(1609) Infectiousness

I am a single man, and for over 18 months I have been undergoing treatment for syphilis from a reputable physician. My blood tests are showing improvement. What I wish to know is, whether I might infect a woman if I had marital union with her, so long as [ am taking regular treatments?

N. W., Minnesota.

Answer:

It is quite probable, judging from the intensive treatment you say you have received, that your condition may be in the non-infections stage. There should be no objection to your marrying if medical inspection and a laboratory examination of your blood bears this fact out.

On the other hand, under no circumstances should you allow your future wife to have any children until this condition is entirely cleared up.

Your physician should be consulted before marrying; and he should give you positive assurance that your wife will not be able to contract the disease from you.

-Editor.

(1611) Sex Activity

I am a college student: I plan to be married when I get my degree. Will you answer these simple, but serious questions?

Is it possible to contract venereal disease by excessive intercourse, if neither male nor female is infected?

Is it mentally or physically injurious to a man to have intercourse once or twice a week?

Is there a time between menstruation and ovulation when a woman cannot become pregnant?

O. W., Texas.

Answer:

Venereal diseases are not caused by "excessive" sexual intercourse;- but are a result, usually, of illicit relations. Venereal diseases are caused only by definite disease germs, with a process of infection usually through close relationships with persons having the disease.

There is no particular rule as to the frequency of the marital act. It depends a great deal on physical characteristics and bodily health. See "Frank Advice to the Married" on page 428 of the preceding July issue.

There is a time between the menstrual periods in a woman when she is more apt to become pregnant. However, there is no absolute rule as to when this happens; and therefore any technique developed is usually unreliable. See the answer to Q. 1601 in the last issue.

-Editor.

(1617) Symptoms of Syphilis

How can a person determine whether he, or she, has contracted syphilis? What are the symptoms? Is it possible to get this otherwise than by physical intercourse with one who has it?

Mrs. D. S., Michigan.

Answer:

Syphilis is a very difficult disease to diagnose, unless the symptoms are quite obvious-such as the presence of a primary sore or "chancre." This disease manifests itself in so many different ways that volumes have been written on the subject. The most positive way of determining whether this disease is present in the body is by means of a blood or "serological" test. It is not necessary to have physical contact with another person to acquire the disease; other things may communicate this disease, such as use of common towels and drinking utensils, etc., etc.

-Editor.

(1619) Old Gonorrhea

I am 29 years old, and married. Some years ago, I had a case of gonorrhea, which became chronic. I am told by my doctor that it is cured, as shown by laboratory test; that I have merely a

"foggy" prostate, which can be cured by extensive treatment.

Does the fact that both testicles were enlarged at that time indicate that I am sterile? I have noted that there are still large knots. I suffer also from prematurity.

N. J., West Va.

Answer:

It must be always remembered that any infection always leaves some "residual" condition in the organ or organs that were affected. This holds true especially in the case of venereal infections. In your case, it is also probable that your prostate gland is still affected, although the gonorrheal organisms were driven out. I would most certainly agree with your physician when he advises that you still need treatment. After this condition is cleared up, it may be that you will have no more trouble.

There is also some chance that you are sterile, as a result of the infection's reaching the testes. The only way to find out Is to have your physician examine your seminal fluid with a microscope, in order to determine whether or not you have any live sperms present.

The premature emissions you describe are, more or less, due to some faulty mental attitude on your part. This is merely a nervous manifestation. I advise you to stop worrying about this and follow your doctor's directions.

-Editor.

(1626) Urethritis

We were married last year, in California, and underwent the legal tests for venereal disease. A few days after marriage, I had intercourse with my wife during her menstruation. Three weeks later, I developed gonorrhea. I took my wife to a doctor and, after repeated tests, he could find no indication that she had the disease. Neither did I ever have it before. I wish you could explain this to me. I have never had intercourse with anyone but my wife. Is it possible for this disease to arise during menstruation ?

P. E, U. S. Navy.

Answer:

Marital relations during the menstrual period, although not esthetic, are nevertheless harmless, nor are there any after-effects. Gonorrhea does not originate in that manner, but as the result of an infection by a specific micro-organism known as the gonococcus.

But it must be remembered that not all urethral discharges are of a gonorrheal nature. It sometimes happens that the condition you describe is urethritis of a non-venereal character, due to some chemical irritation. Sometimes it may be caused by the use of cheap rubber prophylactics., where the material con tains chemicals that give rise to urethral irritation.

By the way, was your condition definitely diagnosed as gonorrhea? Was a smear taken of the discharge, and did it prove to be of a gonorrheal nature? All these facts must be taken into consideration before any accusations are made. If the smears taken from your wife did not reveal the fact that any gonorrheal organisms were present, than it would not be safe to assume that your infection (if it is gonorrhea) originated with her.

A reputable physician should clear this up for you, as to whether or not this is a case of true gonorrhea.

-Editor.