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Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Symptoms in Men and Women

Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Symptoms in Men and Women

It can be scary if you’re not feeling well and suspect that the symptoms you’re experiencing might be sexually transmitted disease (STD) symptoms. This guide will walk you through symptoms of common STDs, how to prevent STDs, and what to do if you suspect that you may have an STD.

STD Symptoms in Women and Men

If you’re sexually active, it’s natural to worry about STDs, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms you’ve never had before. The first symptoms of an STD usually appear between two and six weeks of infection.

So, what is usually the first sign of an STD? Take a look at some of the most common STD symptoms for men and women listed below.

STD Symptoms in Males

Common STD symptoms in men include:

  • Lesions or warts on the genital or rectal area
  • Discomfort during urination
  • Penile discharge
  • Pain during sexual activity
  • Swollen lymph nodes (especially in the groin area)
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Rash on hands, feet, or trunk area
  • Fever
  • Testicular pain

STD Symptoms in Females

Common symptoms of STDs in women include:

  • Lesions or warts on the genital or rectal area
  • Discomfort during urination
  • Foul-smelling or otherwise unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sexual activity
  • Swollen lymph nodes (especially in the groin area)
  • Vaginal bleeding not associated with menstruation
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Rash on hands, feet, or trunk area
  • Fever

Asymptomatic STIs

Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are asymptomatic, which means that they don’t cause symptoms at all. You can have an asymptomatic STD for years without knowing if you don’t get tested regularly.

You won’t always know if you have an STD because so many don’t cause symptoms unless they lead to secondary health complications. A comprehensive 10 panel STD test is one way to put your mind at ease.

Chlamydia Symptoms

Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs in the country. It’s common for people with this bacterial infection not to have any symptoms, making them more likely to pass it on to unsuspecting partners. As many people infected with the disease don’t show STD symptoms, you can catch chlamydia without cheating because one partner may unknowingly have it before the relationship begins.

When symptoms do occur, they usually show up one to three weeks after a person’s genitals come in contact with an infected person’s seminal or vaginal fluid. However, they can appear months, or even years, later. You can’t get chlamydia from kissing, toilet seats, or other nonsexual contact.

If left untreated, chlamydia can cause complications ranging from infertility to arthritis. Fortunately, it’s easy to cure using antibiotics as long as you catch it with a chlamydia test before it causes any health issues.

Chlamydia Symptoms in Men

  • Clear or cloudy penile discharge
  • Penile itching or burning
  • Painful or swollen testicles
  • Pain when urinating
  • Anal discomfort and discharge
  • Eye redness, discharge, and pain

Chlamydia Symptoms in Women

  • Abnormal (potentially foul-smelling) vaginal discharge
  • Burning or itching inside or around the vagina
  • Pain during sex
  • Painful urination
  • Painful periods
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Anal discomfort and discharge
  • Eye redness, discharge, and pain

Gonorrhea Symptoms

Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that can spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Untreated gonorrhea can cause issues such as infertility in both men and women, as well as pregnancy complications. If your eyes come in contact with infected fluids, it’s also possible to contract gonococcal conjunctivitis, which can lead to blindness if not treated in time.

Gonorrhea symptoms usually appear about ten days after contact, although it can take longer. Both men and women can have the disease without showing any symptoms, which is why it’s vital to get a rapid gonorrhea test right away if you suspect that you’ve had sexual contact with someone with the disease.

A bacteria, rather than a virus, causes gonorrhea, which means it’s curable with medication.

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men

  • Unusual penile discharge (may be thick, cloudy, or bloody)
  • Painful urination
  • Testicular swelling or pain
  • Itching around the anal area
  • Pain during bowel movements

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women

  • Unusual vaginal discharge (may be thick, cloudy, or bloody)
  • Painful urination
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding during or between periods
  • Itching around the anal area
  • Pain during bowel movements

Hepatitis Symptoms

Hepatitis is an incurable (but treatable) viral infection. Men and women with hepatitis may or may not exhibit symptoms; these STD symptoms may not show up for decades. Three types of hepatitis exist: A, B, and C. Each version of the virus is a little different, so let’s break them down.

