Category Archives: African Teenagers’ social issues.

How to Get a Job As a Teen

Sometimes, an allowance just isn’t enough. If you need some more pocket money to catch the latest movies, take out your new girlfriend/boyfriend, or just to start saving up, you might have to get a job. It can be difficult to get one when you are a teenager, but not impossible. As a teenager, you’re starting out brand new, and although most companies do request experience, the key to getting “THE” job is to sell yourself.

Start researching.

  • Find organizations and other places that you know pay teens to work. Good places to check are government departments and nonprofit organizations such as city park and recreation departments, zoos, museums, camps, and hospitals.
  • Don’t go out looking to be executive director of any job. Start out small and easy, retail and food industry jobs are probably the easiest to obtain.

Get the word out. You can post flyers in your neighborhood detailing jobs that you can do, such as lawn mowing, babysitting etc. You can also post your information on a website or job board, but beware of giving out personal information until you trust the other person. Post 3 x 5 cards at local stores and other places with notice-boards telling of the services you’re willing to do.

Use your connections. Talk to friends and family about any paying jobs they might know of, and follow through.

Volunteer . Sometimes, the best way to get a paying job is to begin as a volunteer and work your way up. You may have to give some of your time for free to make money in the long run. Treat your volunteer work as if it were a paying job — get there on time, call as soon as you know you can’t come in or are going to be late. Listen and learn about the organization. Do such a good job they learn to rely on you.

Make a resume . Even if most jobs you apply for don’t ask for a resume, it’s a good exercise, and it’s useful to have your work history and education details all written out in one place. It makes filling out applications much easier.

Apply early! The most important key to getting jobs with these places is to apply as soon as you hear about jobs. .

Go to an interview . One of the most often asked questions is: Why do you feel you are qualified for this job? Let them know how positive you are, always willing to help out, and go out of your way for special requests. When asked any experience you may have; Well now you have phone experience, can you dial numbers without really looking at the keypad or even better are you good with a calculator? That’s 10 key (depending on how fast and the job needs this is a good thing to include in your Job experience) Do you know how to use a computer? How about the Internet, Word, Outlook or email? Do you know how to use a fax machine, copy machine? Can you file, sort by alphabetical order, name order, date order. Believe it or not it’s all relevant and sometimes even as a mailroom attendant that’s all you need

Increase your earnings. After working at the entry level position for a few summers or after school, you will the have the experience to work at a higher level once you are out of high school. This can help you pay your way through college, and you can practically guarantee you’ll always have a vacation  job.

Tips

  • If you are called, be available and open to any job and/or time, and you will see how fast you can get a job. If your school schedule conflicts, be honest, let them know there is a conflict or that you have certain times of availability. There are a lot of employers whom are very understanding of special needs or situations.
  • Try to get a job in something that you are interested in, as it may help you get a career later in life, or count as experience when applying to college.
  • Once you’ve done good work for someone, ask if you can use them as a reference for future jobs.
  • Jobs are now harder to get thanks to the current economy, jobs traditionally held by teenagers are now being used by the unemployed as “fallback jobs”.
  • Demonstrate your skills. If you are a good worker, you will have a greater chance of being hired because they already know your work, they aren’t just reading someone’s application. You can show organizations that you are a good worker through volunteering or through references.
  • Take initiative. some  agencies and organizations get grants to hire teens after school. Even if they typically hire kids who are already volunteering for them, you never know. Contact them to find out what is available.

Warnings

  • If you get a job at someone’s house, always tell your parents where you are going to be, better yet, have them drop you off and meet the person. Trust your gut… if something doesn’t feel right, leave. If something happens to you, get some help.
  • Never talk about your life to your boss.
  • Do not expect to get paid for doing nothing- you must be prepared to earn your cash.
  • Check your local child labor laws. It could be that you are not formally allowed to work..

Communication Skills

The ability to communicate effectively with superiors, colleagues, and staff is essential, no matter what industry you work in. Workers in the digital age must know how to effectively convey and receive messages in person as well as via phone, email, and social media.

