Understanding The STD You May Have Never Heard Of: Cytomegalovirus

For many people, one of the scariest scenarios that they can imagine is being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). However, what many people do not know is that there are a myriad of sexually transmitted diseases that are not often discussed and are not particularly well-known. One of those sexually transmitted diseases that many people have never heard of is cytomegalovirus. Get to know more about cytomegalovirus so that you can make sure that you are informed about this sexually transmitted disease and are able to handle it and get any necessary STD treatment if you find that you are dealing with this viral infection.

What Is Cytomegalovirus?

Cytomegalovirus is a very common viral infection. This is a virus that falls under the same category as other common viral infections like the herpes simplex virus and chickenpox. This category of viruses is known as Herpesvirales. 

How Do People Get Cytomegalovirus?

Cytomegalovirus is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person's body fluids. Because of this, it can be considered a sexually transmitted disease because it can easily be transmitted through vaginal fluid as well as semen. There are, however, other body fluids that can transmit the virus, including blood, urine, saliva, tears, and even breast milk. Casual contact does not cause cytomegalovirus transmission. The fluids need to enter a person's body after direct contact in order to cause viral transmission.

What Does Cytomegalovirus Do?

The good news is that for most people, cytomegalovirus will cause them no symptoms or issues in their everyday life. However, there are exceptions to this trend. If a person has a compromised immune system, such as cases where they have an immunodeficiency disorder, are going through chemotherapy or radiation treatments, or have other conditions that weaken the immune system, they may have more noticeable symptoms. Newborn babies that were infected with the virus in the womb or during or shortly after birth may also show symptoms. 

In people with compromised immune systems, cytomegalovirus can cause symptoms such as diarrhea and fever, as well as more serious symptoms such as encephalitis (inflammation in the brain), seizures, digestive ulcers, pneumonia, and even comas. Newborns who have been infected with the virus may show symptoms like jaundice, an enlarged spleen and/or liver, a purple skin rash, pneumonia, and even seizures.

How Can Cytomegalovirus Be Treated?

Cytomegalovirus, like many viral infections, has no cure. However, there are treatments that can help manage the infection in people who do show symptoms. The first step is to get the symptoms under control, particularly seizures and pneumonia. Pneumonia can be treated with IV fluids, bed rest, and prescription medications. Seizures can be treated with anti-convulsive medications and monitoring.

The viral infection itself is responsive to antiviral medications. These medications are designed to help slow and hopefully stop the virus from replicating. While it does not kill the virus, antivirals can help it go from what is known as an active infection to a dormant one. This alleviates symptoms and helps a person to get healthy again.

Now that you know more about cyomegalovirus, one of the lesser known STDs, you can be sure that you take care of yourself should this viral infection cause you any trouble in the future. For more information and help with diagnosing your symptoms, contact a medical clinic that offers STD treatment, like Advanced Urology Associates.