What are the symptoms of an STD?

STD (sexually transmitted disease) and STI (sexually transmitted infections) are terms used interchangeably to describe the bacteria, viruses, and other agents that are passed from person to person during sexual intercourse that result in infections and/or diseases. Shockingly, the most common STD symptoms are none at all. This is why it is crucial for anyone who is sexually active to get tested, especially those individuals who have participated in unprotected sex.

STD symptoms can vary from none at all to impossible to ignore, depending on what type of STD it is and what stage the infection is in. As a result, it is hard to discuss STD systems as a whole because they vary so drastically depending on the specific infection. STD symptoms that are present are frequently not exclusive to a single disease, so there are symptoms that occur in more than one STD, as well as other disorders. Just because you are having a symptom, such as painful urination, that could indicate the presence of an STD, it doesn’t automatically mean you have one. This is another reason testing is crucial. It is the only way to know if you do have an STD.

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Possible Long-Term Complications of STDs

It’s important to understand that STDs frequently do not present any symptoms that you can feel or see. Therefore, you can’t automatically assume that you are STD-free just because you do not have any obvious symptoms. When some STDs are not detected and left untreated, they may result in long-term problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, damage to your organs, whole body illness, and even death. This highlights how important it is to undergo routine testing if you are sexually active.

Whether or not symptoms are present is not a reliable indicator of your STD status. The only way to know if you are infected is by STD testing. The CDC highly encourages regular testing for anyone who has risk factors for contracting STDs.

Common STD Symptoms

While there are often no symptoms associated STDS, this isn’t always the case. However, it is a common misconception that any symptoms of STD only occur in the genital region. Symptoms may appear in mouth, throat, and anus, if you engage in anal or oral sex.

STD symptoms that are commonly associated with the genital area often vary depending on the person’s sex. They include:

For Males:

  • Penile discharge
  • Frequent urination; burning during urination
  • Appearance of a sore/ rash on the penis or surrounding area
  • Itching at the top of the penis or possibly the entire penis
  • Pain during ejaculation
  • Rectal bleeding, discharge and/ or pain
  • Testicular pain and/ or swelling
  • Men may also experience a sore throat and/ or inflamed eyes.

For Females:

  • Vaginal discharge, itching, rash, and/ or the presence of sores
  • A rash/ sore may appear anywhere in the genital region
  • Unusual odor
  • Itching in or around the vulva
  • Burning during urination
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Pain during sex
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Rectal bleeding, discharge, and/ or pain
  • Women may also experience lower pain in the lower back or abdomen, nausea, fever, sore throat, and/ or inflamed eyes.

Gender Neutral Symptoms:

  • Anal discharge and/ or soresth
  • Frequent urination; pain during urinationth
  • Chancres (painless ulcers that often develop in the genital region)th
  • Cold Soresth
  • White spots in the mouth

The symptoms listed above are those that most often come to mind when someone is worried they may potentially have a STD. However, there are plenty more that aren’t thought of or are present with a variety of different conditions, including body rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, and weight loss.

These symptoms most often occur in the later stages of a STD infection and can be a sign of a more advanced disease. If you are sexually active and are experiencing any concerning symptoms, it is important to have comprehensive STD testing performed to confirm or rule out whether or not you are infected with a STD.

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