Chlamydia Conjunctivitis

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia Trachomatis. It is one of the most common STIs worldwide, and likewise here in Singapore. According to the latest statistics provided by the Department of STI Control (DSC) Clinic, there were officially 2,719 newly diagnosed cases of Chlamydia reported in 2018.

It is well known that Chlamydia affects the genito-urinary system, with the typical symptoms being painful urination, increased urinary frequency or urgency, penile or vaginal discharge, testicular pain or swelling in men, and painful sex or bleeding after sex in women. You may also be aware that Chlamydia can sometimes be completely asymptomatic. However, what most people may not know is that Chlamydia can affect other parts of the body as well, namely the eyes, rectum, throat and joints.

In this article, we will focus on Chlamydia eye infection, also known as Chlamydia Conjunctivitis. You can read more about Chlamydia as an overall topic in a previous article:


What is Chlamydia Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, a clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelids. The conjunctiva helps to lubricate the eye by producing mucus and tears, and prevents the entry of microbes into the eye. The various causes of conjunctivitis include viral or bacterial infections, allergies, chemical irritation and foreign objects. Therefore Chlamydia Conjunctivitis refers to conjunctivitis resulting from a Chlamydia infection.

How does Chlamydia Conjunctivitis occur?

Chlamydia Conjunctivitis is directly spread from the bacteria entering the eyes. This usually happens from touching or rubbing your eyes after touching your genitals (if you have Chlamydia) or those of an infected partner. It is also possible to get infected from sharing towels, eye makeup or cosmetics that contain the bacteria.

Signs and symptoms

Chlamydia Conjunctivitis can present acutely, but more commonly patients have mild symptoms for weeks to months. The majority of cases affect only one eye, and vision is usually unaffected.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Red, itchy, swollen or scratchy eyes
  • Mucous, sticky discharge
  • Tearing
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Crusting and sticking of eyelids
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Enlarged lymph nodes behind the ears

How to tell the difference between Chlamydia Conjunctivitis and other forms of conjunctivitis?

As Chlamydia Conjunctivitis presents very similarly to viral and other bacterial conjunctivitis, it is not possible to tell the difference based on eye signs and symptoms alone. For this reason, many patients may have been previously treated, or self-medicated, with various types of eye drops without symptomatic relief. A diagnosis of Chlamydia Conjunctivitis is usually suspected if close questioning reveals genito-urinary symptoms, or if the sexual partners of these patients have similar eye symptoms.

Who is at risk?

Chlamydia can affect anyone who is sexually active, both males and females alike, regardless of sexual preference or orientation. Young people may be at higher risk for various reasons, including practices like inconsistent condom usage.

Diagnosis

Chlamydia Conjunctivitis is usually diagnosed based on history and examination of the eye. If necessary, a swab test of the conjunctiva can be performed. Your doctor may advise you to test for other STIs as well.

STD Screening Singapore | Rapid STD Test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea PCR

Treatment for Chlamydia Conjunctivitis

If left untreated, Chlamydia Conjunctivitis resolves spontaneously in 6 to 18 months, but most individuals would seek treatment due to the severity of the symptoms. Chlamydia Conjunctivitis is treated with topical antibiotics such as tetracycline, erythromycin and fluoroquinolones, but due to the high probability of concomitant genital tract infection, oral antibiotic therapy is recommended. Sexual partners of the patients should be contacted, evaluated and treated.

Prevention

  • Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching or rubbing your eyes unless your hands are clean
  • Do not share eye makeup or cosmetics with anyone
  • Refrain from sharing towels, washcloths, pillows, or sheets with anyone. If one of your eyes is affected but not the other, use a separate towel for each eye
  • Observe safe sexual practices including consistent and correct usage of condoms, reducing your number of partners or being in a mutually monogamous relationship where you are aware of your partner’s sexual health status
  • Regular STI screening helps you remain aware of your own sexual health status

Neonatal Chlamydia Conjunctivitis

Although relatively harmless in adults, Chlamydia Conjunctivitis can have severe health consequences in children. Infection is acquired from an infected mother during vaginal delivery, from exposure to the bacteria in the birth canal. Chlamydia Trachomatis is responsible for up to 40% of conjunctivitis in neonates. If left untreated, neonatal conjunctivitis can cause blindness.

The symptoms usually develop within 1 day to 2 weeks after birth and typically include redness of the conjunctiva, eyelid swelling, and mucous discharge. At least half of neonates with Chlamydia Conjunctivitis also have the bacteria present in the nasopharynx, and some go on to develop Chlamydia pneumonia. Therefore, oral antibiotic therapy is the treatment of choice in neonatal Chlamydia Conjunctivitis as it can also target concomitant nasopharyngeal infection.

