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SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES (STD)

Syphilis, Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia incubation periods vary from one day to one month after exposure. Sometimes these illnesses develop a new strain that is resistant to the current antibiotics. Unfortunately, gonorrhoea has now become resistant to all but one antibiotic which means protecting the body from attack is now more important than ever. Protected sex using a condom is the only way to avoid these infections.
Sexually transmitted disease can lead to infections in other parts of the body such as urinary tract infection. See the Urinary System page for more details.

 

Almost half the people infected with gonorrhoea are also infected with chlamydia. Syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia are all triggered by bacteria, but the underlying cause of most bacterial infections is a promiscuous lifestyle, poor nutrition from processed and fast foods and the overindulgence of drugs, sugar, coffee and alcohol that produce an imbalance of friendly bacteria in the intestines leading to poor immunity.
It is very chilling to realise that just one unprotected sexual encounter can lead to an infection that may manifest itself decades later and cause untold pain and suffering and even an early death. If passed onto a foetus in the mother's womb, the result can be devastating and affect that child for the rest of its life.


Spermicides pose a risk for sexually transmitted infections and experts warn against their use. Non-lubricated condoms may injure vaginal tissue and make it more vulnerable to infections. Using a sterile water-based lubricant, such as KY jelly, may help reduce this risk. Petroleum-based lubricants such as 'vaseline' should be avoided because they weaken latex condoms. Coconut oil and other natural cold-pressed plant based oils are a more healthy alternative.

 

NOTE: It is important to always get tested by a health professional after any type of treatment to ensure it has worked and all former partners must be informed because to leave these infections untreated can lead to serious health complications especially to pregnant women and their unborn child. Some people show few signs and symptoms and will be unaware that they may carry a disease. It is strongly recommended that an individual has regular and thorough tests, at least once every three months, when sexually active especially when there has been more than one partner involved. Tests for STDs are painless and, in the UK, there are 'Special Clinics', usually attached to hospitals , that carry out discreet and confidential testing.
 

 

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Chlamydia

(pronounced kluh-MID-ee-uh) is a species of bacteriaChlamydia trachomatis that causes a variety of infections, primarily through sexual contact. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. It is easily spread because it often causes mild or no symptoms and may be unknowingly passed to sexual partners. When symptoms do appear, they are usually noticeable within 1-3 weeks of contact. Chlamydia is known as the "silent" venereal disease because about three-quarters of infected women and about half of infected men show no symptoms.

When symptoms do occur, they appear in women as abnormal vaginal discharge with or without odour, bleeding between periods or periods that are more painful than usual, abdominal pain with fever, itching or burning in or around the vagina, or pain while urinating or with sex. If men have symptoms, they usually occur in the form of a small amount of clear or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis with burning or itching, painful urination, or pain and swelling around the testicles.

Women with severe chlamydial infection may require hospitalisation, intravenous antibiotics and pain medicine, especially if the reproductive or urinary systems are affected. Failure to get adequate treatment may lead to several health problems. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can result in damage of the fallopian tubes, scarring, and infertility. This can occur in up to 40 percent of infected women. Scarring in and around the abdomen can also lead to pregnancy outside of the uterus, a serious condition that can potentially be fatal if not diagnosed and quickly treated.

Coptis and Scute is a traditional Chinese blend of four different bacteria-killing herbs. It can be used to clear the body of the Chlamydia bacteria under supervision.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus Type I (HSV-1) and Type II (HSV-2) and both will remain in the infected persons body for life. The Type I virus is the same one that causes cold sores on the mouth, face and lips, although it can also cause sores on the genitals. The Type II virus, however, most often causes sores on the genitals.

Herpes can spread to the genitals from a cold sore if hand washing and other hygiene precautions are not taken. Or it can be spread though oral or genital sexual contact. The virus does not have to be in an active state that is, blisters do not have to be present, for a partner to become infected. The virus can also be passed during the pre-active state, when there is itching or tingling in the area where the sores generally appear. Sometimes, the virus can be passed along before the infected person is even aware that the virus is present. What's more, saliva also carries the virus.

The first episode usually starts within a couple weeks of exposure, and the initial onset can be pretty bad, including an initial round and then a second round of painful sores, flu like symptoms, fever and swollen glands. Sometimes the symptoms are mild, however, and appear as little more than insect bites or a rash. Herpes spends most of its life dormant. But, like cold sores, genital herpes recurs, often up to four or five times a year.