Here are the top 10 communication skills that will make you stand out in today’s job market.

Listening Being a good listener is one of the best ways to be a good communicator. No one likes communicating with someone who only cares about putting in her two cents, and does not take the time to listen to the other person. Instead, practice active listening. Active listening involves paying close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding (“So, what you’re saying is…”). Through active listening, you can better understand what the other person is trying to say, and can respond appropriately.

Nonverbal Communication Your body language, eye contact, hand gestures, and tone all color the message you are trying to convey. A relaxed, open stance (arms open, legs relaxed), and a friendly tone will make you appear approachable, and will encourage others to speak openly with you. Eye contact is also important; you want to look the person in the eye to demonstrate that you are focused on the person and the conversation (however, be sure not to stare at the person, which can make him or her uncomfortable).

Also pay attention to other people’s nonverbal signals while you are talking. Often, nonverbal signals convey how a person is really feeling. For example, if the person is not looking you in the eye, he or she might be uncomfortable or hiding the truth.

Clarity and Concision Try to convey your message in as few words as possible. Say what you want clearly and directly, whether you’re speaking to someone in person, on the phone, or via email. If you ramble on, your listener will either tune you out or will be unsure of exactly what you want. Think about what you want to say before you say it; this will help you to avoid talking excessively and/or confusing your audience.

Friendliness Through a friendly tone, a personal question, or simply a smile, you will encourage your coworkers to engage in open and honest communication with you. This is important in both face-to-face and written communication. When you can, personalize your emails to coworkers and/or employees – a quick “I hope you all had a good weekend” at the start of an email can personalize a message and make the recipient feel more appreciated.

Confidence It is important to be confident in all of your interactions with others. Confidence ensures your coworkers that you believe in and will follow through with what you are saying. Exuding confidence can be as simple as making eye contact or using a firm but friendly tone (avoid making statements sound like questions). Of course, be careful not to sound arrogant or aggressive. Be sure you are always listening to and empathizing with the other person.

Empathy Even when you disagree with an employer, coworker, or employee, it is important for you to understand and respect their point of view. Using phrases as simple as “I understand where you are coming from” demonstrate that you have been listening to the other person and respect their opinions.

Open-mindedness A good communicator should enter any conversation with a flexible, open mind. Be open to listening to and understanding the other person’s point of view, rather than simply getting your message across. By being willing to enter into a dialogue, even with people with whom you disagree, you will be able to have more honest, productive conversations.

Respect People will be more open to communicating with you if you convey respect for them and their ideas. Simple actions like using a person’s name, making eye contact, and actively listening when a person speaks will make the person feel appreciated. On the phone, avoid distractions and stay focused on the conversation.

Convey respect through email by taking the time to edit your message. If you send a sloppily written, confusing email, the recipient will think you do not respect her enough to think through your communication with her.

Feedback Being able to appropriately give and receive feedback is an important communication skill. Managers and supervisors should continuously look for ways to provide employees with constructive feedback, be it through email, phone calls, or weekly status updates. Giving feedback involves giving praise as well – something as simple as saying “good job” to an employee can greatly increase motivation.

Similarly, you should be able to accept, and even encourage, feedback from others. Listen to the feedback you are given, ask clarifying questions if you are unsure of the issue, and make efforts to implement the feedback.

Picking the Right Medium An important communication skill is to simply know what form of communication to use. For example, some serious conversations (layoffs, changes in salary, etc.) are almost always best done in person. You should also think about the person with whom you wish to speak – if they are very busy people (such as your boss, perhaps), you might want to convey your message through email. People will appreciate your thoughtful means of communication, and will be more likely to respond positively to you.

Child labour

Child labour refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organisations. Legislations across the world prohibit child labour.These laws do not consider all work by children as child labour; exceptions include work by child artists and supervised training.

In developing countries, with high poverty and poor schooling opportunities, child labour is still prevalent.

Causes of child labour

Primary causes

International Labour Organisation (ILO) suggests poverty is the greatest single cause behind child labour.For impoverished households, income from a child’s work is usually crucial for his or her own survival or for that of the household. Income from working children, even if small, may be between 25 to 40% of these household income.

