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Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Stds) You Should Know
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04 Aug 2021

Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Stds) You Should Know

Sexually transmitted diseases affect a lot of people. The number of reported cases run into millions each year, and because the symptoms of these diseases are not common, a good number of people do not get diagnosed yearly.

Most people living with STDs remain unaware of it. People could have an STD for years and not know, but this doesn’t prevent them from transmitting it to others. When there are no symptoms (asymptomatic STDs), STDs still cause severe damages in the body such as

  • Higher risk of getting other STDs like HIV
  • Some types of cancer
  • Increased risk of infertility
  • Complications to the foetus in cases where the infected person is pregnant

Symptoms of STDs

You can contract STDs unknowingly, so it is essential to guard your sexual health. Be vigilant to notice any changes in your body be it a minor or major one. If you notice any physical change, contact your healthcare provider for help. 

If you show any symptom of an STD, contact your doctor. Your doctor will perform the right tests and recommend medications or treatment plans to alleviate the symptoms and treat the problem. Your doctor may also advise you on ways to reduce your risk of contracting STDs in the future.

The symptoms of STDs may be mild and sometimes, extreme. Common symptoms of the prevalent STDs are as follows.

Changes in urination

If you experience a burning or painful feeling while urinating, it could be a sign that you have an STD. This symptom is also associated with kidney stones or urinary tract infections. If you experience the symptoms, you need to visit your doctor for an STD testing to be sure of the problem you have.

You could experience the pain or burning sensation if you have any of the following STDS.

  • Genital herpes
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomoniasis

Ensure you take note of your urine colour and talk to your healthcare provider about it.

Unusual penile discharge

Having penile discharge is associated with both STDs and other infections. If you experience this symptom, ensure that you talk to your doctor immediately and carry out the necessary STD tests.

The following STDs could cause penile discharge.

  • Trichomoniasis
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea

You can treat all these STDs with antibiotics, but a doctor has to prescribe the right one that can clear off the disease. After you take your prescribed medication and the symptoms do not improve, or they reoccur after some days, contact your doctor. This may be a result of re-infection from your partner, mostly if your sexual partner did not treat the same STD.

Itching or burning feeling in or around the vagina

This symptom is also common for other types of health issues besides STDs like yeast or bacterial infection. Nonetheless, talk to your doctor if you experience this symptom as you could have an STD, pubic lice or bacterial vaginosis, and all these need immediate treatment.

Pain while having sex

For women, occasional pain while having sex is common, and this makes a lot of women overlook this as a symptom of an STD. If you feel pain while having sexual intercourse, talk to your doctor about it, especially when the pain increases, started when you had a new sex partner or changes your sex habits.

In men, pain while ejaculating may also be a symptom of an STD.

Abnormal bleeding or discharge from the vagina

You can experience abnormal bleeding or discharge from your vagina for several reasons, and some of these reasons are not related to STDs. Bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections could also lead to vaginal discharge or abnormal bleeding.

Ensure you contact your doctor if you experience bleeding between periods and have discharge as this could be a sign of cancer.

Bumps and sores

These usually are the first signs that a lot of people notice when they contract an STD like

  • Syphilis
  • Genital herpes
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Molluscumcontagiosum

If you have sores or bumps around your genitals, contact your doctor or healthcare provider. Endeavour to tell your doctor about the sores even if they have cleared off before you visit your doctor.

Sores caused by herpes usually clear off within one or two weeks, but you can still transmit the virus when the sores are not present. Herpes virus remains in the body for a lifetime, and even when there are no symptoms, an infected person can transmit it.

Pelvic and abdominal pain

You could experience pelvic pain due to other medical conditions, and the pain is usually intense, needing immediate medical attention. Pelvic pain usually results from pelvic inflammatory disease, which is known to emanate from untreated STDs. This pain occurs when bacteria spread to the abdomen and uterus, causing scarring and inflammation of the tissues.

The result is extreme pain and in a few cases, leads to infertility in women.

Non-specific symptoms

Like every other infection, STDs sometimes present non-specific symptoms caused by several other illnesses. The body shows these symptoms because the immune system is trying to fight off the infection.

The following are non-specific symptoms associated with STDs.

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Rashes

These symptoms alone do not raise concerns of an STD on the doctor’s part but if you think you have an STD, ask your doctor for STD testing.

High-risk factors for STDs

Anyone sexually active can get an STD, but men who have sex with men are at a higher risk of contracting STDs. Young people between 15 – 25 years have a higher rate of STD occurrence like chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

Treatment for STDs

You can receive treatment to cure some STD while others cannot be cured, but have medications to manage the symptoms. If you have an STD, discuss with your doctor ways to prevent you from transmitting it to others.

The following are some curable STDs and their mode of treatment.

  • Chlamydia- treated with antibiotics
  • Gonorrhoea- treated with antibiotics, but some strains of the virus are drug-resistant and do not respond to the traditional antibiotics
  • Syphilis- treated with antibiotics. medication required depends on the stage of the infection

The doctor may also prescribe antifungal medications like tinidazole or metronidazole.

Some STDs like HPV and herpes are incurable. If you have herpes, the doctor may prescribe antiviral medications that will help reduce its outbreak, which you’d have to take daily. There is no specific HPV treatment, but the doctor may prescribe a topical medication to alleviate discomfort and itching.

After treating an STD, you can get re-infected if you expose yourself to it again because the body does not develop immunity against STDs.

When you should see a doctor

Your doctor needs to carry out some tests on you if you have any infection, STD or health condition, so if you experience any symptom or notice any change in your body, contact your doctor immediately.

Diagnosing any condition or STD early gives you a better chance of treating it and avoiding further health complications. If you have noticed any symptoms, visit your doctor immediately before the symptoms subside because STD symptoms that clear off on their own do not mean that the STD is cured. You can still transmit it, and it could cause other health problems in the future.

Ensure you request for an STD test if you are at risk of any STD because most doctors do not include STD testing in the regular health exam. Visit your doctor for STD testing today or contact STI Clinic London now on 020 1783 0649 to speak with a doctor and book an appointment for your STD test.