WHEN it comes to your sexual health, chances are there are questions you want the answers to.
But, for many, actually building up the courage to ask the doctor proves too much.
Getty – Contributor There’s plenty you need to know about STI’s, so we’ve asked all the embarrassing questions for you
So we decided to ask them all so you don’t have to.
Ever wondered if you can catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from the loo? How do you know when you need to see a doctor?
Is unprotected sex all you need to worry about, or is oral sex also a risk?
Here we reveal the answers to ten awkward questions, so you don’t have to ask them.
Getty – Contributor You can get an STI from oral sex – gonorrhoea is commonly spread this way
1. Can I get an STI from oral sex?
Yes, you can.
“Oral sex is one of the most frequent ways that STIs are passed on,” Dr Lizzie Kershaw-Yates told The Sun Online.
“Gonorrhoea, genital herpes and syphilis are the most common infections transmitted through oral sex.
“Chlamydia, HIV, genital warts, pubic lice and hepatitis A, B and C are less commonly transmitted – but can still spread this way.
“STI’s can be stopped through wearing a condom or a dental dam when engaging in oral sex.”
2. Can you get an STI from the loo?
Getty – Contributor Bacteria won’t last long enough on a toilet seat for you to catch an STI sitting on it
If your fear of this is adding to your fear of public toilets, we’ve got good news.
“No, it’s not possible to catch an STI through skin to seat contact,” Lizzie said.
“STI’s are spread through infected fluids or infected skin and the bacteria cannot live long enough to be caught through sitting on a toilet seat.”
3. Can you get an STI from fingers?
Getty – Contributor It’s not likely you will get an STI from fingers unless there are already bodily fluids on them
Unlike oral sex, an STIs are not easily spread via fingers.
“There hasn’t been much research on whether you can catch an STI from fingers – but it doesn’t seem like it’s easily done this way,” Lizzie said.
“If there are bodily fluids on the fingers then in theory you can catch an STI this way, although you are at much less of a risk than with oral or penetrative sex.”
4. Are swimming pools a risk?
Getty – Contributor Unless you are having sex in the pool, the bacteria will not live long enough in the water to infect you
There may be plenty of germs to worry about in a public swimming pool, but STI’s aren’t one of them.
“An STI can only be spread through person to person contact,” Lizzie said.
“The bacteria will not survive long enough in the water to infect other people.
“The only way you can contract an STI in a swimming pool is if you are having sex with an infected person in the pool.”
5. Is bleeding after sex normal?
Getty – Contributor Bleeding after sex can be a sign of an STI like chlamydia
It’s not uncommon to notice bleeding after sex, but that doesn’t mean it’s always healthy.
“Occasional light bleeding after sex is not usually a sign for concern, but you should always discuss any bleeding with your GP,” Lizzie added.
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“It can be a sign of many things – an STI, vaginal dryness, damage to the vagina, non-cancerous growths, or cervical erosion.
“In some rare cases, it can even be a sign of vaginal or cervical cancer.
“If you have any bleeding after sex, visit a GP to rule out any serious issues.”
6. Can you have sex if you have a UTI?
Getty – Contributor You can have sex when you have a UTI, but the pain will likely put you off
Urinary tract infection are painful and often stop us wanting to have sex altogether.
But you can have sex if you want to, it’s just not the best idea.
“Most people won’t feel up to it, but if you do have sex, remember that a UTI can irritate the sensitive tissue in your urinary tract and it can make things even worse.” Lizzie explained.
“It can increase risk of complications developing from a UTI and can even put your partner at risk – so it’s probably not worth it.
“Doctors recommend that you wait until all your symptoms have cleared up and you’ve finished the full round of your treatment before having sex again.”
7. How can you avoid getting a UTI?
Getty – Contributor Weeing after you have sex will help clear any bacteria out of your urinary tract
Around one in every two women will suffer a urinary tract infection at some point in their lifetime.
UTIs happen when the urinary tract becomes infected, usually by bacteria.
Anyone can get a UTI, but they’re particularly common in women, and especially common after sex.
Here’s what you should be doing to protect yourself:
Make sure you stay hydrated to flush out any bad bacteria Wipe from front to back to prevent spreading bacteria from the bum to the urethra Make sure you urinate after sex to push out any bacteria that entered the urinary tract Avoid any feminine products such as deodorant, douches and scented powders which can cause irritation
8. What is PrEP for and who should use it?
Getty – Contributor PrEP is an anti-HIV medication taken by people at high risk of the illness to stop them from becoming infected
PrEP is an anti-HIV medication which stops HIV negative people from becoming infected.
It’s usually taken every day by people at high risk of getting HIV to lower their chances of becoming infected.
“It’s a safe and effective method for preventing the spread of HIV – and is recommended for anyone who is at high risk of contracting HIV,” Lizzie said.
“This includes HIV negative people who are in a relationship with a HIV positive partner, or anyone who injects drugs.”
9. How do you know when to get tested?
Alamy Getting regular STI checks is the best way to make sure any infection you may have doesn’t go untreated
Getting regular tests is always a good idea if you are sexually active.
But here’s what you need to be thinking about if you need to get tested.
You have never been tested before If you have symptoms such as itching, bleeding or pain in the genitals. If you have recently had unprotected sex If you have a new sexual partner If you have no symptoms – many people infected with STIs don’t have any symptoms at all