About STIs and bacterial infections

STIs and bacterial infections can be passed on very easily from person to person following sexual contact. Do not ignore symptoms of STIs and bacterial infections, as if left untreated these can cause permanent health problems.

If you think you may have a sexually transmitted infection get tested and seek treatment. If you have tested positive for infection we can provide antibiotict treatment. Already tested positive?

Please note: if you have had unprotected sex in the past 2 weeks, a urine test may not detect the infection. Some infections such as HIV and syphilis can only be picked up using a blood test.

For STI treatments

We can treat the following infections:

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK: 1 in 10 young people are estimated to be carriers. Chlamydia affects both men and women, however incidence rates amongst women are higher as they are more easily infected than men. Chlamydia is a bacteriabourne infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. It is passed on between humans via sexual contact. In many cases, patients do not notice any symptoms which has earned the disease the attribute of being silent. This can quickly become a problem because if left untreated, chlamydia can lead to female infertility and other health complications.

Chlamydia is often symptomless and it is easy for the infection to go unnoticed and untreated. Chlamydia can lead to other health complications such as infertility, pelvic inflamatory disease, pelvic pain and an increased risk of ectopic pregnany (a potentially dangerous condition where the baby grows outside the womb) in women. If the infection is passed on to a newborn baby, it can cause pneumonia and conjunctivitis (eye inflammation). According to research, chlamydia can also impair the fertility of men and with each time you contract the disease, the chances that youll experience difficulties when trying to conceive will increase. Only regular testing can help prevent complications from Chlamydia.

Symptoms include:

Women

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when urinating.
  • Lower abdominal pain, low back pain, nausea, fever, pain during intercourse, or bleeding between menstrual periods.

Men

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Burning sensation when urinating.
  • Burning and itching around the opening of the penis.
  • Pain and swelling in the testicles (rare).

How is Chlamydia treated?

Chlamydia can be tested for with a simple home test. You can either take a seven day course of Doxycycline or, if this is not possible for one reason or another or if you know that you have already developped a resistance agains this drug, a powerful one-off dose of Zithromax.

Please note that both partners should be treated simultaneously and that barrier contraceptives such as condoms should be used until the all clear is given. If you have any questions with regards to chlamydia or chlamydia treatment, please call us or email our doctor at doctor@pharmadoctor.co.uk.

Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea or "the clap" is a common sexually transmitted disease and is symptomless in typically 50% of women and 30% men. An infection with gonorrhoea can easily be diagnosed with a urine sample based test. If you suspect or know that you or your partner have caught gonorrhoea, seek appropriate treatment as soon as possible to avoid potential complications.

Where there are no symptoms it can be easy to leave the infection untreated or pass it on to another person following sexual contact. While the disease is not fatal, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women and impair fertility in men by affecting the testicles/prostate if left untreated. Gonorrhoea can cause health issues such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility or ectopic pregnancy (when the baby grows outside the womb).

Symptoms include:

Women

  • Severe pain or a burning sensation when passing urine (extremely common).
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge. Discharge can change colour, quantity and smell.
  • Irritation and/or discharge from the anus following infection through anal sex
  • A sore throat following infection through oral sex.

Men

  • Severe pain or a burning sensation when passing urine (extremely common).
  • Abnormal discharge from the penis.
  • Irritation and/or discharge from the anus following infection through anal sex.
  • Inflammation of the testicles and prostate gland.
  • A sore throat following infection through oral sex.

How is Gonorrhoea treated?

Gonorrhoea can be tested for with a simple home test. It can be treated quickly and easily with a course of antibiotic drugs. You can either take a seven day course of Doxycycline or a powerful one-off dose of Suprax which in most cases will clear up the symptoms rapidly and get rid of the infection.

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a contagious disease caused by the herpes simplex virus - a virus that is very similar to the one which causes cold sores around the mouth. The virus can be passed on through physical and sexual contact. Herpes in the form of a cold sore can be spread to the genital area following oral sex, and similarly from the genitals to the mouth or other parts of the body.

Left untreated herpes can increase the risk of miscarriage in women and can induce the early birth of a child whose mother suffers from the disease. Herpes is believed to cause infertility in men.

Most cases of herpes are mild, however symptoms can sometimes be severe and painful. Symptoms are not always present and tend to occur in episodes which clear up after 15-30 days.

Symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Small watery blisters around the genital area
  • Itching and burning/ tingling.
  • A flu-like illness.

Herpes is not always symptomatic, so the only way of checking you are herpes free and preventing spread of herpes unknowingly is to get tested.

How is Herpes treated?

Unfortunately there is no cure for herpes, however antibiotics can be prescribed for symptom management. Make sure you and your partner get tested before having sex without a condom.

If you are already a herpes sufferer you should be aware that you can pass the virus on to partners at any time, however you are more contagious in the days leading up to an episode and those following one. Condoms cannot 100% prevent spread of the disease, but should always be used.

Herpes can be tested for with a simple home test and symptoms can be successfully managed with a course of Aciclovir or Valaciclovir.

Mycoplasma Genitalium

Mycoplasma Genitalium is a tiny parasitic bacterium which lives naturally within certain parts of the body. Very little is known about this bacteria, however it can transmitted during unprotected sex.

Mycoplasma Genitalium often co-exists with other sexually transmitted viral and bacterial infections such as bacterial vaginosis, making it difficult to isolate its symptoms. As with other infections mycoplasma can sometimes be symptomless, so get tested before having sex without a condom.

Symptoms include:

Men

  • Inflammation of the urinary tract (urethritis)
  • Burning sensation when passing urine
  • Genital discharge

Women

  • Burning sensation when passing urine
  • Painful intercourse
  • Genital discharge
  • Vaginal itching

Just like other sexually transmitted infections Mycoplasma Genitalium can be asymtomatic allowing it to go unnoticed.

