Let's Talk About Safe Sex

By: RSC Editorial Team

January 5, 2022

Why Do STDs Occur More Often in Females than Males?

Sexually transmitted diseases remain a serious medical concern in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that STD cases have increased in recent years, which is particularly worrying for women.

Statistically, women face a higher risk of contracting STDs than men, but if both men and women are sexually active, why do STDs occur more often in females than males?

Are Women More Susceptible to STDs?

Unfortunately, while female anatomy can withstand painful conditions such as menstrual cycles and childbirth, that same anatomy makes women particularly vulnerable to STDs.

The inner lining of the vagina is thin, making it easy for bacteria and viruses to penetrate the body’s defenses. Likewise, the moisture of the vagina creates an ideal environment for bacterial growth that can accelerate STD infections.

Women are also more likely to mistake an STD for something else since discharge is normal, and they might associate any unusual itching with yeast infections.

Often, symptoms of certain STDs don’t appear in infected women, and even when they do, they’re difficult to spot. Sores from STDs such as herpes or syphilis might appear inside the vagina, making it near impossible to detect the infection without a pap smear.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), human papillomavirus (HPV) causes over 300,000 deaths as a result of cervical cancer each year. In 2016, about one million pregnant women contracted syphilis, many of which cases resulted in stillbirths.

Untreated STDs can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection that can be caused by sexually transmitted bacteria spreading to the uterus, fallopian tubes, or the ovaries. The infection can lead to lifelong infertility and ectopic pregnancies.

It’s critical to receive the HPV vaccine to protect yourself and your reproductive health. To check your STD status and prevent long-term STD effects, check out our rapid STD test services.

Reasons Why STDs in Women Are More Prominent

STDs are problematic for everyone, but in heterosexual transmission, women face bigger threats to long-term health. It begs the question: How do STDs affect males and females differently, and why do STDs seem to be more prominent in women?

Women’s Anatomy

The thin inner lining of the vagina makes for easier transmission of STDs–but the disparity in effects goes beyond infection rates.

Women also suffer more rapid infections than men. For instance, if a man contracts herpes, he might see a few blisters appear, whereas a woman would have multiple. Men can develop penile cancer from contracting HPV, but not at the rate women develop cervical cancer via HPV.

Symptoms of STDs are also harder to catch in women, as women can mistake symptoms for ordinary occurrences. Discharge, itching, or discomfort could stem from several causes–none of which a woman may think to be any cause for alarm.

If you suspect you may have an STD, check out our blog to learn more STD symptoms for men and women.

STDs That Are Not Diagnosed Immediately

Unlike men, it’s normal for women to have discharge or even the occasional errant itch. Many women might delay treatment in hopes their symptoms will go away soon.

Even when women go to the doctor, symptoms overlap between run-of-the-mill UTIs, yeast infections, and STDs occurs frequently. It can take multiple tests before doctors finally discover the cause of a woman’s discomfort.

While a doctor searches for a diagnosis, an STD can spread, increasing the risk for long-term reproductive health complications.

STDs Can Affect Pregnancy and the Child

Pregnancy complications are among the most unfortunate long-term effects of untreated STDs.

STDs such as herpes, syphilis, and HIV can transfer to a child during pregnancy and birth. STDs can also cause serious complications, including stillbirth, low birth weight, brain damage, and lifelong conditions like blindness and deafness.

At Rapid STD Testing, we work hard to provide you with the resources you need to protect yourself and your family. The best treatment is prevention, and it’s important to be proactive concerning your sexual health.

To receive a thorough rundown of your STD status, consider our 10-panel STD test.

Women Visit Doctors More Than Men

Be it for general check-ups with a primary care physician or an appointment to refill birth control, women visit the doctor more than men, giving them the option to receive more frequent STD testing. As a result, statistics reflect that women experience higher rates of STDs.

However, it’s important to remember that pap smears screen for cervical cancer, not STDs. To fully know your status and protect yourself from STDs, it’s critical to schedule frequent STD screenings with your doctor or visit us at Rapid STD Testing to check out our same day STD testing options.

STDs That Are More Commonly Contracted By Females

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral infection transferred by skin-to-skin contact. HPV is among the STDs that women most frequently contract and poses a serious potential threat to women’s health in the form of cervical cancer.

It’s important to stay up-to-date with pap smear screenings and STD testing to protect your health. An HPV vaccine is now available to prevent the HPV types most commonly responsible for cervical cancer.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is another common STD that rarely exhibits symptoms in the initial stages. If symptoms do occur, women with chlamydia might experience:

  • Excessive vaginal discharge
  • Painful vaginal sex
  • Burning sensation, especially while urinating
  • Spotting between menstrual cycles

If you perform oral sex on someone who is infected with chlamydia, the infection can affect your throat. Symptoms of a chlamydia infection of the throat include sore throat, coughing, and fever.

Learn more on how you can catch chlamydia.

Gonorrhea

Women are especially susceptible to gonorrhea, as this STD favors warm, moist parts of the body, like the vagina.

As with many STDs, those infected with gonorrhea might not experience any symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, it will be within 2 to 14 days after exposure to the infection.

Symptoms of gonorrhea in women include:

  • Discolored vaginal discharge
  • Excessive urinating
  • Spotting between menstrual cycles
  • Fever
  • Pain during sex

Women face a greater risk of long-term health complications if a gonorrhea infection goes untreated. The bacteria of a gonorrhea infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which in turn leads to chronic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancies.

Herpes

Genital herpes is an STD that causes painful sores to appear in areas of infection. You can find these blisters around the nose, mouth, or genitals.

Infected persons can expect swollen lymph nodes, headaches, and fevers. Likewise, it’s common for the blisters to ooze pus or fluid within the first week of infection.

Genital herpes becomes more precarious with pregnant women, as babies exposed to the virus can experience potentially fatal complications. If you have genital herpes and become pregnant, your doctor can advise you on treatment options and help ensure safe delivery.

Asymptomatic STDs in Males

Men may not face the dire long-term health effects that women do with untreated STDs, but that doesn’t mean STDs can’t wreak havoc on men’s health and the health of their sexual partners.

Most STDs can remain undetected by a lack of symptoms–especially in men. However, infections such as genital herpes, gonorrhea, and HIV can cause serious health problems for infected men, and female partners can face lifelong consequences if they contract certain STDs.

Because asymptomatic STDs are so common in males, it’s imperative for men to get regularly screening for STDs to protect themselves and their sexual partners.

Protect You and Yours With Rapid STD Testing

Women face an anatomical and social burden when grappling with the contraction and detection of STDs. To better protect yourself and your sexual partners, call Rapid STD Testing today at (866) 872-1888 to find a lab near you.

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By: RSC Editorial Team
January 5, 2022

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