Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that affect the skin of the genital area include genital warts, genital herpes, syphilis and chancroid. STDs are a category of infections that are transmitted through genital contact with an infected person. Public education has reduced the cases of some older STDs, especially in developed nations, while new STDs have been discovered and are spreading. Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading STDs.
Genital warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). They may be small, flat, flesh-colored bumps or tiny, cauliflower-like bumps. Genital warts in men can appear on the penis, near the anus, or between the penis and the scrotum. Genital warts on women may appear on the vulva and perineal area, in the vagina and on the cervix. Genital warts vary in size and may even be undetectable, but can cause cervical cancer.
Treatment of genital warts is important to prevent the spread of the disease. Genital warts can be removed but the virus that causes them remains in the system, often causing recurrence of the warts. Your Trillium Creek Dermatology & Surgery Center skin experts can offer you a number of options to effectively remove genital warts, including cryotherapy (freezing), chemical treatment and laser surgery.
Genital herpes is a common STD caused by the herpes simplex virus. During an outbreak, genital herpes causes painful sores on the thighs, genitals or rectum. However, during remission or in women infected on the cervix, there may be no noticeable symptoms.
Herpes is spread through sex with an infected person, including oral sex with a person who has cold sores. Herpes can be spread from one part of the body to another, such as from genitals to fingers to eyes, and condom use does not completely eliminate the risk of infection.
Your Trillium Creek Dermatology skin expert can determine if you have herpes through cultures as well as a blood test. Although there is no cure for genital herpes, outbreaks can be prevented or minimized through the use of prescription medications.
Syphilis is caused by the bacteria treponema pallidum. It is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore usually found on the penis, the inside/outside the vagina or rectum and occasionally on the mouth. It cannot be spread through contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing or eating utensils.
Many symptoms of syphilis can remain hidden for years or are indistinguishable from those of other diseases, making diagnosis difficult. Syphilis is easy to cure in its early stages with an injection of penicillin. Additional doses are needed to treat someone who has had syphilis for longer than a year. For people who are allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics are available.
Chancroid is an STD caused by exposure to the bacteria haemophilus ducreyi. The infection causes painful, irregularly shaped sores that appear on the penis, the inside/outside the vagina or rectum and occasionally on hands, thighs or mouth.
Chancroid is a localized infection that can be effectively treated with no long term effects. Chancroid sores are similar to the sores caused by syphilis, so it is important that you seek medical treatment to determine the exact cause of any genital sores and begin treatment immediately. Your Trillium Creek Dermatology skin expert can determine the cause of sores and outbreaks, and prescribe and effective course of treatment.