Lack of meaningful alternatives, such as affordable schools and quality education, according to ILO,is another major factor driving children to harmful labour. Children work because they have nothing better to do. Many communities, particularly rural areas where between 60-70% of child labour is prevalent, do not possess adequate school facilities. Even when schools are sometimes available, they are too far away, difficult to reach, unaffordable or the quality of education is so poor that parents wonder if going to school is really worth it.

Child Construction Worker

Cultural causes

In European history when child labour was common, as well as in contemporary child labour of modern world, certain cultural beliefs have rationalised child labour and thereby encouraged it. Some view that work is good for the character-building and skill development of children. In many cultures, particular where informal economy and small household businesses thrive, the cultural tradition is that children follow in their parents’ footsteps; child labour then is a means to learn and practice that trade from a very early age. Similarly, in many cultures the education of girls is less valued or girls are simply not expected to need formal schooling, and these girls pushed into child labour such as providing domestic services.

Child labour in picture.

Child living in Misery

Agriculture deploys 70% of the world’s child labour.[ Above, child worker on a rice farm in Vietnam.

Macroeconomic causes

Biggeri and Mehrotra have studied the macroeconomic factors that encourage child labour. They focus their study on five Asian nations including India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines. They suggestthat child labour is a serious problem in all five, but it is not a new problem. Macroeconomic causes encouraged widespread child labour across the world, over most of human history. They suggest that the causes for child labour include both the demand and the supply side. While poverty and unavailability of good schools explain the child labour supply side, they suggest that the growth of low paying informal economy rather than higher paying formal economy is amongst the causes of the demand side. Other scholars too suggest that inflexible labour market, sise of informal economy, inability of industries to scale up and lack of modern manufacturing technologies are major macroeconomic factors affecting demand and acceptability of child labour.Girl Child Working

 

why parents choose courses for their children

Every parent wants the  best for their children. Parents often help children to make the right  choices in many aspects of life. But what happens when a parent decides  what career path his or her child should take?

children who have been pushed into doing a course or pursuing a career  they are not interested in, have limited chances of succeeding both at  school and in the professional world.
“Do not force a child to do  a course they are not interested in. You are likely to regret this when  the child does not succeed and puts the blame on you,”

“Sit down and listen to the child and find out why they are opposing the idea and reach an agreement.”
Parents should ask themselves whether the child has the potential to do what they want them to do.
With a mismatch in the career, the productivity of such an  individual is likely to be low.
“Motivating a person who is in a  profession they did not choose is hard. Such people’s concentration at  work is very low. They may not be as innovative as a person who likes  their career,”
Forcing a child into a profession is identity persecution.  One is denied a chance to come into contact with the profession of their  choice and people that share the same calling passionately.

Such  a person’s potential in that field may never be tapped and developed.

Parents need to help children identify their unique potential and  talents right from a tender age. They should find ways of how best to  grow, protect and promote their potential.
“Some parents associate particular courses with failure. But every profession has got people with success stories.
Pushing a child into doing a course or  pursuing a career against their will is wastage of time and resources.

“Such  a child may drop the course or go ahead and graduate, but keep the  documents and start afresh in pursuing the career of their choice. Time  and money spent educating someone who will later change careers is a big  waste,”

why parent want children to follow into their footsteps.

Some parents want their  children to follow in their footsteps. If a parent is paying your school  fees and insists that you must study a course, you have to obey. I  believe much as a parent wants a child to succeed in life; they should  leave children to choose courses/careers they want.

Such  parents want the children to take on careers they associate with  success, compared to careers where workers are paid peanuts. However, I  believe such a decision is not right. If a child hates it and performs  poorly at school or work, the child will always blame the parents for  their failure in life.

Some  courses are not marketable in the country and earn little pay. There is  no parent who would want their child to become unemployed after  studying. Parents choose courses which they believe are marketable and  can help their child easily find a job.

Some  parents want children to take after them so that after school, a parent  can work with the child or find a job for the child easily in the field  where they already have connections.