Always take care to clean shower or baths if they are shared with someone who doesn't have the virus. Following a shower or bath, make sure to dry the affected area thoroughly, as moisture prolongs symptomatic sores.

Although incurable, can be soothed by applying an herbal paste made with liquorice root and rice.

Drinking peppermint tea also helps with the pain caused by herpes blisters.

Using a cotton ball, pat bicarbonate of soda on the sores to dry them out and decrease itching. Be careful not to contaminate the bicarbonate of soda so that someone else can catch the virus from it.

For pain relief and to promote healing, soak cotton balls in milk and apply to the area.

Placing a cold, wet black tea bag directly to the sores has been known as an alternative treatment to flare-ups.

Fill a plastic bag with crushed ice, wrapping the bag in material the thickness of a sheet. Apply for 10 or 15 minutes and repeat several times a day. Make sure and discard any plastic bags after one use. As a precaution, take care with the amount of time applied, because prolonged exposure to ice can cause tissue damage.

Natural foods rich in lysine are known to inhibit attacks of herpes such as amaranth, cheese (non pasteurised), egg whites, organ meats, oily fish, quinoa, whole grains and plain yoghurt.

Avoid yeast products and mushrooms as these can cause herpes attacks.

NOTE: It is important to inform all former partners so that they can get treatment and avoid passing the disease on further.

There are more remedies for herpes on the Virus page for more information about treating and avoiding virus infection complications with natural food. Many herbs and spices have antiviral properties which can keep virus infections in check.

Also visit the Medicinal Herbs and Spices page for more information about antiviral plant foods.

Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV16). This is the most common sexually transmitted infections. There are more than 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital areas of males and females. These HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. They can cause serious health problems, including genital warts and certain cancers. There is no certain way to tell who will develop health problems from HPV and who will not. In most cases it goes away by itself before it causes any health problems and most people who become infected do not even know they have it. HPV is not the same as herpes or HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Both viruses can be passed on during sex, but they have different symptoms and cause different health problems.

Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. They can appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected partner even if the infected partner has no signs of genital warts. If left untreated, they might go away, remain unchanged, or increase in size or number. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types that cause cancers. Genital warts can be treated successfully with a tincture or paste made of bloodroot or comfrey.

See the Virus page for more information and natural remedies.

Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea is a disease caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium that can infect men and women usually from sexual contact. It affects the urethra, rectum and throat. Gonorrhoea does respond to natural herbal treatments, so you are advised to visit to your health practitioner. Gonorrhoea is highly contagious and can cause several serious complications if not treated properly. It can cause serious scarring of the ovarian tubes which can render a woman infertile. Gonorrhoea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea. Anyone who has any type of sex can catch gonorrhoea. The infection can be spread by contact with the mouth, vagina, penis or anus. The bacteria grow in warm, moist areas of the body, including the tube that carries urine out of the body (urethra). In women, the bacteria may be found in the reproductive tract (which includes the fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix). The bacteria can even grow in the eyes.

Symptoms in men:

  • Burning and pain while urinating

  • Increased urinary frequency or urgency

  • Discharge from the penis (white, yellow, or green in colour)

  • Red or swollen opening of penis (urethra)

  • Tender or swollen testicles

  • Sore throat (gonococcal pharyngitis)

Symptoms in women
Can be very mild or nonspecific, and may be mistaken for another type of infection. They include:

  • Vaginal discharge

  • Burning and pain while urinating

  • Increased urination

  • Sore throat

  • Painful sexual intercourse

  • Severe pain in lower abdomen (if the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes and stomach area)

  • Fever (if the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes and stomach area)

  • If the infection spreads to the bloodstream, fever, rash, and arthritis-like symptoms may occur.

Complications in women may cause

  • Salpingitis (scarring of the fallopian tubes), which can lead to problems getting pregnant or ectopic pregnancy

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease

  • Infertility (inability to become pregnant)

  • Pregnant women with severe gonorrhoea may pass the disease to their baby while in the womb or during delivery

Complications in men may cause

  • Scarring or narrowing of the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body

  • Abscess (collection of pus around the urethra)

Complications in both men and women may include:

  • Joint infections

  • Heart valve infection

  • Meningitis

One natural treatment alternative to antibiotics for gonorrhoea is fagara but tests need to be done after any kind of treatment to ensure the gonorrhoea has been eliminated. The conventional antibiotics that still work must be given by injection and tablets. Tablets alone will not kill the gonorrhoea bacteria.

