Join Courtney as she flies solo and talks STIs – specifically chlamydia and gonorrhea. It’s a more technical dive as she reviews transmission, symptoms, testing, treatment, and prevention.
All right. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome to Wellbeing Wednesdays. I'm your host Courtney Weaver. I'm the director over at Well WVU. Unfortunately, I'm alone today in the booth. Couldn't get anyone to come and chat with me, but that's okay because like I threatened to do in our teaser. That means that I'm just going to ramble on for a little bit about the topic of my choice.
[00:00:26] The topic of my choice is and will always be sexual health because that's my area of expertise. So today we're going to talk a little bit about STEs and STI stands for a sexually transmitted infection. You might also hear the term STD, which is stands for sexually transmitted disease. Now, those two terms are used interchangeably.
[00:00:45] Uh, people like to use the STI a little bit more because disease sounds very little. Uh, whereas infection is something that you're more likely to recover from, and a lot of STDs are curable. So, um, just some basic information. So young people are actually at a really high risk for STDs. Actually, half of all sexually active young adults will acquire an STI at least once by the time they turn the age of 25.
[00:01:10] That is a statistic from the center for disease control, also known as the CDC. The CDC recognizes that there's about 25 sexually transmitted infections in the world. Uh, but many are not common. There's about nine that are super common here in the U S. And those are divided into three different categories, bacterial, viral, and parasitic.
[00:01:30] Now, it'd be great if there was like three, three and three, but that's not how it works. So there are three bacterial infections, which are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, parasitic infections. There are two major ones. Pubic lice and trichomoniasis or trick. Yeah, pubic lice, also known as crabs. Uh, and then viral infections, they, there's four of those, and actually they all start with an H, which is a great way to help you remember them.
[00:01:55] But that's herpes. HPV, which stands for human papilloma virus, HIV, which is human immunodeficiency virus. And then hepatitis B. Now there are other forms of hepatitis like a and C, but B is the one that's transmitted through sexual fluids. Now, every STI is transmitted a different way. They usually, they're transmitted through fluids or through skin to skin contact.
[00:02:17] Uh, viral infections are treatable, not curable, meaning that. You treat the symptoms, but the virus is something that you will have to manage. Uh, and then bacterial and parasitic infections are curable. Meaning you get diagnosed, you take an antibiotic, and then the bacteria or parasite is gone from your body.
[00:02:35] So when, um, now I'm gonna focus on two main bacterial STEs today, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Cause why not. Uh, so chlamydia is actually the most common sexually transmitted infection in college students. Uh, so remember, it's a bacterial infection. So that means it is curable. Chlamydia is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids such as semen and vaginal secretions.
[00:03:01] And the thing about chlamydia is that actually it is usually asymptomatic. So that means that there are no symptoms. Most of the time, actually around 80% of the time, people won't experience symptoms. So that means that someone might not know that they have chlamydia until they get tested. So that's really important to know, which is why regular testing.
[00:03:19] Is so critical. Uh, one of its nicknames is actually the silent infection. Uh, because of that, cause there are no symptoms. Um, and actually a lot of times people think that chlamydia is nickname is the clap, but in reality, gonorrhea is nickname is the clap. Yes. And Nick is looking at me like, Whoa. Uh, but that's true.
[00:03:40] And we'll talk about, there's a lot of different. Uh, origin stories to that nickname of what we can talk about that when we get to gonorrhea. Um, now. If you do experience symptoms from chlamydia, they'll be included on this list. So you might experience pain or burning during urination. You might experience pain during sex, lower belly pain, abnormal vaginal discharge, so that may be yellowish and have a strong smell.
[00:04:06] Now it's important to note that the vagina is awesome because it's a self-cleaning organ, much like your eyeballs. Um, so. It is perfectly natural and normal for the vagina to have a discharge. Usually it is clear and odorless. Sometimes it has, it's a whitish color. It depends on where someone is in their menstrual cycle, but it is normal to have discharge.
[00:04:27] Now, if it's yellowish and has a strong smell, that's the sign of a problem. Um, so when my experience bleeding between periods, they might experience puss or a water or Milky discharge from the penis. Swollen or tender testicles, pain, discharge, and or bleeding around the anus. Uh, you can also get chlamydia in your eyes, and if that's the case, you can experience redness, itching, and discharge.