How to Prevent HIV/AIDS and other STDs

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself against HIV/AIDS and other STDs:

  • Abstinence: Simply choose not to have sex.
  • Sober Sex: If you’re drinking or taking drugs, you are more apt to get into a situation where safer sex practices falter or fail altogether. If you have sex when you’re sober, you’re more likely to be safe.
  • Latex and Polyurethane Barrier Methods: Use safe sex materials such as male and female condoms, dental dams, and finger cots when engaging in sexual activity. Do not use male and female condoms at the same time!
  • Fewer Partners/Monogamy: The fewer sex partners you have, the more you reduce your risk of HIV infection.
  • Needle Exchange/Clean Your Works: Always use new, unused needles or clean your works by flushing the needle and plunger with water and bleach each time you use an intravenous drug syringe. Do not share other IV drug paraphanalia such as cookers cottons/filters, or water glasses.
  • Pregnancy: If you are HIV positive and think you may be pregnant, you should contact your doctor immediately to discuss your options. There are medications that you can take during your pregnancy to reduce your baby’s risk of being HIV positive.
  • Breastfeeding: HIV positive mothers should not nurse a child. HIV can be transmitted from mother to child via breast milk. Instead your physician will provide alternatives to nursing your baby.
  • Getting Tested: The only way to be sure of your HIV status is to get tested. With a rapid oral test, you can even get a cheek swab and get your results in as little as 20 minutes. If you test negative, your healthcare provider will provide tools that can help you remain that way. If you test positive, your healthcare provider can counsel you on methods used to prevent the spread of HIV.

What Is AIDS? What Is HIV?

AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a disease caused by a virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The illness alters the immune system, making people much more vulnerable to infections and diseases. This susceptibility worsens as the disease progresses.

HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person (semen and vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk). The virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, delivering the baby during childbirth, and through breast feeding.

HIV can be transmitted in many ways, such as vaginal, oral sex, anal sex, blood transfusion, and contaminated hypodermic needles.

Both the virus and the disease are often referred to together as HIV/AIDS. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. As a result, some will then develop AIDS.  The development of numerous opportunistic infections in an AIDS patient can ultimately lead to death.

According to research, the origins of HIV date back to the late nineteenth or early twentieth century in west-central Africa. AIDS and its cause, HIV, were first identified and recognized in the early 1980s.

There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS.  Treatments can slow the course of the disease -  some infected people can live a long and relatively healthy life.

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is the virus which attacks the T-cells in the immune system.
AIDS is the syndrome which appears in advanced stages of HIV infection.
HIV is a virus.
AIDS is a medical condition.
HIV infection causes AIDS to develop. However, it is possible to be infected with HIV without developing AIDS. Without treatment, the HIV infection is allowed to progress and eventually it will develop into AIDS in the vast majority of cases.
HIV testing can identify infection in the early stages. This allows the patient to use prophylactic (preventive) drugs which will slow the rate at which the virus replicates, delaying the onset of AIDS.
AIDS patients still have the HIV virus and are still infectious.  Someone with AIDS can pass HIV to someone else

What are the signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDS?

What is the difference between a sign and a symptom? A sign is something other people, apart from the patient can detect, such as a swelling, rash, or change in skin color. A symptom is something only the patient feels and describes, such as a headache, fatigue, or dizziness.

For the most part, the symptoms of HIV are the result of infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. These conditions do not normally develop in individuals with healthy immune systems, which protect the body against infection.
Signs and symptoms of early HIV infection
Many people with HIV have no symptoms for several years. Others may develop symptoms similar to flu, usually two to six weeks after catching the virus. The symptoms can last up to four weeks.
Symptoms of early HIV infection may include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • muscle ache
  • sore throat
  • sweats (particularly at night)
  • enlarged glands
  • a red rash
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • weight loss

