Signs and Symptoms Indicating STDs

There are many types of STDs and each present with typical signs and symptoms. Recognizing them requires a careful examination followed by investigations.

Syphilis

Caused by a bacteria called treponema pallidum. It is a sexually transmitted disease that affects the nerves and body tissue in an irreversible way.

How Do You Get Infected?

Infection spreads via syphilis sores. These sores may be present on the vagina, anus, inside the rectum, external genitals or lips and the oral cavity.

Syphilis has three stages. In the primary or first stage, there is a hard, circular, painless swelling. This may be solitary (most often) or in a cluster. This is called chancre, and is typical of syphilis.

This swelling may stay for a few weeks to disappear be itself. However, the disappearance of the swelling does not mean that the disease has got cured. The disease quietly progresses to the next stage.

The next stage is the appearance of a non itchy reddish brown rash on the palm or the sole. It may be present on other parts of the body as well.

Accompanying this, may appear flu like symptoms including swollen lymph nodes, patchy hair loss and weight loss.

Then comes the third or late stage of syphilis, in which the bacteria eats away the nerves. There may be damage to the brain, heart, eyes, bones and other organs.

The patent may show paralysis of a part of the body, dementia, loss of vision and impairment of certain muscle groups.

Go to the doctor if you note any discharge, rash or swelling in the genitals or mouth angles. You may screen yourself for syphilis on a regular basis if you have multiple sexual partners or are a sex worker.

Diagnosis is made by VDRL test, that screen antibodies in the blood formed against the syphilis bacteria.

Herpes

Caused by herpes simplex virus, HSV-1 or HSV-2.

Initial symptoms are similar to common flu. The patient may have fever, cough, cold, swollen glands. There may be tender ulcers or blisters in the genitals, blisters on the lips (called cold sores).

Diagnosis may be made by blood test or direct examination from the sores.

Chlamydia

Caused by trachomatis chlamydia.

Recognizing Chlamydia in Females

There may be a change in vaginal discharge. Read about normal vaginal discharge. If infected, the discharge may become smelly, change in color and texture of the discharge may be noted.

Blood after intercourse, in between periods may indicate chlamydia.

Pain or burning during micturition. Low back ache or groin pain may be there.

Recognizing Chlamydia in Males

Abnormal discharge from the penis. It may be pus like, cloudy or smelly. Burning, itching at the opening of the penis. Pain or burning during micturition.

Pain in or around the anal opening. Any foul discharge from the anal opening. Pain or swelling in one or both the testicles.

Diagnosing Chlamydia

In females, a swab is taken from the cervix. In males, a swab is taken from the urethra. Samples are then sent for culture.

Alternatively, urine testing may be done.

Gonorrhea

Signs and symptoms resemble those of chlamydia. Swab test is done for diagnosis.

HPV

Caused by human papilloma virus. It causes warts in the genital region of both men and women. The virus may also cause cancer of some genital organs.

There are over 100 strains of this virus. A fraction of them are low risk ones, that may cause warts. Others may even lead to malignancies.

Warts appear commonly in the genital region of both men and women. They may be found on the vulva, anal opening, inner thigh region etc. They appear as bumps or lumps, which may be flat or raised. The lesions are usually in  clusters, though may appear as solitary also.

The strain of HPV which causes warts is unlikely to cause cancer.

Diagnosis is made by taking the swab directly from the lesions. It may be from the cervix or vagina. This is called the pap test.

Sometimes, the lesions are not visible. In such cases, the doctor may pour vinegar over the lesion. Vinegar turns the HPV affected areas white in color. Hence, it makes them visible.

Trichomoniasis

Also called trich infection. It is the most curable STD.

Symptoms in Women

A foul smelling thin vaginal discharge is usually there. This may be yellow, green or even clear in appearance.

Pain during intercourse, urinating.