 

NOTE: It is vitally important to inform previous partners that they may have contracted or passed on this disease so that they will not pass it on further or leave it untreated.

HIV (AIDS) See on the Virus page

Pubic lice (Phthirus pubis, crabs)

Pubic lice are small, wingless, parasitic insects found primarily in the pubic or genital area of humans. Pubic lice infestation is found worldwide and occurs in all races, ethnic groups and levels of society. It is not necessarily spread through sexual intercourse as bedding, towels and clothes can also spread pubic lice. The lice produce tiny eggs called nits which are similar in size to dandruff flakes and attach themselves to the hair shaft. Once these nits hatch, they multiply even more quickly. Pubic lice can cause intense itching and scratching, which sometimes leads to a secondary bacterial infection. Although pubic lice can affect any part of the body; they generally favour the hairs of the genital area.

See remedies for pubic lice on the Skin parasites page.

Syphilis

A spirochetes bacterium, Treponema pallidum is the causative organism for the disease. Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is usually spread by sexual contact. Syphilis starts as a painless sore that appears mostly on the genitals and mouth. If untreated, syphilis progresses in stages and can lead to heart and brain damage and even death. About 3 weeks, although the range is from 10 to 90 days, after being infected with syphilis, a sore (chancre) that is usually painless often appears on the genitals. This first stage in the course of syphilis is referred to as the primary stage. The chancre usually heals without treatment in 3 to 6 weeks. If syphilis is not treated during the primary stage, it often progresses to later stages.

In the secondary stage of syphilis, a skin rash will usually develop about 2 to 8 weeks after the chancre appears. The symptoms usually disappear without treatment within two months. After the rash clears, a person may have a period with no symptoms. This symptom-free period is called the latent (hidden) stage. Even though symptoms disappear, the bacteria that cause syphilis remain in the body and begin to damage the internal organs. The latent period may be as brief as 1 year or range from 5 to 20 years. A person is contagious during the primary and secondary stages and may still be contagious during the early part of the latent stage. During this time, symptoms of the second stage of syphilis may reappear. This is called a relapse and can occur several times.

If not detected and treated, syphilis may then progress to the tertiary (late) stage, the most destructive stage of syphilis. During this stage, syphilis may cause serious blood vessel and heart problems, mental disorders, blindness, nerve system problems, and even death. It may begin as early as 1 year after infection or at any time during the infected person's life. About one-third of untreated people who are infected with syphilis will have the complications of tertiary (late) syphilis. Any organ system (such as the central nervous system) may become involved. Complications of tertiary (late) syphilis include:

  • Gummata, which are large sores inside the body or on the skin

  • Cardiovascular syphilis, which affects the heart and blood vessels

  • Neurosyphilis, which affects the nervous system.

Congenital syphilis refers to syphilis passed from the mother to the baby during pregnancy or during labour and delivery. Congenital syphilis can cause complications in newborns and children. Cardiovascular syphilis refers to the infection of the heart and related blood vessels by the syphilis bacteria. This complication usually begins as an inflammation of the arteries. Destruction caused by cardiovascular syphilis can be life-threatening. Complications of cardiovascular syphilis include: 

  • Narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart, which may lead to chest pain (angina), heart attack and possibly death.

  • Damage to heart valves that may lead to heart failure.

  • Aortic aneurysm. If a vessel becomes weak enough, it can rupture and cause death.

Treatment that cures the syphilis infection will stop the progress of cardiovascular syphilis but the damage that has already occurred may not be reversed.

Gummata in syphilis are growths of pink, fleshy tissue that contain syphilis bacteria. They may appear as nodules or ulcers or become masses that are like tumours. Gummata are rare. When they do occur, they range from 1 mm to 1 cm in size. Common sites of gummata include the:

  • Skin, where they cause shallow open sores that heal slowly.

  • Mucous membranes. These gummas may become cancerous.

  • Bones, where they cause destruction of bones and pain that is especially severe at night.

  • Eyes, resulting in visual impairment that may lead to blindness.

  • Respiratory system, where they cause hoarseness, breathing problems, and wheezing.

