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STD Symptoms


9 Common STD's and their Symptoms

By STD Concern

If you're sexually active, it's important to understand the symptoms of STDs and STIs. Also known as "sexually transmitted infections", these medical conditions may be dangerous if left untreated. They don't only affect your current physical health, but can also hinder your future fertility and sexual virility. Below is a list of the top 9 STD's along with their most common symptoms.

1. Chlamydia

The symptoms of chlamydia between men and women are different.

Women may notice;

  • unusual vaginal discharge with a possible odor,
  • as well as itching and burning around the affected area.
  • Painful periods, or irregular bleeding during the menstrual cycle, can also occur.
  • Other symptoms include pain during sex and/or urination.

For men affected by chlamydia, the symptoms can include;

  • painful urination,
  • swollen testicles, and
  • burning and itching at the penile head.
  • There may also be clear or cloudy discharge, coming from the penis' opening.

2. Gonorrhea

Even after the infection occurs, gonorrhea’s symptoms often take several weeks to become noticeable.

In both genders, the main symptom of gonorrhea is often;

  • Genital discharge, which can be either cloudy, creamy, or colored.
  • Persistent and painful urination, swollen genitals, and a sore throat are also common.

Women may also experience pain while having intercourse, and discomfort during menstruation.

3. Hepatitis A

Symptoms of hepatitis A arise 14 to 28 days after infection. They can include;

  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • abdominal pain
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • dark urine.

Adults are more likely to experience the symptoms of hepatitis A than children. Young children (particularly those under 6 years of age) do not often have noticeable symptoms of hepatitis A infection. About 10% of people who contract hepatitis A will experience recurrent or long-term symptoms. A much smaller percentage will experience liver failure.

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4. Hepatitis B

Most people do not know they have Hepatitis B until the infection is quite advanced. During the early phases, Hepatitis B generally does not cause symptoms. In the rare cases that it does cause symptoms, they are generally similar to those of the flu and may include:

  • yellowing of the skin
  • dark urine
  • nausea
  • extreme fatigue.

Chronic Hepatitis B infection can lead to severe liver damage and cirrhosis. This can cause; yellowing of the skin and eyes, pain, nausea, bloating, problems with blood clotting, and more.

5. Hepatitis C

The symptoms for hepatitis A, B, and C are very similar. They also may not appear for several weeks, or even a few months, after the infection is contracted. Hepatitis C's core symptoms include;

  • fatigue
  • sore muscles
  • abdominal pain
  • dark urine
  • abnormal stool
  • fever
  • jaundice
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting.

6. Herpes (Genital & Oral)

Both genital and oral herpes are attributed to the herpes simplex virus (HSV). They also carry similar characteristics. Both types of herpes can be asymptomatic, or they will produce painful;

  • Blistering sores on the genitals or around the mouth.
  • Fevers
  • Swollen lymph nodes are also common symptoms.

7. HIV Virus

Many HIV-positive people are not aware that they are infected at first. In the early stages of infection (2-4 weeks after contracting the virus) approximately 80% of people will experience flu-like symptoms;

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Body rashes

They are all common in the early stages of HIV infection. These symptoms are commonly dismissed as resulting from the flu or a cold and are followed by an asymptomatic period that can last for months or even years. During this time, the virus is replicating and damaging the immune system, but has not produced enough damage to cause symptoms. The virus is still active during this stage and can be transmitted to others.

Eventually, HIV causes enough damage to the immune system that other infections start to invade the body.

At this advanced stage, symptoms become more frequent. Recurring;

  • fevers
  • chills
  • mouth and genital sores
  • memory loss, and
  • persistent swelling of the lymph nodes are all common.

8. Syphilis 

Syphilis' symptoms arrive in three stages for both men and women.

For the first stage, a painless sore (chancre) grows on the genital area. This chancre will heal by itself in 3-6 weeks, but the syphilis is still very active. Lymph node swelling may also occur.

After two to 12 weeks, syphilis will enter its second stage, which is characterized by a rash. This rash can cause open, pus-filled sores. By two months, these skin symptoms will also clear up.

After that, syphilis enters its third stage and most severe.

This stage begins with an overall feeling of; 

  • being unwell
  • fever
  • weakness
  • nervous system abnormalities.

If the illness is still untreated, these symptoms can lapse into serious

  • blood and heart issues
  • blindness
  • gummata sores
  • mental disorders
  • and even death.

Note: You can avoid complications with most STD if your infection has been detected and treated.

9. Trichomoniasis

Many people with trichomoniasis don't display any symptoms and don't know they have it. Three out of every ten people who are infected may notice symptoms approximately three to thirty days after being exposed. When symptoms do occur, they only involve the vulvavagina, or penis because trichomoniasis does not infect other parts of the body such as the anus or mouth. 

For women, the first noticeable symptom is; itching of the vagina or vulva, which is referred to as vaginitis.

Men and women with trichomoniasis can also develop an infection of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the body. If the urethra becomes infected, urination is accompanied by a bad odor or discomfort. Frequent urination often occurs as well. Irritation and itching can also occur.


If you have symptoms of a possible STI or STD, call your doctor immediately. To safeguard your sexual health, remember to always practice safe sex and make appointments for regular gynecological exams. Click here to get tested.

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