Sexual Transmitted Diseases

Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases

Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are caused by bacterial infections, while others result from viral infections. Below, some of the most prevalent bacterial sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are described.


Gonorrhea is an STD that is caused by a sexually transmitted bacterium. The bacterium specifically associated with gonorrhea is known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This bacterium is mainly spread via sexual contact such as vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The bacterium can infect the vagina, urethra, paraurethral glands, and Bartholin glands, causing purulent inflammation of each.

In females, Neisseria gonorrhoeae can ascend to the cervix, uterine canal, and fallopian tubes, potentially causing inflammation and pain. In males, it can spread to the prostate and testis, leading to similar symptoms. Moreover, the bacterium can disseminate to other parts of the body, including the eyes, throat, rectum, and joints, causing inflammation even in these regions. Importantly, in many cases, there may be no symptoms associated with gonorrhea, although it is still transmissible.

Regardless of symptoms, treatment is highly recommended for all sexual partners involved to prevent further infection or complications. If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to serious issues, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility in women, as well as epididymitis and infertility in men. Additionally, it can be transmitted during childbirth, potentially causing neonatal conjunctival infection. Early detection and treatment are essential to mitigate the consequences of gonorrhea and reduce its spread.


Chlamydia is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STD) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It is a frequent culprit behind conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility, with many cases being asymptomatic.

Chlamydia tends to affect the urethra and cervix, often resulting in discharge. There is a notable link between Chlamydia infection and an increased risk of cervical cancer. Furthermore, individuals exposed to Chlamydia have a heightened susceptibility to contracting HIV.

During childbirth, Chlamydia can lead to neonatal lung and eye infections in the newborn. Due to these potential complications and the risk of transmission, it is strongly recommended that both partners receive treatment for Chlamydia. Early diagnosis and appropriate management are crucial for preventing adverse outcomes and reducing the spread of this common STD.


Syphilis, caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, is primarily transmitted through sexual contact. This complex disease presents several distinct stages and symptoms:

  1. Primary Stage: It often begins with a firm, painless ulcer at the site of infection, which may not always be clinically apparent.
  2. Secondary Stage: In this stage, gray, flattened, wart-like lesions can develop on various parts of the body. It marks the systematic spread of the infection throughout the body, leading to tissue damage.
  3. Tertiary syphilis: a severe stage of the disease, typically manifesting 10 to 30 years after the initial infection. During this stage, syphilis can cause significant damage to internal organs, including the brain (Neurosyphilis), potentially leading to life-threatening complications.
  4. Congenital Syphilis: When pregnant individuals are infected, the bacterium can cross the placenta as early as six months into pregnancy, causing intrauterine fetal malformation and birth defects in the unborn child.

The good news is that syphilis is curable, especially when detected and treated early. Timely treatment with antibiotics can effectively eradicate the infection and prevent its progression to more severe stages.


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Human Reproduction: A Clinical Approach Copyright © 2023 by Dr. Hala Bastawros, M.D is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.