  • Gastrointestinal system, where they cause stomach pain, inability to eat large meals, belching and weight loss.

Neurosyphilis refers to the infection of the brain and spinal cord by the syphilis bacteria. This can lead to destruction in many areas of the nervous system, causing loss of function of a person's arms or legs, loss of vision and altered mental abilities. Neurosyphilis can affect many different body systems and may develop over an extended period of time. Symptoms of neurosyphilis usually include:

  • Personality changes, such as confusion and irritability.

  • Hearing loss.

  • Vision problems.

  • Decreased ability to concentrate.

  • Memory loss.

  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech.

  • Tremor of the fingers and lips.

  • Mild headaches.

  • Disorderly appearance.

Treponoma pallidum, the causative organism of syphilis is an anaerobe. It is killed at once by drying and it remains alive in blood obtained for transfusion for only 72 hours.

Other methods of transmission besides unprotected sex include blood-transfusion, tattooing, hukka, musical instruments, kissing and by accidental inoculation in technical workers. The intensity of the infection, the manifestation and the progression has a lot to do with the individual's immunity status. It has been observed that people with poor immunity progress rapidly into the secondary and tertiary stages of the disease, whereas those with stronger immunity remain in the primary stage for longer and often recover completely with the help of a little medication. 

Syphilis Symptoms
The manifestations are different at every stage of the disease. 

1. Acquired Syphilis: 

The infection is usually acquired from a sexual partner who is in the infectious stage (which usually lasts up to 2 years) of this disease. In the first or primary stage of syphilis, a painless chancre or punched-out ulcer appears at the site of infection, within a month after exposure. Any fluid oozing out of the chancre is highly contagious. Regional lymphadenopathy occurs.

2. Secondary Syphilis: 

The secondary stage sets in after nearly two months and is characterized by a generalided rash on the skin and mucous membranes, which is coppery red in appearance and non-itching. The rash is symmetrical, pleomorphic, roseolar, macular, papular and pustular. Papular lesions, on friction become condylomas, as on anal margin, axillae and unsupported breasts. A highly infectious wart-like lesion develops on the genitals and painless punched out ulcers develop in the mouth. Severe symmetrical pain is experienced in all joints without objective swelling and there is a night-time increase in pain. These are also accompanied by fever, malaise, enlarged lymph nodes, etc, which usually subside on their own, within a month

3. Tertiary Syphilis: 

In the third or tertiary stage, the disease progresses silently within the internal organs without manifesting in any external signs or symptoms. This stage can actually persist for nearly 30 years. In this stage, nodular lesions called syphilitic gummata develop under the skin, in the mucous membranes or within the internal organs such as the liver, heart, kidneys, bones and other visceral organs, ultimately resulting in death. 

'Neurosyphilis' occurs in nearly 15% of the tertiary cases and is called tabes dorsalis. Lack of muscular coordination, urinary incontinence and degeneration of the reflexes may be present; psychosis known as general paralysis of the insane may follow. 

Infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or a child born with congenital syphilis - where the child tends to have a high forehead, saddle-shaped nose and peg-shaped teeth. 

Herbs that can be an effective remedy for syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases

NOTE: It is important to always get tested after any type of treatment to ensure it has worked and all former partners must be informed.

Unfortunately, most sexually transmitted disease are blood borne so there are few natural remedies powerful enough to fight these infections. However, a healthy diet, which will strengthen the immune system, which may help to prevent and assist in the conventional treatment of these diseases. In most cases, only powerful antibiotics  will work and these need to be administered by injection. Over-the-counter or online bought antibiotics will not be effective and must be avoided as they can cause mutations in the bacteria rendering them resistant to all antibiotics. Tests must always be done after any kind of treatment to ensure the infection has gone, before engaging in any sexual activity, otherwise it can be unwittingly passed on to others and, in some cases, untreated STDs can lead to serious complications later on.

Natural foods containing plenty of fibre and the required vitamin, phytonutrient and mineral levels will enable the body to resist infection from bacteria, fungi and yeast, parasites or viruses.

Try to avoid all refined and processed foods, any foods with additives such as aspartame, coffee, fizzy drinks, sugar, table salt (use Himalayan pink crystals or unrefined sea salt), white flour and white rice (choose whole grains and brown or wild rice). This will help the immune system fight off all infections.

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