The condition can be prevented by undergoing prompt screening and treatment if a genital infection is suspected during pregnancy. Deliveries should be conducted under hygienic conditions taking all aseptic measures. The newborn baby’s closed lids should be thoroughly cleansed and dried.

Next Read: Common STD Incubation Periods

Pain During Ejaculation

What does it feel like?

Pain during ejaculation is also known as dysejaculation, odynorgasmia, post orgasmic pain, dysorgasmia or orgasmalgia. This can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and can occur during or after ejaculation. The usual sites of pain are the penis (along the shaft or at the tip), scrotum, perineal or perianal area.

The pain can last anywhere from a few minutes up to 24 hours. Dysejaculation can be associated with other sexual dysfunctions. It can significantly impair a person’s quality of life and sex life through reduction of the individual’s self-esteem and sexual desire.

Several studies demonstrated its prevalence between 1–10% in the general population, but this may be underreported due as the discomfort may be transient and mild for some people.The prevalence may increase to 30–75% among men who suffer from chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. It is also seen in other conditions mentioned below.

Causes 

There are a variety of conditions that can result in painful ejaculations, but it can also be an idiopathic problem with no identifiable cause. Sexually transmitted infections, calculi or stones in the seminal vesicles, damage to the pelvic nerves, inflammation of prostate, prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostate surgery, pelvic radiation, a previous history of hernia repair or rectal intercourse and certain medications such as antidepressants have all been associated with dysorgamia. 

Psychological issues may also be the cause of painful ejaculations, especially if the patient does not experience this problem during masturbation. Other rarer causes include heavy metal or mercury toxicity or ciguatera toxin fish poisoning.
Also read: 7 Common Causes For Painful Ejaculation

Evaluation

Just with all types of sexual problems, the doctor will start with a thorough medical and sexual history. A history regarding sexually transmitted diseases, relationship issues, psychological or psychiatric issues and drug intake will be taken. The doctor will also be keen to assess any urinary symptoms, prostatic diseases, familial prostate cancer, previous surgical procedures (e.g., hernia repair or prostatectomy) and previous history of radiotherapy. 

Your doctor may do a prostate exam to look for any pain, swelling or nodules which may indicate a prostate pathology. A neurological and musculoskeletal examination may detect a nervous system pathology.

Investigations your doctor might do include a urine or semen culture looking for any infections, especially with sexually transmitted infections. Blood tests for prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels may be raised if it is a prostate issue. Ultrasound scans may also be ordered. No obvious pathology is detected in a significant number of patients. 

Treatment options

Treatment of painful ejaculation should be directed at managing the underlying cause if there is one. 

If an infection is detected, antibiotics will be given. Urological procedures may be done for prostate growth or cancers. If drugs are a suspected cause, changing the medications or stopping it can be considered. Your doctor may prescribe medical treatment such as muscle relaxants, α-blockers, anti-inflammatory agents, certain types of antidepressants and neuropathic pain medications to alleviate the symptoms. Psychotherapy or relationship counselling should be conducted for patients with an underlying psychological issue. Behavioural therapies and pelvic floor exercises have also shown to be helpful. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) can be done for pelvic pain and dysorgasmia which can also alleviate the pain.

If you do experience pain during ejaculation, it is important to seek medical attention and treatment to rule out serious causes and before this issue impairs your sexual function and quality of life. 

Next read: Dysuria (Painful Urination)

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Dysuria (Painful Urination)

What is Dysuria (Painful Urination)?

Dysuria is the sensation of pain, burning, or discomfort on urination. The pain may be in the lower part of the abdomen, along the length of the penis in males or at the urethral opening in females. It is a symptom which can be due to many different conditions. 


Causes of Dysuria (Painful Urination)

The most common cause of acute dysuria is infection, especially cystitis (infection of the bladder). Other infectious causes include urethritis (infection of the urinary tube) and vaginitis (infection of the vaginal canal). Infections of the prostate may also cause dysuria. These can be due to sexually transmitted infections (STI) or non-STI infections. 

Non-infectious causes can include a foreign body in the urinary tract, certain medication use, urinary tube anatomic abnormalities, trauma, and bladder pain syndrome. Certain autoimmune and psychogenic conditions can cause dysuria as well. 

Dysuria may be accompanied by other symptoms including urinary frequency and urgency, vaginal or penile discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, foul-smelling or blood stained urine, fever and swollen groin lymph nodes.  


Evaluation

The doctor will usually start off with taking a history and performing a physical examination. Crucially, the doctor will also order up some urine tests to be done. These tests can usually tell us the exact organism that is causing the infection. Depending on what the doctor might suspect, other investigations such as radiological investigations (x-rays, ultrasounds or CT scans) and blood tests may be done. If necessary, a urologist may do a scope of the bladder (cystoscopy) as well.