Asymptomatic HIV infection
In many cases, after the initial symptoms disappear, there will not be any further symptoms for many years. During this time, the virus carries on developing and damages the immune system. This process can take up to 10 years. The infected person will experience no symptoms, feel well and appear healthy.
Late-stage HIV infection
If left untreated, HIV weakens the ability to fight infection. The person becomes vulnerable to serious illnesses. This stage of infection is known as AIDS.
Signs and symptoms of late-stage HIV infection may include:

  • blurred vision
  • diarrhea,  which is usually persistent or chronic
  • dry cough
  • fever of above 37C (100F) lasting for weeks
  • night sweats
  • permanent tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • swollen glands lasting for weeks
  • weight loss
  • white spots on the tongue or mouth

During late-stage HIV infection, the risk of developing a life-threatening illness is much greater. Examples include:

  • esophagitis(an inflammation of the lining of the lower end of the esophagus)
  • infections to the nervous system (acute aseptic meningitis, subacute encephalitis, peripheral neuropathy)
  • pneumonia
  • some cancers, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, invasive cervical cancer, lung cancer, rectal carcinomas, hepatocellular carcinomas, head and neck cancers, cancers of the immune system known as lymphomas
  • toxoplasmosis (a disease caused by a parasite that infects the brain. It can also cause disease in the eyes and lungs)
  • tuberculosis

Life-threatening illnesses may be controlled and treated with proper HIV treatment.

What causes HIV/AIDS?

HIV is a retrovirus that infects the vital organs of the human immune system. The disease progresses in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.  The rate of disease progression varies widely between individuals and depends on many factors (age of the patient, body’s ability to defend against HIV,  access to health care, existence of coexisting infections, the infected person’s genetic inheritance, resistance to certain strains of HIV).
HIV can be transmitted through:

  • Sexual transmission. It can happen when there is contact with infected sexual secretions (rectal, genital or oral mucous membranes). This can happen while having unprotected sex, including vaginal, oral and anal sex or sharing sex toys with someone infected with HIV.
  • Perinatal transmission. The mother can pass the infection on to her child during childbirth, pregnancy, and also through breastfeeding.
  • Blood transmission. The risk of transmitting HIV through blood transfusion is nowadays extremely low in developed countries, thanks to meticulous screening and precautions. Among drug users, sharing and reusing syringes contaminated with HIV-infected blood is extremely hazardous.
    Thanks to strict protection procedures the risk of accidental infection for healthcare workers is low.
    Individuals who give and receive tattoos and piercings are also at risk and should be very careful.

Myths: There are many misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. The virus CANNOT be transmitted from:

  • shaking hands
  • hugging
  • casual kissing
  • sneezing
  • touching unbroken skin
  • using the same toilet
  • sharing towels
  • sharing cutlery
  • mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
  • or other forms of “casual contact”

How is HIV/AIDS diagnosed?

1 in every 5 HIV-positive Africans is unaware of their HIV-status, and only 49% of those who are aware receive ongoing medical care and treatment.
HIV blood test
Diagnosis is made through a blood test that screens specifically for the virus.
If the HIV virus has been found, the test result is “positive”. The blood is re-tested several times before a positive result is given to the patient.
For those whose tests came back positive, they will be asked to undergo some other tests to see how the infection has progressed, and also to decide when to start treatment.
If a person has been exposed to the virus, it is crucial that they get tested as soon as possible. The earlier HIV is detected, the more likely the treatment will be successful.  Also, precautions can be taken to prevent the virus from spreading to other people.
After infection with HIV, it can take up from three weeks to three months for the virus to show up in testing. Re- testing may be necessary.
If a patient’s most at risk moment of becoming HIV infected was within the last three months, he/she can have the test immediately. However, a good doctor will urge that another test be carried out within a few weeks.

Endometritis

Endometritis is an inflammation or irritation of the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). It is not the same as endometriosis.

Causes

Endometritis is caused by infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, or mixtures of normal vaginal bacteria. Endometritis is more likely to occur after miscarriage or childbirth, especially after a long labor or c-section.

A medical procedure that involves entering the uterus through the cervix will increase the risk of developing endometritis. This includes a hysteroscopy, and placement of an intrauterine device (IUD).

