A recent study reveals sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in seniors climbed 23% from 2014 to 2017. Patients over age 60 account for the greatest rise in sexually transmitted diseases, more than twice the national average for people ages 13-59. This is partly due to a lack of communication. Gynecologist and obstetrician Dr. Daniel S. Kushner and his staff listen carefully to each patient in order to provide the best care, offering pertinent testing and up-to-date information at his offices in White Plains and Kew Gardens, New York.
Transmitted from one person to another during sex, STDs include gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes simplex, hepatitis B, trichomoniasis, and chlamydia. These silent diseases often go unnoticed, displaying no outward symptoms. Once detected, however, they are relatively easy to treat.
Much of today’s senior population includes baby boomers born between 1944-1964. Many reached their sexually active years in the late 1960s, when birth control pills that could prevent pregnancy and antibiotics that could treat most STDs rose in popularity. Sexually transmitted diseases no longer became a life-or-death matter. But as time went on, HIV and AIDS came into the picture.
As many seniors have returned to dating after years of marriage, due to divorce or the death of a spouse, they’ve traded their monogamous relationships for multiple partners and must adjust to their new sexual playing field. Since they no longer fear pregnancy, many have avoided using condoms, which has increased the likelihood of getting STDs. Medications employed in the past for gonorrhea and other diseases have grown less effective due to antibiotic resistance. Since some of the symptoms of STDs, such as aches and pains, can mimic signs of aging, diagnosis and subsequent treatment can be difficult.
Women and men experience chlamydia differently. Some people may not even display any symptoms. Symptoms in men include discharges from the penis, burning while urinating, and swelling of the testicles. Women may suffer from abnormal vaginal discharges or burning during urination.
Many women won’t experience any symptoms of gonorrhea, so they’re especially at risk for serious complications from the infection. It’s important Dr. Kushner examines you whenever you suspect something might be wrong.
When estrogen levels fall, as they do after menopause, the tissues of the vagina and vulva become dryer and thinner. This can lead to more tears, which can serve as potential entry sites for infections. So, sexually active, post-menopausal women possess an even greater risk of contracting an STD.
Whatever your age, it’s crucial to receive regular checkups and visit the doctor as soon as you notice any questionable symptoms. Simply call our office or book an appointment online with Dr. Kushner.