Treatment for Painful Urination

Most of the time, the reason is usually due to a bacterial infection of the urinary tract. For bacterial infections, antibiotics are given to kill off the infection. The type and duration of antibiotics depends on the type of bacteria. Antibiotics in the form of an injection may be given as well. 

If the cause of dysuria is due to a STI, it is imperative that we ensure the bacteria is eliminated completely, and that your sexual partners are tested and treated as well. It is also recommended to screen for other STIs. 

Other symptomatic treatment for dysuria can include medications to ease the discomfort on urination or the other symptoms like urinary frequency and urgency. While these medications do not clear the bacteria by itself, when used in conjunction with the antibiotics, they can provide much needed relief for symptoms that can otherwise be very uncomfortable.

If you do experience dysuria, do not hesitate and seek medical attention and treatment early.

Next read: Vaginal Piercings

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Vaginal Piercings

Female Genital Piercings

What are some different types of genital piercings in females?

Curious about genital piercings?

While the location may seem unusual to some, people still do opt for genital piercings either to enhance sexual pleasure or for ornamental purposes. 

“Vaginal” or “clitoral” piercings are actually misnomers; piercings are most commonly located around the clitoral hood or labia (majora/minora).

  1. Vertical clitoral hood (VCH) – a vertical piercing done through the skin above the glans of the clitoris and rests on top of the glans. This is often done to enhance sexual pleasure for the female as the piercing jewellery places pressure on the clitoris during sexual activity 
  2. Horizontal clitoral hood (HCH) – a horizontal piercing done through the skin above the glans of the clitoris. This is usually more ornamental as it does not come into contact with the clitoris and thus does not provide any sexual stimulation
  3. Triangle – a horizontal piercing that is done through the skin beneath the base of the clitoral hood and rests under the clitoral shaft 
  4. Princess Diana – similar to a VCH but it is done to one side rather than in the centre of the clitoral hood 
  5. Clitoral piercing – actual piercing of the clitoris itself is not so common as it comes with risks of pain and nerve damage 
  6. Labial piercings – either the labia majora or labia minora can be pierced
  7. Fourchette piercing – a vertical piercing through the skin of the perineum (between the vaginal entrance and the anus) 
  8. Christina – a surface piercing through the mons pubis and is purely decorative 

Do they provide any sexual benefits for both partners?

Not all female genital piercings help with sexual pleasure but for those which do (e.g. the VCH, triangle), the female will enjoy more physical stimulation from the piercing than her male partner will. Piercings such as the VCH or triangle, which place pressure on or come into contact with the clitoris, contribute to clitoral stimulation during foreplay or intercourse, increasing sexual pleasure for the woman. 

Fourchette piercings may be felt by your male partner during penetrative vaginal intercourse. 

What are the risks that come with female genital piercings?

The usual risks associated with any piercings apply, such as the risk of blood borne infections if correct sterile standards are not observed, as well as risk of piercing infection which could potentially lead to scarring. Botched piercings where the clitoris is pierced instead of the clitoral hood alone can cause significant pain and nerve damage. 

During the healing process, the piercing is essentially an open wound and you would be at increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) so using condoms during this period is important. 

Are female genital piercings painful?

Female genital piercings are not quite as painful as one would imagine. While the perceived pain level is bound to differ between individuals depending on your pain threshold, it is generally accepted that the pain level is similar to piercings elsewhere. This is because the piercing is actually done through the skin (e.g. the clitoral hood rather than the clitoris itself).

During the healing period, using condoms is a must as contact with your partner’s body fluids (genital fluids or saliva) places you at great risk of infection. 

How long does it take for the piercing wound to heal?

Healing time for female genital piercings generally ranges between weeks to months. VCH, HCH and Princess Diana piercings heal between 4-8 weeks, while triangle piercings may take 3-4 months. Christina piercings take upward of 6 months for healing. 

Will the piercing hole close if I remove the piercing jewellery?

Fresh genital piercings close extremely quickly once you remove the piercing jewellery. For healed piercings, the duration they remain open can vary and depends on how long or well healed the piercings have been for. It is generally accepted that even well healed piercings may close within days. 

Also read: Penile Piercings

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Common STD Incubation Periods

STD Incubation Period. The incubation period for the various STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) is a common question asked by patients in our clinics. It refers to the time between acquiring the infection and the presentation of symptoms. This is different from the window period, which refers to the period after infection in which no current available tests are sensitive enough to detect the infection. The window period for the various STIs depends on which tests are used. 