[00:04:50] And then if someone gets, it gets chlamydia in there. Throat. Uh, that means it can cause soreness, but actually it's pretty rare to experience symptoms in the throat. So again, the only way you'll know that you have chlamydia is to get tested. That's the case for any STI. You cannot tell that someone has one by looking at them.
[00:05:08] That's really important because actually, while the most common symptom of chlamydia is STI, or sorry, most coveted of chlamydia as dose of dose. Well, actually the most comments I've done of STS in general is no symptoms. So getting tested now, you should get tested for STDs every year or in between partners.
[00:05:27] All right. Now when you get tested for chlamydia, they can do one of two things. They can either collect a urine sample, so you just pee in a cup, or they'll rub your genitals with a cotton swab to take cell samples from like the urethra, the vagina, the cervix, or the anus. So chlamydia can have similar symptoms to other STEs, particularly gonorrhea, which you'll hear about in a few minutes.
[00:05:50] So your healthcare provider might test for a few infections because it has those similar symptoms. You can actually get tested on campus at student health services. If you don't use student health and use your regular family doctor, they're your regular healthcare provider can provide the testing. You can also get tested through the health department.
[00:06:09] Um, now. If someone is diagnosed with chlamydia, they'll be prescribed a course of antibiotics. Now it's critical for any illness in which antibiotics are prescribed that you take all the medicine as it is prescribed. So stopping halfway through and symptoms have disappeared isn't good. So the infection.
[00:06:28] Stays in your body until you finish the antibiotics. Other important things to note is your partner or partners should also get tested. You'll need to refrain from sex for seven days regardless of your medication because sometimes you're given, you know, seven day’s worth of antibiotics. Sometimes you're just given one strong dose, but you still need to wait that seven days.
[00:06:46] You want to get tested again. Three to four months just to make sure the infection has cleared your system. You don't want to share a medication with anyone. Um, each person should get a separate dose of antibiotics and then you finishing the medication does not make you immune to chlamydia, so you can contract it again if you're exposed in the future.
[00:07:06] So that's really important to note. Um, so if left untreated, it can cause some issues so it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, uh, which is an infection of your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, so that can lead to pain, infertility, or ectopic pregnancy. For those who don't know, ectopic pregnancy is what happens when a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube as opposed to the uterus.
[00:07:29] Um, and that can cause the fallopian tube to burst and be incredibly dangerous for that person. Um, and then chlamydia can also spread to your epididymis, which is maybe one of my favorite words, but it's the tube that carries sperm from the testicles and cause epididymitis another one of my favorite words.
[00:07:49] Uh, and that can also cause a chronic joint pain. Now, how do we prevent chlamydia? Well, because chlamydia is transmitted through fluid transmission. One of the easiest ways to prevent it, if you are sexually active, is to use a barrier method. So barrier methods are external condoms, internal condoms, and dental dams.
[00:08:08] For those who aren't familiar with what a dental dam is, it is a sheet of latex that you use for oral sex on the Volvo or the anus. Um, an internal condom is something is a condom that can be inserted into the vagina or the anus prior to sex, and then extra condom is usually placed on a penis or a sex toy.
[00:08:27] But really any active intercourse needs a barrier. Oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Another way to prevent the spread of STDs would be to practice abstinence. Now, everyone has a different definition of what abstinence is, but if you're practicing it where you're really limiting your sexual contact, so no oral, anal, or vaginal sex, it is highly effective at preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
[00:08:48] All right, so now onto good gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is another bacterial infection. That means it's curable. I'm going to repeat that a bunch. It's curable. It's also transmitted through fluids. So semen, projector, Tory fluid and vaginal fluids. Now, chlamydia and gonorrhea, they are not spread through casual contact, such as holding hands, kissing, sharing food or drinks, coughing, sneezing, or sitting on toilet seats.
[00:09:15] So gonorrhea can infect the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra, throat, and eyes. And like chlamydia it, it's usually asymptomatic. So no symptoms. So getting tested is important. Now, if you do experience symptoms, some of them are going to be very similar to chlamydia. So pain or burning during urination and abnormal discharge from the vagina that may be yellowish or bloody.
[00:09:37] So that is a little bit of a difference between gonorrhea and chlamydia. So instead of the strong order that you would see with chlamydia, you would see. Bloody discharge with gonorrhea. Uh, someone might experience a bleeding between periods and then people with penises are actually more likely to have symptoms if they get gonorrhea.
