If you’re having sex, you may also be experiencing STD symptoms. STD symptoms can occur regardless of what type of sex – vaginal, oral or anal – you’re having, or whether you use condoms. Although condoms when correctly and consistently used are highly effective for reducing transmission of STDs, no method (other than abstinence) is 100 percent effective. This is particularly true with certain STDs, such as genital warts and genital herpes.
STD symptoms can range from subtle to obvious. If you think you’re experiencing STD symptoms, see a doctor. Some STD symptoms can be treated easily and eliminated. Other STD symptoms require more involved and long-term treatment.
Either way, it’s essential to be evaluated, and – if diagnosed with an STD — be treated. It’s also essential to inform any partners so that they can be evaluated and treated. If untreated, STDs can increase your risk of acquiring another STD such as HIV. This happens because an STD can stimulate an immune response in the genital area or cause sores, either of which might make HIV transmission more likely. Some untreated STDs can also lead to infertility.
Gonorrhea is one of the more common STDs with more than 3 million diagnosis each year. It is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that if left untreated could result in fertility issues. Lab tests will determine a positive diagnosis. Symptoms typically include unusual discharge from vagina or penis and painful urination. Pain in lower abdomen is typical in women and testicular pain is common in men. However, gonorrhea may not always show symptoms, so it is important to get tested after sexual contact with a new partner or if you suspect your sexual partner may have gonorrhea. After proper medical treatment, gonorrhea resolves within a few days to weeks.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact that starts as a painless sore. Syphilis is not as common as gonorrhea, less than 200,000 cases in the US per year. A lab test or imaging is required to diagnosis syphilis. Syphilis has stages and each stage has symptoms that vary. The first stage typically has a painless sore on the genitals, called a chancre. The sore will appear where the bacteria has entered and infected the body. Some cases have more than one chancre. The second stage is typically a rash, but there are no symptoms until the final stage which unfortunately may occur years later. If untreated, the final stage can result in damage to the brain, eyes, nerves, and heart.