As different STIs have different incubation periods, it is not easy to answer the question when symptoms will appear after a particular risky exposure. I will list below the common STIs tested for, their incubation and window period as well as possible initial presentation. 


The following are the Common STDs and their incubating periods:

#1 STD Incubation Period – Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Early HIV infection refers to approximately 6 months after initial acquisition. It is estimated that 10 to 60 percent of all early HIV infections are asymptomatic, or without any symptoms. For early symptomatic HIV infection, the usual incubation period is around 2 to 4 weeks, although incubation periods as long as 10 months have been observed.

Acute symptomatic HIV infection present with a collection of signs and symptoms known as Acute Retroviral Syndrome (ARS). The most common findings for ARS are fever, sore throat, rash, swollen lymph nodes, body aches and pains. However, all these symptoms are not specific to acute HIV infection, hence please do not panic if you observe these symptoms after a risky encounter. See your doctor for further advice and testing

The Window period for HIV testing depends on the test that is conducted. The initially 10 days after exposure is known as the eclipse period, for which there are no tests that can pick up any infection. The earliest tests that can be done with conclusive results are the HIV ProViral DNA test or the HIV RNA PCR test, which can pick up possible acute infections 10 days after exposure.

4th Generation HIV tests will be conclusive around 28 days after exposure, while 3rd Generation HIV tests will be conclusive around 90 days after exposure. 

Anonymous HIV Testing is available at our Robertson Walk Branch. HIV Test results in 20 mins.


#2 STD Incubation Period – Syphilis

Approximately 50% of patients diagnosed with syphilis do not have any symptoms. This is because syphilis has 3 stages of infection: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Syphilis and Primary and Secondary syphilis might have symptoms that are so mild that they are ignored by the patient.

Primary syphilis presents with a painless ulcer on the genitalia, known as a chancre. The incubation period for a chancre appears to range from 3 to 90 days, with an average of around 21 days. The chancre will heal within 3 to 6 weeks even without treatment. Within weeks to a few months after the chancre appears, around 25 percent of untreated individuals will develop Secondary Syphilis.

Secondary Syphilis can present with a widespread rash, ulcers, patchy hair loss, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss and fatigue. The infection subsequently goes into a latent phase lasting for years for which there are no signs or symptoms. This is the reason why the majority of syphilis picked up on routine screening are asymptomatic.

Neurosyphilis occurs when the infection reaches the central nervous system i.e. the brain or spinal cord. Neurosyphilis can occur at any stage of infection, but tends to occur in tertiary syphilis. Therefore, neurosyphilis can occur within a few months, but could also develop after 10 to 30 years, of a syphilis infection. 

The window period for syphilis testing depends on the stage of syphilis infection. The blood tests (FTA-ABS and TPPA) will be positive around 1 to 2 weeks after chancre formation. 


#3 STD Incubation Period – Hepatitis B and C

The majority of hepatitis B and C infection are asymptomatic. It has been estimated that around 30 percent of acute hepatitis B infection and less than 25 percent of acute hepatitis C infection are symptomatic. Symptoms of acute infection tend to be very mild and may include the following: Fever, Fatigue, Nausea/vomiting, Dark Urine, Pale stools and abdominal pain. 

The incubation for acute hepatitis B infection is estimated to be around 1 month to 4 month, while the incubation period for acute hepatitis C infection is estimated to be from 2 weeks to 3 months.

The window period for both hepatitis B and C testing for antibodies is on the average about a month. It will be much shorter if alternate tests such as the Hepatitis C RNA PCR test for Hepatitis B Viral Load are used instead.


#4 STD Incubation Period – Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is caused by both Herpes Simplex Virus 1 or 2 (HSV1/2). Genital herpes infections often do not have symptoms or mild symptoms that go unrecognized. It is estimated that one third of patients with new infections do not have symptoms. The initial presentation of symptoms range from severe with painful genitalia ulcers, painful urination, painful lymph node swellings and fever. However, patients also can have mild or no symptoms as well. The initial presentation does not depends on the type of virus (HSV1 vs HSV2)

The incubation period for genital herpes is around 4 days, with a range from 2 days to 12 days.

For asymptomatic infections, HSV 1/2 Antibodies will start appearing in the serum starting from 3 weeks and majority of patients would have antibodies by 16 weeks. The window period for testing for asymptomatic patients is hence from 3 weeks to 16 weeks. For patients with symptoms of the painful genital ulcers, the test of choice is Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAAT) for which a swab of the ulcer is taken and tested for HSV DNA. There is no window period for NAAT.

Rapid Herpes Testing with Next Day Results is available in all DTAP Clinic in Singapore.