Endometritis can occur at the same time as other pelvic infections such as acute salpingitis, acute cervicitis, and many sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Symptoms

  • Abdominal distention or swelling
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Discomfort with bowel movement (constipation may occur)
  • Fever (100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
  • Lower abdominal or pelvic pain (uterine pain)

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and a pelvic exam. The lower abdomen may be tender. Bowel sounds may be decreased. A pelvic exam may show the uterus and cervix is tender. There may be cervical discharge.

The following tests may be performed:

  • Cultures from the cervix for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other organisms
  • Endometrial biopsy
  • ESR (sedimentation rate)
  • Laparoscopy
  • WBC (white blood count)
  • Wet prep (microscopic exam of any discharge)

Treatment

Antibiotics are used to treat and prevent complications of endometritis. If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics following a gynecological procedure, it is very important to finish all the medication and follow up with your health care provider.

You may need to be admitted to a hospital if you have a complicated case of endometritis, such as those that involve serious symptoms, or which occur after childbirth.

Other treatments may involve:

  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Rest

Sexual partners may also need to be treated if the condition is caused by a sexually transmitted infection.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most cases of endometritis go away with antibiotics. Untreated endometritis can lead to more serious infection and complications with pelvic organs, reproduction, and general health.

Possible Complications

  • Infertility
  • Pelvic peritonitis (generalized pelvic infection)
  • Pelvic or uterine abscess  formation
  • Septicemia
  • Septic shock

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of endometritis.

Call immediately if you have symptoms and have recently had a baby, miscarriage, abortion, IUD placement, or any surgery involving the uterus.

Prevention

Endometritis caused by sexually transmitted infections can be prevented by:

  • Early diagnosis and complete treatment of sexually transmitted infections in yourself and all sexual partners
  • Practicing safe sex, such as using condoms

The risk of endometritis is reduced by the careful, sterile techniques used by providers when delivering a baby or performing an abortion, IUD placement, or other gynecological procedures.

Antibiotics are often givenduring a C-section, right before the surgery starts, to prevent endometritis and other surgery related infections.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body. This can lead to pain, irregular bleeding, and problems getting pregnant (infertility).

Causes

Every month, a woman’s ovaries produce hormones that tell the cells lining the uterus (womb) to swell and get thicker. The body removes these extra cells from the womb lining (endometrium) when you get your period.

If these cells (called endometrial cells) implant and grow outside the uterus, endometriosis results. The growths are called endometrial tissue implants. Women with endometriosis typically have tissue implants on the ovaries, bowel, rectum, bladder, and on the lining of the pelvic area. They can occur in other areas of the body, too.

Unlike the endometrial cells found in the uterus, the tissue implants outside the uterus stay in place when you get your period. They sometimes bleed a little bit. They grow again when you get your next period. This ongoing process leads to pain and other symptoms of endometriosis.

The cause of endometriosis is unknown. One theory is that the endometrial cells that shed when you get your period may travel backwards through the fallopian tubes into the pelvis, where they implant and grow. This is called retrograde menstruation. This backward menstrual flow occurs in many women, but researchers think the immune system may be different in women with endometriosis.

Endometriosis is common. Sometimes, it may run in the family. Although endometriosis is typically diagnosed between ages 25 – 35, the condition probably begins about the time that regular menstruation begins.

A woman who has a mother or sister with endometriosis is much more likely to develop endometriosis than other women. You are more likely to develop endometriosis if you:

  • Started your period at a young age
  • Never had children
  • Have frequent periods or they last 7 or more days
  • Closed hymen, which blocks the flow of menstrual blood during the period

Symptoms

Pain is the main symptom of endometriosis. A woman with endometriosis may have:

  • Painful periods
  • Pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation
  • Cramps for a week or two before menstruation and during menstruation; cramps may be steady and range from dull to severe)
  • Pain during or following sexual intercourse
  • Pain with bowel movements
  • Pelvic or low back pain that may occur at any time during the menstrual cycle

There may be no symptoms. Some women with a large number of tissue implants in their pelvis have no pain at all, while some women with milder disease have severe pain.

