreated STIs causes scars on the tubes or even narrowed the tubes which prevents the zygote from passing to the uterus. As a result, the zygote Implants itself in the tissues of the tubes (ectopic pregnancy) causing pain and even death.

  • Cancer
Prolonged infections of human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), etc. can cause such complications as cancer, liver failure, cirrhosis, etc. Hepatitis is well known for its destructive actions on the liver, thereby causing liver cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes genital warts has for long been associated with certain types of cancers. Some of which may include; cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, vulvar cancer, throat cancer, penile cancer, etc.

The list of complications which could arise as a result of prolonged and untreated Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is unending. Below are some more common complications of STIs;
  • Heart disease (CVD),
  • Arthritis,
  • Miscarriage,
  • preterm child delivery and low birth weight,
  • Liver failure,
  • Liver cirrhosis (liver scaring),
  • Epididymitis,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Meningitis,
  • Encephalitis,
  • Paralysis,
  • Jaundice,
  • Kidney disease, and
  • Death eventually.
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