[00:09:55] And they'll usually begin within a week after they get the infection. So they might experience yellow, white, or green discharge from the penis, pain or burning during urination, pain or swelling in the testicles. Um, and then if it's in the ADA, as you might experience itching in or around your anus, just charged from the anus and pain when you poop.
[00:10:13] And if gonorrhea is in the throw, it rarely causes symptoms, but if they happen, then it's going to cause a sore throat. No, it's actually the same route of testing as chlamydia. So when someone goes to get tested for STDs, chlamydia, gonorrhea is actually the same test. So a urine sample or a swab, um, it is easy to cure the antibiotics.
[00:10:33] However, there are some strains of gonorrhea that have grown resistant to certain antibiotics. So you might have to take more than one type of medication. So usually your doctor will give you like a shot of antibiotics in their office and then you'll take pills on top of them. Uh, and the same rules apply with the medication as for chlamydia.
[00:10:51] So you take all the medication as directed and you don't have sex for seven days, uh, and can also cause PID or sorry, pelvic inflammatory disease and epididymitis if left untreated. Uh, and then having either chlamydia or gonorrhea increases your chances of contracting or transmitting HIV. And if you have either chlamydia or gonorrhea while you're pregnant and don't treat it, it can be passed to the baby when giving birth.
[00:11:14] So, and this can cause problems for the child. So if someone has gone a Rhea and transmits it to their child, they may experience blindness, joint infections or blood infections. And then for chlamydia, the baby might experience eye infections and pneumonia. And then it also increases the risk for early delivery for the parent.
[00:11:33] Uh, so for more information on all STI, uh, you can visit the website for the center for disease control, which is cdc.gov. They actually have a whole section of their website dedicated to STEs. Uh, and then if you can also get more information on the website for planned Parenthood. Now, if you do receive a diagnosis, you need to let your partners know so that they can go get tested and treated as well, and they can stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
[00:12:00] Whew. That was a lot of information in a very short period of time. Um, I think that was a solid. 1213 minutes of me just rambling about chlamydia and gonorrhea. Hopefully you'll find that useful. Um, now we usually do a little pop culture moment in wellbeing. Now, since I don't have anyone here with me today, I'm just going to briefly mention this because it's something that I want to discuss a few weeks from now when I have a certain person on the show.
[00:12:27] So again, we're going to talk about a Netflix series. It's a limited series documentary. I'm called the pharmacist on, it's actually about eight pharmacists in New Orleans whose son was murdered. Um, and that's how the. Series starts and then it progresses from there. And to actually discussing the depth of the opioid epidemic in the New Orleans St Bernard Parish area, I'm only about halfway through the series, but it's really gripping.
[00:12:59] But I really want to save an analysis for it, uh, for a few weeks from now when we have a guest from collegiate recovery on here. Cause he's actually the one who recommended it for me. Um, but I'm telling you about it now so you can watch it. And so then we can all enjoy that dissection when it happens.
[00:13:18] So special Encore, uh, totally forgot to talk about the origins of gunnery, his nickname, the clap. Uh, so there are a few origin stories associated with that particular nickname. So the first is that it came from old English for the word clappin, a C L a. P. P. a. N. Because that probably wasn't pronounced correctly.
[00:13:41] Um, but it was actually, that word was used to describe a beating or a throbbing, and so that could refer to the painful or burning urination or swelling in the penis or Regina that can be caused by gonorrhea. Um, second, there are some folks, and this is the story that I actually heard. That it comes from the treatment during medieval times of clapping the penis or slamming the penis between both hands or a hard surface to get rid of any of the discharge that was present and therefore getting rid of the infection.
[00:14:14] But I heard that they would lay a penis on a board and drop a book on top of it. And so it was named the clap because of the sound that it made. Uh. But you never know. Uh, and then finally, um, there was an old French word, which is a word for a brothel, which is an out of date term. I would just like to point that out, but it would refer to a location where the disease might have more easily spread.
[00:14:40] So that was a fun history lesson. If you've heard other stories, I would be really fascinated to know them. So just let me know. So bonus, bonus time ended. That's going to wrap it up for me. It's a little bit shorter of an episode today cause I'm by myself. Uh, but stay tuned for next week for Wellbeing Wednesdays.
[00:15:02] Thank you. And good night, even though it's not night.