How is Mycoplasma Genitalium Treated?

Mycoplasms Genitalium is easily tested for using a simple urine test and can be treated by taking oral antibiotics in a one-off dose using Zithromax or over the course of a week using Doxycycline. Usually the infection clears up quickly.

Trichomonas Vaginalis

Trichomonas Vaginalis is caused by a tiny parasite, and is often asymptomatic. It is the most common curable STI in young, sexually active women. If left untreated trichomoniasis can lead to genital swelling. It also increase a persons risk of acquiring HIV and can create complications in pregnant women who may deliver premature, low birth weight babies.

Symptoms include:

  • an unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
  • soreness, inflammation and itching
  • pain when passing urine
  • pain when having sex

How can Trichomoniasis be treated?

The infection can be cleared up quickly and effectively with Metronidazole, a broad spectrum antibiotic. If you have been diagnosed positive with Trichomoniasis, you can otain prescription treatment for you and your partner discreetly and quickly.

Ureaplasma Urealyticum / Non specific urethritis

Urethritis is inflammation of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. Ureaplasma parvum is an umbrella term used to describe a number of urinary tract infections caused by an imbalance of bacteria. Although bacteria can be passed on through sexual contact, this is not strictly a sexually transmitted infection.

Common causes of NSU are:

  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomonas vaginalis
  • Mycoplasma
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Herpes simplex
  • Irritation from a product used in the genital area
  • Damage to the urethra caused by vigorous sex or masturbation
  • Damage to the urethra caused by inserting an object into it, for example a catheter

Symptoms of NSU include:

Men

  • White or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Irritated or sore penis tip
  • Frequent need to urinate

Women

NSU tends to be asymptomatic in women unless the infection manages to spread to other parts of the female reproductive system, such as the womb or fallopian tubes. Left untreated ureaplasma can lead to infertility, chorioamnioitis, stillbirth, premature birth, and, in the perinatal period, pneumonia or meningitis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is a serious health condition that can cause persistent pain and an increased risk of fertility problems.

Depending on the cause of NSU, symptoms may begin a few weeks after an infection or several months later. If NSU has a non-infectious cause, symptoms may begin after a couple of days. Symptoms that start a day or two after sex are usually not caused by an STI, but testing for STIs is still recommended.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a very common vaginal infection. It is not strictly a sexually transmitted infection (STI) however it can be passed on to your partner following unprotected sex.

BV is caused by an imbalance in bacteria and it may be a result of semen being deposited in the vagina after sex. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an imbalance of the bacteria usually found in the vagina. If a woman has BV, the vagina will have:

  • less lactobacilli (lactic acid bacteria)
  • an overgrowth of other types of bacteria
  • a higher pH, making it more alkaline

The infection is asymptomatic in about 50% of women and most men. Bacterial vaginosis can easily go unnoticed and most women only realize that they have it following a routine health check at their GP.

Symptoms include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when urinating.
  • Men can be symptomless carriers of the infection, so infection can only be confirmed following testing.

BV does not usually cause itching or irritation and half of all women do not display any symptoms of infection whatsoever.

BV can appear and disappear without any reason and where there are symptoms, antibiotics may be recommended. Treatment is effective in up to 90% of BV cases, although it is quite common for BV to reoccur. Around 25% of women will have BV again within one month and will need to be treated with antibiotics again.

How is BV treated?

The most effective way to take metronidazole is in tablet form over seven days. There is a larger single dose of antibiotics available however, more people find that their BV is more likely to return if they choose to take the single larger dose. Alcohol can interfere with metronidazole so it is not recommended that you do not drink alcohol for 48 hours after taking metronidazole.

As many STIs are symptomless PharmaDoctor recommends having a full sexual health screen at least once a year and highly recommends you and your partner get the all clear before having sex without a condom.


Already tested postive?

If you have already tested positive through your GP or another home testing service, PharmaDoctor can provide you with antibiotics to clear the infection up. Register with our doctor for an online assessment. If it is safe to prescribe you treatments the doctor will suggest appropriate medications and you can order a course of antibiotics through our private prescription service.

Sexually transmitted infections

Sexually transmitted infections (or STDs) are passed on following unprotected sexual contact (be this vaginal, anal or oral) with an infected person.

Rates of STIs amongst 18-25 year olds are highest, and have grown dramatically in the last 5 years. It is estimated the 1 in 10 18-25 year olds has Chlamydia. Incidences of sexually transmitted infections amongst older generations are also at an all time high.

If you think you have a sexually transmitted disease do not ignore any symptoms. If you experience itching, swelling or redness around the vagina or penis or unusual discharge get tested and treated.

Safe sex advice

Praticising safe sex is the best way of ensuring you do not catch any unwanted infections. If you are in a relationship you and your partner should use a condom every time. If you decide you would prefer to use a different method of contraception wait until you have both been tested for all STIs and have both been given the all clear.
If you are not in a relationship there is nothing to prevent you from enjoying a healthy sex life, so long as you consistently practise safe sex with all new partners.

You cannot get sexually transmitted infections from hugging, sharing baths, using public toilets or swimming pools, sharing cups, plates or cutlery.

If either you or your partner have herpes extra precautions should be taken.

Treating STIs

If you test positive following a urine test do not panic. Do not ignore symptoms as they are unlikely to go away. Treatment is simple and involves taking antibiotic tablets. Based on your medical history our doctor will suggest either a single dose of antibiotics or a longer course of up to 7 days.

If you have tested positive through our service we will provide treatment free of charge. We will send your medications out to you by first class post.

If you have tested positive using another service, our doctor can provide treatments by private prescription following a registration. You will also have the choice of receiving your order by Special delivery next day guaranteed.

For STI treatments