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What is the Most Common STD in Women?

Article Details
  • Written By: L.R. Ferguson
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 04 August 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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There is actually more than one most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in women. In particular, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are all STDs that occur in high rates among females worldwide. With more than an estimated 300 million cases of STDs occurring throughout the world each year, countries typically have their own specific methods for collecting and interpreting data on STD rates. Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have all been shown to occur in millions of women throughout the world, with the United States having the highest rate of STDs among developed countries.

The first STD that has been shown to occur frequently in women is chlamydia, a bacterial infection. The disease initially is symptomless, so many months might pass before a woman notices that she has chlamydia, the signs of which include pain during sex, irregular vaginal discharge and bleeding between menstrual cycles. If untreated, cases of this STD in women can lead to serious infections called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility. More than half of the millions of chlamydia infections that happen worldwide each year are found in females. The three regions that have the highest rates for chlamydia include North America, Western Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

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Gonorrhea is another very common STD in women that can initially strike without symptoms. When signs of the bacterial infection do appear, women typically experience burning during urination, green or yellow-colored discharge and pelvic pain. Although gonorrhea is curable, it can easily spread to other parts of the body and develop into PID. As with chlamydia, more than half of all cases affect women, and North America, Western Europe, North Africa and the Middle East all have high incidents of gonorrhea among females.

Lastly, syphilis is also a common STD in women, though cases of this disease occur less frequently than those of chlamydia and gonorrhea. Syphilis can lay dormant and unnoticeable for many years, particularly after the first stage of the disease in which a lesion or sore appears at the site of infection. In its second stage, syphilis can cause a faint rash on the palms and feet, as well as fever, muscle aches and headaches, all of which eventually resolve themselves. In the latent stage of syphilis, which can last for several years, the nervous system, circulatory system and organs all can suffer damage, potentially leading to death. Again, a little more than half of all cases occur in women, particularly those who live in North America, Western Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

A common STD in women not only can pose a threat to a woman’s health but also to the health of her sex partners and her unborn baby if she is pregnant. In particular, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are all serious infections that can cause significant damage to the female body if they are not treated soon after transmission. Having unprotected sex and multiple sex partners are two of the most common reasons for the spread of common STDs in women. Furthermore, these diseases occur more frequently in women than in men because the surface area of the female genitals is larger than that of the male, so it has a greater chance of being exposed to infection.

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