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. Tests that are done to help diagnose endometriosis include:

  • Pelvic exam
  • Transvaginal ultrasound
  • Pelvic laparoscopy

Treatment

Treatment depends on the following factors:

  • Age
  • Severity of symptoms
  • Severity of disease
  • Whether you want children in the future

If you have mild symptoms and do not ever want children, you may choose to have regular exams every 6 – 12 months so the doctor can make sure the disease isn’t getting worse. You can manage your symptoms by using:

  • Exercise and relaxation techniques
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or prescription painkillers to relieve cramping and pain.

For other women, treatment options include:

  • Medications to control pain
  • Hormone medications to stop the endometriosis from getting worse
  • Surgery to remove the areas of endometriosis or the entire uterus and ovaries

Treatment to stop the endometriosis from getting worse often involves using birth control pills continuously for 6 – 9 months to stop you from having periods and create a pregnancy-like state. This is called pseudopregnancy. This therapy uses estrogen and progesterone birth control pills. It relieves most endometriosis symptoms. However, it does not prevent scarring or reverse physical changes that have already occurred as the result of the endometriosis.

Other hormonal treatments may include:

  • Progesterone pills or injections. However, side effects can be bothersome and include weight gain and depression.
  • Gonadotropin-agonist medications such as nafarelin acetate (Synarel) and Depo Lupron to stop the ovaries from producing estrogen and produce a menopause-like state. Side effects include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood changes. Treatment is usually limited to 6 months because it can lead to bone density loss. It may be extended up to 1 year in some cases.

Surgery may be recommended if you have severe pain that does not get better with other treatments. Surgery may include:

  • Pelvic laparoscopy or laparotomy to diagnose endometriosis and remove all endometrial implants and scar tissue (adhesions).
  • Hysterectomy to remove the womb (uterus) if you have severe symptoms and do not want to have children in the future. One or both ovaries and fallopian tubes may also be removed. If you do not have both of ovaries removed at the time of hysterectomy, your symptoms may return.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a general term for infection of the uterus lining, fallopian tubes, or ovaries.

Causes

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) occurs when bacteria move from the vagina or cervix into the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, or pelvis.

Most cases of PID are due to the bacteria that cause chlamydia and gonorrhea. These are sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The most common way a woman develops PID is by having unprotected sex with someone who has a sexually transmitted infection.However, bacteria may also enter the body during some surgical or office procedures, such as:

  • Childbirth
  • Endometrial biopsy
  • Insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Miscarriage
  • Therapeutic or elective abortion

You are more likely to develop PID if you have:

  • A male sexual partner with gonorrhea or chlamydia
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Past history of any sexually transmitted infection
  • Past history of PID
  • Recent insertion of an IUD
  • Sexual activity during adolescence

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of PID include:

  • Fever (not always present; may come and go)
  • Pain or tenderness in the pelvis, lower abdomen, or sometimes the lower back
  • Vaginal discharge with abnormal color, texture, or smell

Other symptoms that may occur with PID:

  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent or painful urination
  • Increased menstrual cramping
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding or spotting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea, with or without vomiting
  • No menstruation
  • Painful sexual intercourse

Note: There may be no symptoms. People who experience an ectopic pregnancy or infertility often have had silent PID, which is usually caused by chlamydia infection.

Treatment

Your doctor will often start you on antibiotics while waiting for your test results.

If you are diagnosed with milder PID, you will usually be given an antibiotic injection or shot, and then sent home with antibiotic pills to take for up to 2 weeks. You will need to closely follow up with your health care provider.

More severe cases of PID may require you to stay in the hospital. Antibiotics are first given by IV, and then later by mouth. Which antibiotic is used depends on the type of infection.

A number of different antibiotics may be used for treating this type of infection.

Sexual partners must be treated to prevent passing the infection back and forth. You and your partner must finish all of the antibiotics. Use condoms until you both have finished taking your antibiotics.

Complicated cases that do not improve with antibiotics may need surgery.

