276 STIs and Other Infections of the Genitals
➤ Early treatment
of STIs can prevent
In addition to PID, STIs can cause other problems for a woman.
A woman with an STI that is not cured is more likely to have
problems with infertility (see page 229) and tubal pregnancies (see
page 73). STIs can also cause:
Swollen vagina (bartholin gland infection)
Just inside the vagina there are 2 small pockets of skin called
‘glands’. They make a liquid that helps to keep the vagina wet.
Sometimes germs get inside, and one or both glands become
• Swollen, hot,
painful vaginal fold
that is darker in color.
Usually it happens on
one side only.
• Sometimes there is
swelling with no pain.
care of the eyes
Although not always caused by an STI, this infection often
happens when a woman has gonorrhea or chlamydia.
1. Soak a cloth in clean, hot water and place it on the swelling.
Do not make it so hot that you burn yourself. Do this as often
as you can until the swelling opens and pus comes out, or until
the swelling goes down.
2. Also, you and your partner both need to take medicines
for gonorrhea and chlamydia. See the medicine chart on
3. If the area is painful and stays swollen, see a trained health
worker who can cut it open and drain out the pus.
Problems in newborn babies
Women who have gonorrhea or chlamydia while
they are giving birth can pass these diseases to
their newborn babies. The babies’ eyes become
infected with gonorrhea (neonatal conjunctivitis)
which can cause blindness. To prevent neonatal
conjunctivitis, put antibiotic ointment in the
baby’s eyes right after birth. Chlamydia can
also cause pneumonia in newborn babies.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012