Hepatitis A

You can get hepatitis A through sexual contact with an infected person or if infected fecal matter goes into your mouth due to unsanitary living conditions (contaminated food or drink).

Hepatitis A STD symptoms usually appear two to four weeks after infection. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Malaise
  • Dark urine color

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B spreads through contact with bodily fluids such as semen and blood. You can get it from activities like sex and sharing needles, and a mother can pass it on to her unborn baby.

Symptoms usually appear between two weeks and four months after infection. Hepatitis B symptoms include:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Jaundice
  • Fever
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Weakness and fatigue

A simple blood test can catch Hepatitis B in its early stages. Sign up for a same-day hepatitis B test now.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C spreads through the bloodstream, so you can get it by coming into contact with an infected person’s blood. Many people with the disease don’t know they have it because it can take decades to show up.

Hepatitis C causes the same symptoms as hepatitis A and B, plus:

  • Muscle aches
  • Bleeding or bruising easily
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen legs
  • Excess fluid in the abdomen
  • Itchy skin
  • Swollen blood vessels that look like spiders
  • Confusion and drowsiness
  • Slurred speech

Find out more about getting a hepatitis C test at a Rapid STD Testing location near you.

Herpes Symptoms

Herpes is a viral infection that men and women can get from oral to oral, oral to genital, or genital to genital contact. It can affect the mouth, genital area, or anal area.

Many people with herpes never experience symptoms, allowing them to pass it on without realizing it.

If a person does experience a herpes outbreak, the first one will usually occur about two weeks after infection. Some people never experience an outbreak or only experience one after the initial infection. Others have outbreaks every few years for decades.

If you’re concerned you may have the disease and want to know how to test for herpes, take a look at the herpes test we use.

Herpes Symptoms in Men

  • Sores, blisters, or ulcers around the mouth, anal, or genital area
  • Penile or anal itching, burning, or tingling
  • Painful genital area, buttocks, or legs
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Swollen glands
  • Abnormal penile discharge
  • Pain or difficulty when urinating
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain or pressure

Herpes Symptoms in Women

  • Sores, blisters, or ulcers around the mouth, anal, or genital area
  • Vaginal or anal itching, burning, or tingling
  • Painful genital area, buttocks, or legs
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Swollen glands
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Pain or difficulty when urinating
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain or pressure

Syphilis Symptoms

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that’s easily curable. You can contract syphilis by coming into contact with a syphilis sore. Contraction usually happens during sexual activity, but it can also occur during kissing if the infected person has a mouth ulcer.

Syphilis symptoms usually appear two to three weeks after infection. However, many people don’t show any symptoms, which means they pass it on to sexual partners if they don’t catch it by getting tested.

If left untreated, syphilis can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, dementia, and organ failure. Fortunately, infected persons can avoid these complications if a doctor prescribes antibiotics soon after infection.

Syphilis Symptoms in Men and Women

  • Sores or ulcers around the genital area
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Blotchy rash anywhere on the body
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Sore, achy feeling

A syphilis test is a quick and easy blood test that checks for antibodies in your bloodstream.

Trichomoniasis Symptoms

Trichomoniasis is a parasitic STD with symptoms that vary widely. The parasite usually only infects the penis or vagina, so it spreads through vaginal/penile or vaginal/vaginal contact.

The disease is prevalent in the United States and is easy to cure if diagnosed. If left untreated, trichomoniasis can cause pregnancy complications or lead to genital inflammation, making it easier to catch other STDs.

About 70% of people with trichomoniasis don’t know they have it because they don’t have any symptoms. Others don’t exhibit symptoms for a month or so after infection. That’s how you can get trichomoniasis if no one cheats—it was present before the relationship began.

