A Mini series. by Dr Sanmi Obajuluwa
“HOW MAY I HELP YOU”
When I first started writing this article all I could think about was a particular patient I had once seen, while I was still a house officer (must have been during the numerous but annoying O.M.O calls). Though there is a lot of noise about patient confidentiality, but since this is in the spirit of “world peace”, a little divulging wouldn’t do any harm.
So this middle aged man comes into the consulting room, seeming apparently well on inspection except for the peculiar “confused look” he had on his face. I motion for him to sit and asked “how may I help you...?”
He replies “Doctor! I have this headache…, it’s always there, on the right side….. sometimes I don’t feel it, other times it comes to my eye.”
I asked if he noticed anything that made the headache worse or better and he just shook his head. I went on to ask about other possible related symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, stools, all of which were negative. I asked further questions, all to which he just responded “No!” He seemed almost at the brink of annoyance.
Finally I asked “how is your urination, any pain?” And all of a sudden he springs to life and goes “Ehen doctor! That’s my major problem”.
All I could do was to keep as straight a face as possible, but deep down, I was literarily “shaking my head and kissing my teeth”.
Finally, I was able to make headway, he later opened up about having numerous partners. He was treated for an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) and asked to run some tests.
I am sure you are reading and wondering what the moral behind this story is, well simply put, if you have an “itch” just say say so, don’t tell the doctor your skin is red.
STIs are a common complaint in any OPD, patients would be surprised by the numbers. If you have sex, you may also have an STI, with subtle or noticeable STI symptoms. Straight or gay, married or single, you're vulnerable to STIs and STIsymptoms, whether you engage in oral, anal or vaginal sex.
The disturbing part is not the rising number of STIs, but rather because people are un aware that they are carriers and infect their partners or give poor information leading to inadequate treatment and emergence of drug resistant bugs.
This write up aims to throw light on some of the more common STIs such as gonorrhea, syphilis, Chlamydia, genital warts, genital herpes, trichomoniasis and HIV.
Gonorrhea is that STD that just won’t go away -- it remains the second most commonly reported infectious disease worldwide. Though, actual figures could be double because of poor medical records and reluctance of patients to come forward. Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection of the genital tract. First symptoms generally appear within two to 10 days after exposure. However, some people may be infected for months before signs or symptoms occur. Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea may include:
- Thick, cloudy or bloody discharge from the penis or vagina
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating
- Abnormal menstrual bleeding
- Painful, swollen testicles
- Painful bowel movements
- Anal itching
Untreated, gonorrhea can lead to epididymitis, a painful condition of the testicles that can cause infertility. In women, gonorrhea is a major cause of pelvic inflammatory disease and, like chlamydia, can lead to infertility. Having a case of gonorrhea makes you three to five times more likely to acquire HIV if you’re exposed to the HIV virus.
Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics. But there has been a rise in drug-resistant strains. As a result, the treatment options are becoming more limited than in the past -- one more good reason to avoid this “bad guy”.
To be Cotinued.....