#5 STD Incubation Period – Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea causes different symptoms for men and women. For women, the cervix is the most common site of infection and the common symptoms are vaginal itch and discharge. Some women also have heavier periods or bleeding in-between periods. If the infection has ascended beyond the cervix into the uterus, this is a potentially more dangerous condition known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) for which abdomen pain and fever are common symptoms. Up to 70 percent of patients with cervical gonorrhea infection are asymptomatic. 

For men, urethritis is the most common presentation of gonorrhea infections. It is characterised by purulent urethral discharge and painful urination. In contrast to infections in women, the majority of infections in men are symptomatic. 

In women, the incubation period for genital infection is around 10 days. In men, the incubation period for symptomatic infected men is around 2 to 5 days, with 90 percent of these individuals with symptoms of urethritis by 2 weeks.  

The gold standard for testing for gonorrhea infection is NAAT, a urine sample for men and a cervical swab for women. As NAAT is able to detect low numbers of organisms with good accuracy, there is no window period for NAAT testing.

Rapid Gonorrhea & Chlamydia Testing with Next Day Results is available in all DTAP Clinic in Singapore.


#6 STD Incubation Period – Chlamydia

Chlamydia causes similar symptoms as gonorrhea in both men and women. In women, the cervix is also the most common site of infection with a proportion of patients having a urethra infection as well. However the majority of infected women, around 85 percent of patients are asymptomatic with neither signs or symptoms.

Symptoms of chlamydia infection are similar to gonorrhea in men as well, with a clear to mucoid penile discharge and painful urination. The proportion of asymptomatic infection varies as well in men, ranging from 40 to 96 percent with no symptoms. 

The incubation period for symptomatic infection ranges from 5 to 14 days after exposure for both men and women.

The gold testing for testing for chlamydia infection is NAAT as well. There is no window period for NAAT testing.

Rapid Gonorrhea & Chlamydia Testing with Next Day Results is available in all DTAP Clinic in Singapore.


Asymptomatic/Mild Infections (%)Incubation PeriodSample TypesWindow Period
HIV10 to 602 to 4 weeksBloodProviral DNA : 10 days
RNA PCR : 12 days
4th Generation Ag/Ab :28 days
3rd Generation Ag : 90 days
Syphilis503 to 90 days
Average 21 days
BloodFTA-ABS : 1 to 2 weeks after chancre
Hepatitis BMajority Asymptomatic1 month to 4 monthBloodHbsAg : 1 month
Hepatitis CMajority Asymptomatic2 weeks to 3 monthBloodAnti-HCV Ab : 1 month
Herpes702 to 12 days
Average 4 days
Blood/
Swab
HSV 1/2 IgG : 3 to 16 weeks
HSV DNA PCR : No window period
GonorrheaWomen: 70
Men: Majority Symptomatic
Women:10 days
Men: 2 to 5 days
Swab/
Urine
Gonorrhea DNA PCR: No window period
ChlamydiaMajority Asymptomatic5 to 14 daysSwab/
Urine
Chlamydia DNA PCR: No window period

If you like to speak to our doctors on your STD concern, please visit any of our clinics in Singapore & Malaysia.

You can also email us at hello@dtapclinic.com, or call any of our clinics for an appointment

Also on this site: HIV Screening, HIV Test Clinic Singapore, STD Clinic Singapore


Penile Discharge – Video

Penile discharge

Penile discharge is any substance (other than urine) that comes from the urinary tube, also known as the urethra.

Normal discharge includes pre-ejaculate, or pre-cum, and semen ejaculate. These are usually produced during sexual stimulation.

Abnormal discharge can range from clear to pus-like and usually produced in the presence of an infection. In males, the infection is usually due to a sexually transmitted infection.

This may be accompanied by symptoms such as pain on the passing of urine, ulcers, urinary frequency and urgency.

The most common 2 causatives STI organisms are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, but there are a variety of other microorganisms that can cause similar symptoms. Read more: STD symtopms

Non-STI organisms that cause urinary tract infections can also present with discharge. These are usually accompanied by urinary frequency, urinary urgency and foul-smelling or cloudy urine.

Similar organisms may infect the prostate causing prostatitis which may present with discharge, fever, urinary symptoms, pelvic pain and even blood in the semen.

If there has been any instrumentation of the urethra, for example with a catheter or after a procedure at the urologist, a discharge may also be produced due to the trauma.

Balanitis

Balanitis is inflammation of the foreskin and head of the penis that can cause some discharge under the foreskin. It may present with a rash, itching or pain, a foul smell and ulcers. The inflammation may be due to infections or irritation. While it is not a true penile discharge as it does not come out of the urethra, it may be confused with true penile discharge by some people.

