12 symptoms of various STDs
Certain signs and symptoms can indicate a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Each STD has its own set of signs and symptoms, and some symptoms may be common in two or more STDs. However, you may suspect STD if you have one or more of the following 12 symptoms.
You can suspect you might have caught a sexually transmitted disease (STD) if you develop one or more of the symptoms that include:
- Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
- A foul-smelling odor from the penis or vagina
- Sores or warts on the genital area or anal area
- Itching and redness in the genital area
- Painful or frequent urination
- Anal itching, soreness, or bleeding
- Blisters or sores in or around the mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes of the groin, which can be associated with or without pain
- Weight loss
- Susceptibility to infections caused by other microorganisms
- Abdominal pain
How can you confirm if you have STD?
It is important to consult a healthcare provider or your doctor if you have developed any of the symptoms of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and have any of the risk factors.
Your doctor will take your complete medical history, ask for your symptoms, and look for the signs while performing a physical examination. They will ask about your sexual history, including the last time you had sex and if you are having multiple sexual partners.
Your doctor may ask you to undergo tests, such as for human papillomavirus (HPV).
- The HPV test is called a pap smear and involves removing a sample of fluid or cells from the vagina.
- The sample is then sent examination under a microscope.
- If you have blisters or sores on other regions, such as the penis, anus, or mouth, those will be scraped from their surfaces and sent to the laboratory for microscopic analysis.
Other tests include blood tests, such as the enzyme-linked immunoassay or ELISA test for human immunodeficiency virus.
7 risk factors of STD
Knowing your risk factors can help you know if you should consult your doctor or healthcare provider about concerns regarding testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Populations younger than 25 years tend to be more sexually active, take sexual risks, and be more polyamorous than older people.
- Involvement in wilder and more aggressive sexual acts is more likely in this age, which may lead to tearing of the mucus cell lining of the sexual organs of the partners, making them more susceptible to STDs.
- Indulging in unprotected sex
- Not using any barrier method of birth control, such as condoms or vaginal diaphragm, increases the risk of exposure to microorganisms causing STDs, including the human papillomavirus.
- Along with abstinence, barrier methods are the best methods of preventing STDs.
- Birth control pills and intrauterine devices are ineffective at preventing STDs.
- Homosexual and bisexual men are disproportionately impacted by syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Sex through the anus is more likely to cause STDs because the anal tissue is tighter and less lubricated, making its mucus membrane more vulnerable to breaking open.
- Bisexual men if sexually involved with affected men can then spread this infection to the other gender.
- History of STDs
- Already having a history of STD indicates that a person has a lifestyle that can cause STD again.
- Inflamed, irritated, and blistered tissue of the sexual organs are at the risk of a repeat STD or transmitting the disease to the partner.
- Such people tend to have lower immunity against infections.
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Polyamory is the highest risk factor for STDs since polyamorous people tend to have multiple sexual partners.
- Alcohol use
- Alcohol consumption brings indecisiveness when choosing sexual partners. It affects memory and thus forgetfulness of using barrier methods.
- Besides, it lowers inhibitions to avoid wild and aggressive sexual activities.
- Illicit drug use
- Recreational drug use can cloud judgment and memory and make people avoid safe sexual practices.
Medically Reviewed on 12/29/2021
Cleveland Clinic. Sexually Transmitted Diseases & Infections (STDs & STIs). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9138-sexually-transmitted-diseases–infections-stds–stis
Garcia MR, Wray AA. Sexually Transmitted Infections. [Updated 2021 Jul 15]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560808/