This article is medically verified by a Senior Gynaecologist at Hidden Pockets. He is an MBBS with MS – Obstetrics & Gynaecology.
With life moving at such a fast pace, more often people tend to overlook minute signals given by their body. These signals, if addressed early, can prevent major illnesses. In order to recognise symptoms of STDs, it’s vital to stay vigilant towards one’s body and listen to what it’s telling you. Let’s look at the symptoms of STDs.
Symptoms of STDs:
- Itching & burning in the genital area, any time of the day, more at night
- The appearance of warts (round, dome-shaped small bumps (vesicles) usually brown or pink in color) around the genital or anal area
- Fever, fatigue and loss of sensation sometimes over the external genital area, followed by the appearance of vesicles which are small bumps filled with fluid that tends to be painful. (They ulcerate and then eventually disappear within 3 weeks and don’t leave any scars. These vesicles can also appear around the mouth due to kissing or oral sex, and around the anus due to anal sex) These lesions may be painful or painless.
- Painless & firm ulcer(s) in the genital area that heals on its own within 3-9 weeks
- Burning sensation & pain while peeing
- Pain while having sex
- Redness, burning and painful sensation in and around the genitals
- When vaginal discharge feels abnormal in terms of color (eg. yellow, green etc), texture (eg. curdy)
- Foul smelling vaginal discharge or change in vaginal odour
- Lower abdominal pain
- Unexplained fever, fatigue, weight loss, frequent infections, swollen glands in the groin, muscle or joint pain
For men, the additional symptoms to be noted are:
- Discomfort during ejaculation
- Discomfort and pain while peeing
- Lower abdominal pain
- Ulcers on the penis or genital area (can be painful or painless)
- Swelling in the genital area, along with redness and pain
- Abnormal discharge from the penis
- Swollen glands in the groin
We help not only women. We help men as well, and anyone else in need. If you or your partner have any of the above symptoms, immediately talk to us. We’ll help you. Click on this Whatsapp chat button to talk:
What are STDs?
STDs are diseases that are spread via sexual contact (vaginal, oral or anal) from one person to another. How an STD spreads & affects the body depends on the kind of microorganism that causes it. Microorganisms are micro bugs/germs, bacteria, fungi, and viruses that you can’t see with the naked eye that causes it.
The most common STDs encountered in India are Herpes, Hepatitis B, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), Gonorrhea, and HPV (Human Papillomavirus). Also, Candidial infection, Bacterial Vaginosis and Chlamydia infection are prevalent.
What are the chances of you having an STD?
The chances of you getting an STD are higher if you:
- Any age, especially young (age <30 years) and is engaging in sexual activity
- Have multiple sex partners
- Don’t use barrier contraceptives like condoms, diaphragms etc
- You’re a sex worker
Why are STDs dangerous?
STDs not only have the potential to mess with one’s sex life but also with one’s overall health.
STDs if not treated timely, can result in these complications:
- Recurrent herpes can result in encephalitis (infection of the brain), a rare complication though.
- HPV infection can result in cervical, vulvar cancer in women & penile cancer in men
- Syphilis can ultimately cause neurosyphilis which can affect the brain, causing mental disease, and meningitis. Syphilis requires a specific mention here: it usually causes painless ulcers and thus is most neglected for any treatment. However, when diagnosed in early stages, it is definitely completely curable.
- A complication of many STDs can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, resulting in damage to reproductive organs like the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
- Infertility (according to a WHO report, almost 90 million people with STI related infertility are recorded annually!)
- HIV if not detected early can result in end-stage AIDS, which is incurable currently. But there are medications now available to keep the disease under control.
- Hepatitis B, which can result in a chronic infection for which there is no absolute cure. It can also lead to Cirrhosis of the liver and later cancer of the liver, but this is preventable by taking Hepatitis B vaccination.
- Some STDs during pregnancy can even affect the foetus, causing problems like late abortions, stillbirths, and congenital syphilis.
Examination & Treatment for STDs
The examination for STDs is usually done during the pelvic exam. The doctor will mostly take a cotton swab containing your vaginal discharge or gently scrape the cervix for cells in order to get it tested.
After being examined by the doctor & depending on the STD test results, the treatment depends on the type & severity of the disease one has.
If the STD is due to bacteria, the doctor will prescribe you antibiotics. If it’s due to a virus, antiviral treatment will be given, so on and so forth.
One must make sure to get themselves tested and get consulted by the doctor so that they get the right treatment for the STD they have.
If you want to know which doctor, clinic or diagnostic lab to go to in your city, please talk to us. We’ll provide you highly experienced doctors who are caring and non-judgemental. Click this Whatsapp chat button to ask us:
What can you do to prevent STDs?
Firstly, use barrier contraceptives like condoms and diaphragms, and maintain personal hygiene. The majority of STDs can be prevented with the help of these. Prevention is always better than cure! Condoms are the best option available.
Secondly, get vaccinated. STDs like HPV, Hepatitis B can be prevented since we have vaccines for it.
- For HPV, vaccines are available for adolescents/adults prior to your first sexual exposure. It consists of 3 shots given at intervals of 0, 1 & 6 months. They are expensive though.
- For Hepatitis B, vaccines consist of 3 shots given at intervals of 0, 1 & 6 months.
You have to get these vaccines taken by the doctor or nurse at a hospital or clinic. They shouldn’t be self-administered.
Thirdly, look out for red flags and symptoms.
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s best to visit your doctor and get tested as soon as possible. If you don’t know where to go or whom to talk to, chat with us immediately. We’ll help you find great doctors and clinics. Click this Whatsapp button to chat:
What can you do to cure STDs?
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with an STD, and treatment/medication has been prescribed to you, make sure you complete the duration of treatment.
For instance, the doctor tells you to take the medication for 2 weeks for the problem you’ve been facing. Even if you get relieved from your problem within four days of starting the medication, make sure you still continue taking it for 2 weeks as instructed. Because if you don’t follow the instructions properly, there’s a high chance of re-infection or chronic infection.
Break the fear and shame, and spread awareness!
STDs definitely pose a big problem but what’s bigger is how we look at it!
Getting an STD for sure sounds embarrassing. But it’s important to talk to your partner about it. If you are unable to do this, talk to us and we’ll help you. Click this Whatsapp chat button to tell us what you’re going through:
It’s super important to be
- Aware of STDs and their symptoms
- Empathetic to yourself and your partner
- Responsible about your sexual health
- Be supportive of the ones who need it
And let’s not forget it could be you, me, or anyone with an STD. Safeguard your health, Treat it immediately if you have it, and Defend your loved ones.
We are here to help you and support you in any way we can. If you have any questions about STDs or your sexual health, please ask us immediately. We’ll help you. Click this Whatsapp chat button to ask:
You can share this article with your friends, as well as your loved ones. We’ll be happy to help them too.
About the Author:
Teertha Barnwal, a doctor, a medical intern at MGM Medical College, Navi Mumbai. Enjoys writing, singing & adventuring. Meditates & believes that life is the biggest adventure.
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