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Calling Doctor Love: Why STD Home Remedies Don't Always Work

Yikes. You've just had unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Now what?

First thing’s first. If you’ve been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease, get yourself to a public health clinic stat. Yes, telling a relative stranger you might have picked something up due to ahem, an unprotected romp is no one’s idea of fun. It’s just the adult thing to do. The moment of passion is over. Now, it’s time to deal with it.

Here’s what NOT to do if you think you might have an STD:

  1. Panic and go on a Charlie Sheen-style sex blitz.
  2. Douche. (Ladies, douching can wreak havoc on your vaginal bacteria. It can also push an infection up into your fallopian tubes and uterus—and trust us, you don’t want that.)
  3. Decide you’re in the clear because you don’t have any symptoms. (Remember that symptoms may not appear until days, weeks, months, years. All the while, the disease may be causing invisible damage.)

Let a health professional take care of your diagnosis and treatment. And next time, don’t have unprotected oral or sexual intercourse in the first place.

So STDs Can’t Be Treated With Home Remedies?

Let us reiterate. The only way to know whether you have an STD is to go and get tested. Once you receive a diagnosis, a nurse or doctor can help you decide on the right course of treatment—and we can guarantee you it’s not going to be eating a bunch of garlic or drinking a gallon of cranberry juice as some natural health websites would have you believe.

Some of the most common STDs—namely, chlamydia and gonorrhea—are bacterial infections. If caught in time, they can be treated and cured with prescription antibiotics.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is another common viral infection that can be prevented with a vaccine. If left untreated, it can lead to genital warts and certain types of cancer.

Other STDs, such as genital herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS, cannot be cured. They require lifelong treatment. (Remember when we said not to have unprotected sex in the first place? This is why.)

So I Should Avoid Home Remedies Altogether?

Here’s where home remedies do come in. If you’ve been diagnosed with an STD and are receiving treatment under the supervision of a health professional and not a quack, home remedies might improve the effectiveness of your medication or treatment. The keyword here is might.

The effectiveness of most natural and home remedies is not scientifically proven and we don’t know much about their side effects. But, in some cases, taking a natural remedy won’t do additional damage. Still, you should always talk to your doctor first. Some supplements and remedies—even supposedly natural ones—can interact with medication, rendering it ineffective. Others are not recommended for women who might be pregnant.

When all is said and done, the best remedy (and the most natural, we might add) is prevention. Practice safe sex.

[Image via Getty]

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