Symptoms in Men

Penile itching or irritation. One may have burning while urinating. There may or may not be a discharge from the penis.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Recognizing STD – the Sexually Transmitted Diseases

  1. Angelina

    Two days ago, while I was showering I felt a bump. When I got out I looked to see what it was. In my inner left labia there’s one bump. It’s flesh color it has a shiny tint to it there’s no white around or in it. It’s not painful, but when I wipe it I feel it because it’s usually dry and I’m rubbing on it with the toilet tissue. I have no discharge, no abdominal pain, no redness, no itchiness, and it doesn’t burn when urine. I’m not sick, I feel fine. I’m 20 years old I have had unprotected sex and I’m very worried that it might be serious. I don’t touch it, but I do keep a eye on it to see if it gets bigger or if white appears. Should I go to the ER? What is it? Please ease my mind.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      It would be better to visit the ER for direct examination by a doctor.

      This sounds like a sore. Though it may not be serious, but STDs need to be ruled out.

      Reply
  2. Mike Collins

    I met with a girl a few months back. She had been rubbing her vagina and then put a finger in my backside. She said she was clean but hard to know. After about 3 months, I got tested full std panel and came up negative with everything including HSV 2 except for HSV 1, which came up positive. However, the test used was herpes select Elisa 1gG, which I read is known to have false positives. My score was a 3.3. I had read if the score is less than 3.5 that it could be a false positive.

    A week later, I retested using herpes select immunoblot, which is supposed to be more accurate and tested negative for HSV 1 and 2. However, for past 3 months I’ve had itching in my backside, which could be due to sweat and anxiety. Do I have anything to worry about or trust the latest results that I have no herpes and put this to rest?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Any other sign, besides itching, like any rash, growth, bump or redness?

      Though it’s very unlikely that you are infected (the latest test may be trusted), keeping a close watch for the appearance of any rash or growth is required.

      Reply
      1. Mike Collins

        It’s kinda hard to tell since it’s my backside but I don’t think there has been any rash or bumps. I know about few months back when I had a lot of anxiety, I was sweating a lot and it would get hot sort of burn feeling in my backside but I’m assuming that was from sweat and anxiety.

        Reply
          1. Mike Collins

            I’ll go to doctor. As of now the itch is sporadic…are you saying that I shouldn’t believe my negative test results? I plan on taking another immunoblot test to confirm after 6 months of exposure next month. Thanks.

          2. Buddy M.D. Post author

            Results are sometimes false negative. So, it’s better to confirm the results. You may see a doctor and repeat the test after some time, as you have planned.

  3. Michelle

    Okay, I have these pinpoint bumps on the inner parts of my vagina and they do not hurt or itch. I’m concerned that it is hpv. They are the same color as my vagina. I’m not sure what it is. I also have light but a faint yellow discharge. It has a mild odor. I think it is BV, but I’m not sure and tonight my lower butt cheek was hurting. So I looked in the mirror and seen bright red rash-like bumps.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      This appears to be some infection.

      If you are sexually active, get yourself screened for the presence of any STD.

      You need to be examined physically.

      Reply
  4. Melanie18

    I’m 17, I was sexually active with only two guys. One Year ago, with my ex and then later on one other guy. I know them. Maybe I’m afraid I could have some kind of std. I’m afraid to see my doctor about it but recently I’ve been getting these looking pimples up high on my thighs sides. They hurt a lot when I squeeze them. I had popped one once like two weeks ago and blood with pus came out. I noticed one on my upper arm-pit, could it be because when I shaved I left that shaver and used it again. I’m afraid, also because I haven’t had my period in a very long time. I always have had irregular periods. My doctor had recommended me to see a gynecologist, but I didn’t go because I’m under age and afraid my mother will find out I’m not a virgin when she went with me.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      It is very difficult to diagnose this without examination. You need to go to a doctor and rule out the presence of any STD.

      Read above to know the common signs and symptoms of STD.

      Till you see a doctor, you may try applying mupirocin ointment over each of those pimples and see if they respond.

      Reply