If you do not clean your foreskin and head of the penis regularly, a layer of dead cells and sebum may build up. This is known as smegma and may also be confused with true penile discharge. While this is not harmful, it is advised to wash this area properly so smegma does not build up as a dirty head of the penis predisposes you to balanitis.

If you do have any of the symptoms that we have mentioned, please visit us at DTAP clinic so we can evaluate your condition.

Crabs STDs – Pubic Lice

Pediculosis pubis also known as the Crab Louse is a common insect infestation of the human genital area. As the infestation becomes more profound, it can also extend into other parts of the body including the eyelids. 

The louse is approximately 1 cm in size, which makes it visible to the naked eye. It has 6 legs, 4 of which have prominent pincer-like claws – much like a crab, which it uses to attach to its host. The louse feeds off its host by biting and drawing blood from the area. The lifespan of the louse is between 3 – 4 weeks, during which time, the female louse can lay as many as 80 eggs or nits. 

How do you get them?

Sexual transmission is the most common mode of transmission of the louse. Once the area has become infested with the louse, the patient will soon experience itchiness in the area. Prolonged infestation generally results in bluish bite marks in the skin. The louse requires a warm area and blood to thrive, hence they do not remain on inorganic surfaces such as tabletops and toilet seats for long. This means you do not usually get an infestation by touching such areas. 

The most at risk population are teenagers and young adults. 

How to get rid of Crabs STDs (Pubic Lice)?

The current treatment for Pediculosis pubis infestation is by topical treatment to the affected area. The aim of these treatments are to eradicate both the adult louse and nits. Although cure rates are high, it generally takes a few sessions of topical treatments to achieve complete eradication.

How to avoid getting Crabs STDs (Pubic Lice)?

The best way to prevent yourself from getting an infestation is to avoid contact with the louse. If you find out that your partner has an infestation, ensure that you clear the environment of any adult louse and eggs. Wash all fabrics such as curtains, bedding, towels and clothes with a hot cycle and a strong disinfectant. In the event you do find that you have an infestation see your doctor immediately so that treatment can be started early.

Next read: PARASITIC STIS – SCABIES

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Congenital Penile Curvature (CPC)

Congenital Penile Curvature

Congenital Penile Curvature, or CPC, is a relatively uncommon condition. It can be noted early in life by parents during diapering and dressing of their infants. Others do not discover the problem until sexual maturity, where they notice the curvature themselves. Often, the penile curvature is only observed in the erect state. CPC can sometimes occur together with hypospadias. This is a urethral abnormality whereby the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis instead of the tip. 

The cause of CPC is not known, but is thought to result from excessive elasticity in one aspect of the penis as compared to the rest of the penis. For example, if there is more tissue elasticity on the top of the penis, it expands more than the rest of the penis during erection, resulting in a downward curve. The curve in CPC is typically downwards. 

The degree of curvature ranges from mild to severe. There can be discomfort experienced during sexual intercourse. Men may find that they are only able to have sex in one particular position. Other positions may not be possible due to the nature of the curve. Unlike Peyronie’s disease, which is another cause of curved penis, CPC does not cause painful erections or erectile dysfunction, and there is no fibrous scar tissue that can be felt.

Medical literature suggests that CPC can only be treated surgically by a method known as plication, which involves removing tissue and stitching the opposite side of where the curvature is. 


ESWT – Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy

There are no evidence-based non-surgical treatments described. However, from our experience at DTAP, we have observed that Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, or ESWT, is also able to treat CPC with favourable outcomes. We have treated a considerable number of CPC patients with ESWT alone and achieved either full resolution or significant improvement in curvature. 

Therefore, at DTAP we offer ESWT as a treatment option for CPC. We would like to re-emphasize that this is not based on the medical literature, but rather from our personal experiences with patients. It is always recommended to visit a doctor for a detailed consultation, medical examination and assessment of treatment options before making an informed decision on which treatment to undertake.

Also on this site: STD Screening, STD Check Up Singapore

Common Medical Conditions That Are Asymptomatic

Signs and Symptoms are technical terms to describe the extent of disease in a patient. A sign is an effect of the disease that can be observed by another person or elicited through certain manoeuvres while a symptom is an effect that is experienced only by the patient. 

What does being asymptomatic mean?

Being “asymptomatic” is when the patient does have the disease but does not experience any effects of the disease. In this article, we will be discussing 5 diseases where patients are usually asymptomatic in the early stages of the disease but as the disease progresses, it adds an increased burden on the body leading to more pronounced signs and symptoms.

The 5 diseases were selected because while there is no way for patients to know if they have the disease early on due to the lack of symptoms these diseases can be easily detected during health screening with your General Practitioner. Therefore, we hope to highlight the importance of your health screening in allowing your doctor to detect these diseases early and prevent the disease from progressing to a more severe state.

