The major organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases in both males and females are given in Table 14-1. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the spread of infection from the reproductive organs into the pelvic cavity. It is most often caused by the gonorrhea organism or by chlamydia, although bacteria normally living in the reproductive tract may also be responsible when conditions allow. PID is a serious disorder that may result in septicemia or shock. Inflammation of the oviducts, called salpingitis, may close off these tubes and cause infertility.
A fungus that infects the vulva and vagina is Candida albicans, causing candidiasis. There is vaginitis, a thick, white, cheesy discharge, and itching. Pregnancy, diabetes mellitus, and use of antibiotics, steroids, or birth control pills predispose to infection. If the infection is recurrent, the patient's partner should be treated to prevent reinfections. Antifungal agents (mycostatics) are used in treatment.
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The term vaginitis is one that is applied to any inflammation or infection of the vagina, and there are many different conditions that are categorized together under this ‘broad’ heading, including bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis and non-infectious vaginitis.