Trichomoniasis Symptoms in Men

  • Unusual penile discharge
  • Painful, irritated, or itchy penis
  • Burning caused by urinating or ejaculating

Trichomoniasis Symptoms in Women

  • Unusual vaginal discharge, possibly with a foul odor
  • Vaginal itching, burning, redness, or tenderness
  • Pain during sex
  • Trouble urinating or uncomfortable urination

Do you suspect that you may have trichomoniasis? Get a trichomoniasis test to put your mind at ease.

HIV (Type 1 and 2) Symptoms

HIV is a viral STD that affects men and women. Many people experience flu-like symptoms within about two weeks after contracting the disease. Still, most don’t realize that HIV is the cause until they experience symptoms for a prolonged period or confirm the fact through an HIV test.

You can become infected with HIV by coming into contact with an infected person’s blood, semen, vaginal or anal fluids, or breast milk. You cannot get the disease from urine, sweat, or saliva. Common ways to contract HIV are through anal or vaginal sex or sharing needles.

HIV infection decreases your body’s ability to fight off other infections and can lead to AIDS, a more serious chronic condition.

Find fast, accurate HIV testing near me.

HIV Symptoms in Men

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Rashes and sores
  • Severe headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands
  • Nausea and volition
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Muscle and joint pain

HIV Symptoms in Women

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Rashes and sores
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Frequent infections
  • Night sweats
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Weight loss

When to Get an STD Test or See Your Doctor

You should get an STD test or seek professional medical advice if you are experiencing any common STD symptoms, like:

  • Itching, burning, or pain around the genital area
  • Discomfort during sex
  • Blood, pus, or discharge from the genital area
  • Painful urination
  • Sores, rashes, or warts around the genital area

It’s a good idea to get tested or seek medical advice if you’re experiencing less-specific STD symptoms as well, such as fever, chills, or generally feeling under the weather.

Even if STD symptoms go away, that doesn’t mean that the infection is gone. It’s often easier to diagnose, and therefore treat, STDs when symptoms are present, so seek medical advice as soon as symptoms develop.

If you’re sexually active, it’s wise to get an STD test regularly, especially if you engage in high-risk behavior or suspect that you’ve come into contact with a person infected with an STD. Remember that it’s possible to have an STD without showing symptoms, which is why regular testing is so crucial.

STI Complications

It’s important to remember that not all STIs present symptoms, so it’s possible to have one and not know it. If you unknowingly have an STI that’s left untreated, you carry the risk of passing it on to other people. Pregnant women can even pass STIs on to their unborn children, creating life-threatening complications.

In addition to unpleasant STD symptoms and the risk of passing them onto others, some STIs carry long-term health risks and complications in men and women:

  • Fertility problems
  • Ongoing pelvic pain
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Cervical or rectal cancer
  • Eye inflammation and blindness
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Arthritis
  • Altered behavior or dementia
  • Heart disease
  • Loss of muscle control or paralysis
  • Organ failure

If you suspect that you may have an STI, it’s crucial to get a rapid STD test so that a healthcare professional can treat it before it causes further issues.

Preventing STIs

Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing STIs, and the more you educate yourself about how STIs spread, the better able you’ll be to prevent them. Many of us have heard that avoiding sexual contact is the only way to prevent STIs. However, some STIs can get passed on through other means:

  • Unwashed bedding (pubic lice)
  • Sharing needles
  • Childbirth (mother to infant)

People who abuse drugs or alcohol, participate in risky sexual behaviors or have health problems that lead to a lowered immune system are at greater risk for contracting STIs.

Fortunately, there are numerous things that sexually active people can do to prevent STIs:

  • Limit your number of sex partners or only have sex when in a long-term, monogamous relationship
  • Get a vaccine to prevent genital warts
  • Use protection like condoms and dental dams
  • Avoid intoxicants that may inhibit your judgment around sexual activity
  • Get tested regularly and insist that your partners do the same

Conclusion

Don’t just sit there worrying about it—visit a Rapid STD Testing location near you so you can finally put your fears about STD symptoms to rest.