Possible Complications

PID infections can cause scarring of the pelvic organs, possibly leading to:

  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Infertility

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • You have symptoms of PID
  • You think you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Treatment for a current STI does not seem to be working

Prevention

Preventive measures include:

  • Get prompt treatment for STIs.
  • Practice safer sex behaviors. The only absolute way to prevent an STI is to not have sex (abstinence). Having a sexual relationship with only one person (monogamous) can reduce the risk. Use a condom every time you have sex.

You can reduce the risk of PID by getting regular STI screening exams. Couples can be tested before starting to have sex. Testing can detect infections that are not yet causing symptoms.

All sexually active women ages 20 – 25 and younger should be screened each year for chlamydia and gonorrhea. All women with new sexual partners or multiple partners should also be screened.

Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is usually passed on through having sex with someone who is infected.

The bacteria that cause syphilis are called Treponema pallidum. They can enter your body if you have close contact with an infected sore, normally during vaginal, anal or oral sex or by sharing sex toys with someone who is infected.

Pregnant women can pass the condition on to their unborn baby, which can cause stillbirth or death of the baby shortly after labour. It may also be possible to catch syphilis if you are an injecting drug user and you share a needle with somebody who is infected.

Syphilis also cannot be spread by using the same toilet, clothing, cutlery or bathroom as an infected person, as the bacteria cannot survive for long outside the human body.

Three stages of disease

The symptoms of syphilis develop in three stages, described below.

  • Stage 1 (primary syphilis) – Symptoms of syphilis begin with a painless but highly infectious sore on the genitals or sometimes around the mouth. If somebody else comes into close contact with the sore, typically during sexual contact, they can also become infected. The sore lasts two to six weeks before disappearing.
  • Stage 2 (secondary syphilis) – Secondary symptoms, such as a skin rash and sore throat, then develop. These symptoms may disappear within a few weeks, after which you experience a latent (hidden) phase with no symptoms, which can last for years. After this, syphilis can progress to its third, most dangerous stage.
  • Stage 3 (tertiary syphilis) – Around a third of people who are not treated for syphilis will develop tertiary syphilis. At this stage, it can cause serious damage to the body.

The primary and secondary stages are when you are most infectious to other people. In the latent phase (and usually around two years after becoming infected), syphilis cannot be passed on to others but can still cause symptoms.

What to do

If you suspect you have syphilis, visit a  sexual health clinic  as soon as possible. The earlier syphilis is treated, the less chance there is of serious complications.

Treating syphilis

If diagnosed early, syphilis can be easily treated with antibiotics, usually penicillin injections.

However, if it is not treated, syphilis can progress to a more dangerous form of the disease and cause serious conditions such as stroke, paralysis, blindness or even death.

Complications

It is estimated that people with syphilis are three to five times more likely to catch HIV. This is because the genital sores caused by syphilis can bleed easily, making it easier for the HIV virus to enter the blood during sexual activity.

Infection with both HIV and syphilis can be serious because syphilis can progress much more rapidly than normal.

Preventing syphilis

The only guaranteed way to prevent a syphilis infection is to avoid sexual contact or to have sexual contact only with a faithful partner who has been tested and does not have the infection.

You can reduce your risk of catching syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by:

  • using a condom during vaginal, oral and anal sex
  • using a dental dam (square of plastic) during oral sex
  • avoiding sharing sex toys

Tip.

The only guaranteed way to prevent a syphilis infection is to avoid sexual contact or only to have sexual contact with a faithful partner who has been tested and is not infected.

Condoms can reduce your risk of catching syphilis, but cannot prevent it altogether. You can still catch syphilis if your mouth makes contact with a sore on an infected person’s anus or vagina, for example.

It is important not only to use a condom during vaginal, oral and anal sex, but also consider using a dental dam (square of plastic) when your mouth makes contact with your partner’s vagina or anus. This will reduce your risk of any sexually transmitted disease (STI), not just syphilis.

Avoid sharing sex toys. If you do share them, wash them or cover them with a condom before each use.

Sexual penetration or ejaculation does not need to take place for syphilis to spread.

If you are an injecting drug user, do not use other people’s needles.