So just before you brush off that health screening appointment because “I feel OK” , have a read to see the benefits or early detection and treatment.


5 Diseases where patients are asymptomatic

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

What it is?

HIV infection is a disease in which the virus attacks specific cells (CD4) in the immune system and uses the cells to create more copies of the virus, killing the host cells in the process. In the early stages of HIV, the rate of CD 4 cell production can still cope with the loss from the viral infection, therefore patients are mostly asymptomatic.

Over time as the virus replication picks up pace, the CD 4 cell numbers dwindle and the immune system becomes less effective in responding to environmental insults such as bacterial or fungal infections. Major risk factors for HIV infection include, IV drug use, unprotected casual sex and anal intercourse.

How do you test for it?

Point of Care testing can be done at most clinics in Singapore, this involves taking a sample of blood from a finger prick and placing it into a test kit. Currently, the earliest you can be tested for HIV is 30 days after infection. Early treatment of HIV prevents the virus from replicating and thus prevents the disease from worsening and progressing to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
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Chlamydia

What it is?

Chlamydia is a common bacterial infection in both Men and Women. Infection is usually found in the genital tract but also in the rectum, throat and even eyes. Up to 70% of women and 50% of men are asymptomatic. Left untreated, the bacteria can replicate further to eventually lead to an inflammatory state in the pelvis. This results in severe discomfort and particularly in women the risk of infertility is especially raised if chlamydia is untreated.

How do you test for it?

Chalmydia Rapid testing can be carried out to detect the presence of Chalmydia within 24 hours. A sample is taken from the region, a vaginal swab for women and a urine sample for men, and a Polymerase Chain Reaction is used to detect any chlamydial genetic material. Treatment of chlamydia can be as simple as a single dose of antibiotics if detected at an early stage.
Rapid STD Testing Singapore

Chronic Illnesses

High cholesterol

What it is?

Cholesterol can be thought of in 2 forms, a high density form (HDL) and a low density form (LDL). HDL lowers the total cholesterol in the body while LDL increases it. An increase in cholesterol and triglycerides (both from fatty foods) results in plaques developing within your blood vessels (Atherosclerosis). As the plaques increase in size, blood flow to your vital organs like your heart and brain are compromised thus increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

How do you test for it?

A blood test usually done at your health screening enables your doctor to determine the cholesterol levels in your body. Not all elevated cholesterol has to be treated with  medications because changes in diet and lifestyle can also lower cholesterol in some cases. 

Hypertension

What it is?

Hypertension is when your blood pressure is persistently elevated, the normal blood pressure should be below 140 systolic and 90 diastolic. There are myriad of causes for elevated blood pressure including, high salt intake, stress or kidney disease.

However, many people have Essential hypertension, which is when the blood pressure is found to be elevated for no particular cause. Even though the cause may not be determined in most cases of hypertension, patients with an elevated blood pressure have a higher risk of strokes. This is because, the increased pressure in the blood adds additional strain to the blood vessels, eventually, the blood vessels become weaker and are more likely to break, resulting in a stroke.

How do you test for it?

The diagnosis of hypertension in an asymptomatic patient involves a Blood Pressure diary where the patient measures her blood pressure at the start and end of the day for 2 weeks. A persistently elevated blood pressure may prompt the doctor to start treatment, however there are also non-pharmacological means of lowering blood pressure.

Diabetes

What it is?

Diabetes, in particular Type 2 Diabetes, is a condition where the body is unable to regulate carbohydrate metabolism. This results in wide spread effects on the patient because sugar derived from carbohydrate metabolism is essential to many cellular activities in the body. Although patients are mostly asymptomatic in the early stages of the disease, patients can eventually have a variety of pathologies as the disease progresses such as loss of sensation in the hands and feet, poor wound healing, reduced immunity and even blindness.

How do you test for it?

Testing for diabetes also involves a blood test to measure the sugar levels in a fasting state to gauge the current level of sugar metabolism in your body and the Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) which is a gauge of the long term extent of sugar metabolism in your body. Depending on the extent of your disease, treatment of diabetes can range of lifestyle modification to injectable medications.


Having a disease in its early stages sometimes means that you still feel “fine” and not experience any symptoms. However, if left untreated, these diseases can progress and lead to severe complications in your health. Getting checked regularly is essential for detecting disease in the asymptomatic phase and treating it early. This prevents the disease from progressing to a more severe state and allows us to lead better, healthier lives. Speak to your doctor today!


Other Asymptomatic Medical Conditions:

Also on this site: Wart Removal Singapore, STD Check Singapore

Swallowing Semen: What You Should Know

What is semen made of?

