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Signs of Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Men
22 Mar 2023 |

Signs of Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Men

Do you suspect that you have contracted a sexually transmitted disease or STD recently? With different symptoms, it can be difficult to identify whether you already have an STI.

Signs of an STI can be different for a man and a woman. This blog post discusses common indications and how they can overlap in various STIs.

Anatomy 101

Like sexual health, anatomy is not straightforward, for instance, there are males who are cisgender and there are transgender men. The former are those men whose identity matches the one they were assigned at birth and the latter are those whose gender identity is not the same as they were assigned at birth.

Cisgender men generally have a penis and a scrotum. Other key internal elements that complete the reproductive system are:

  • The seminal vesicle for collecting sperm which is transported from the testicles through the vas deferens at the time of sexual arousal
  • The vas deferens transports semen from the testicles to the seminal vesicle at the time of erection
  • The testes or testicles is where semen with sperm cells are stored and created between ejaculations

Transgender men have different anatomy in comparison to cisgender men and that sometimes includes a vulva. Some parts of vulva are:

  • The urethral and vaginal openings which connect the uterus and bladder to the outside part of your body
  • Labia minora and Labia majora are fleshy “wings” that protect the clitoris, urethra and vagina
  • The clitoris is a small nerve-dense area above urethra covered by a pliable skin fold known as the clitoral hood

Both cisgender and transgender men will have an anus, mons pubis and perineum.

Common symptoms of STDs

A sexually transmitted disease can spread during sexual activity to include – anal, oral and vaginal sex. Some common STDs are – chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, syphilis and hepatitis c.

Common signs of STD in men include the following:

  • Genital warts – These are small bumps which occur on the genital area including the penis, scrotum, mons pubis and anywhere on the vulva
  • Painful urination – A burning or stinging sensation at the time of urination in either sex
  • Sores – Round and painless lesions can appear on the face, genitals or mouth
  • Skin rash – A dry, inflamed and itchy skin rash that may be located in one area or all over the body
  • Flu-like symptoms – A combination of chills, nausea, fever, headaches, muscle soreness and fatigue
  • Discharge – A yellow, white or greenish discharge from the urethra or the vaginal opening
  • Vaginal bleeding – Bleeding between regular cycles for women who menstruate
  • Pain during intercourse – Pain at the time of masturbation, ejaculation or penetration

These symptoms may indicate you have an STI. It is also common to have a combination of symptoms like painful urination as well as unusual discharge or a skin rash.

An STI incubation period is the time between when you contract an STI to when the symptoms occur. You need to seek medical attention if you have symptoms such as painful urination or unusual pain or lumps and bumps.

Overlapping symptoms

As STI symptoms are usually localised to the mouth or genitals, it is common for various symptoms to appear at the same time. For example, in gonorrhoea:

  • Bleeding between menstrual cycles for women who menstruate
  • Cramping and lower abdominal pain
  • Painful urination
  • Swollen labia or testicles
  • Increased or unusual discharge from the anus, urethra or vagina

Though some people suffer from one or more of these symptoms, others will not notice any signs of the infection at all.

Since STD symptoms are quite similar, testing is necessary for thorough diagnosis and treatment. Even if you do not have any of the symptoms discussed above, you should seek regular STD testing if you have sex with more than one partner.

If you are experiencing any of the STI symptoms discussed above, you should see a doctor without delay. If an STI is left untreated it can lead to serious health complications and even death. By having a regular STI test, you will be able to get treated fast.