Semen consists of several fluids which are produced by various glands. Actual sperm cells make up only a very tiny portion of semen volume. The bulk of semen is made up of prostatic fluid, secreted from the prostate gland, seminal fluid which contains fructose, proteins and fatty acids and bulbourethral fluid from the bulbourethral glands. Semen contains protein and a multitude of other components such as fructose, citric acid, zinc, cholesterol etc. 

What is the usual color and consistency of semen?

Normal semen may have an off-white or slightly yellow tint. It is usually jelly-like in consistency, but may be slightly clumpy or more liquid in nature. But semen with a pronounced yellow or green colour may indicate an infection and a visit to your doctor is warranted. If there is blood in your semen (red or brown) please see a doctor as well.

Is semen safe to ingest?

All the components in semen are fully edible and digestible, so semen is generally safe to ingest. However, swallowing semen could prove dangerous if you suffer from a rare allergy to semen (known as “human seminal plasma hypersensitivity”), in which case you could develop a bad or potentially even life-threatening reaction. 

What happens if you swallow semen?

Swallowed semen is digested by the digestive enzymes in your gastrointestinal tract, the same as any other food which you ingest. Contrary to some urban myths, there is no risk of pregnancy from swallowing semen. 

What does semen smell or taste like?

Semen has been said to normally smell like ammonia, bleach, or chlorine due to the alkaline nature of semen. Semen can taste mildly sweet, salty or bitter. But the smell and taste can differ from person to person, and even from week to week, depending on your hydration status, hygiene, health and your recent food consumption.

However, if the semen smells or tastes abnormally strong, and is associated with discomfort on ejaculation or other urinary symptoms, it could be a sign of an infection, please see a doctor then.

Is it true that semen has dietary health benefits?

While semen does have a high percentage of protein for its weight, it is likely that you have to consume a large quantity in order for it to have dietary health benefits.

Semen also contains other components like sugar, sodium, citrate, zinc, chloride, calcium, lactic acid, magnesium, potassium and urea, but due to the small volume of semen, the dietary health benefits are likely insignificant.

Semen as a mood booster?

While there are no studies that can definitively make the link between ingesting semen and better mood, it is known that semen does contain trace amounts of endorphins, estrone, prolactin, oxytocin, thyrotropin-releasing hormone and serotonin, which can potentially affect your mood.

Rather than looking at semen as a mood booster, it is known that engaging in sexual activity in general is linked to a decrease in depression.

Will swallowing semen make you gain weight?

The amount of calories in semen is likely to be insignificant – containing less than 10 calories.

Does swallowing increase your risk of an STI?

When it comes to the risk of contracting STIs, it doesn’t matter whether you spit or swallow. Exposure to body fluids like pre-ejaculate fluid, semen, vaginal fluids or skin lesions like genital ulcers places one at risk of contracting STIs. This risk is further amplified if you have poor oral hygiene or wounds like cuts or ulcers in your mouth. 

What are the common STIs that can be transmitted through oral sex?

STIs can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, which includes oral-to-genital contact, or through contact with infected mucosa membranes and body fluids. Here are some of the common STIs which one may be at risk of contracting through oral sex.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are two common bacterial infections that can be transmitted through oral. Someone with throat Chlamydia or Gonorrhea may experience a sore throat but some individuals may have no symptoms at all and can continue to spread this infection to sexual partners. 

Syphilis can be transmitted during oral through contact with infected ulcers and if left untreated, can potentially affect multiple organs in the body including the brain and eyes.

Herpes (caused by the herpes simplex virus) can be transmitted either from an infected genital ulcer or oral cold sore or by skin-to-skin contact in an infected but asymptomatic individual. Genital herpes causes painful blisters and ulcers in the genital region. 

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can be transmitted as well. Some strains of HPV cause genital warts, while others increase the risk of various cancers such as cervical cancer, oral cancer or penile cancers.  

Many people tend to worry about HIV but the risk of HIV transmission through oral sex is actually extremely low, although unique circumstances like the presence or wounds or blood may increase this. 

Is it possible to be allergic to semen?

Yes. Semen allergy or seminal plasma hypersensitivity is a rare allergic reaction to proteins found in a man’s semen. While it usually affects the person exposed to it, it can also been shown to affect the person producing it.

Some common symptoms of sperm allergy are redness, swelling, pain, itching, and a burning sensation in the vaginal area. Symptoms usually start about 10-30 minutes after contact with semen. They may not be confined to the vaginal area; they can occur in any area that has contact with semen, including the skin and the mouth. Symptoms can last for a few hours or a few days.

This allergy is rare. However, if you do experience such symptoms, speak to your doctor about it.

This article is written by: Dr Grace Huang & Dr Chester Lan

Also on this site: STD check, HIV Clinic Singapore