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6 Symptoms That May Mean You Have an STD

With over 20 million new infections every year, STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are a very common problem for sexually active people. In 2018 alone, nearly 3 million people were infected by three of the most common STDs: syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. But many people dealing with these and other STD infections are undiagnosed. Many conditions can go long periods with no symptoms only making problems worse. Despite this, there are some common signs to look for.

Dealing with STDs can be embarrassing, but Dr. Mark Kelly and his team have decades of experience helping patients deal with them and many other medical conditions.

Here are some signs that may indicate an STD:

Painful urination

While urinary tract infections or kidney stones can be responsible for painful or burning urination, it is also a symptom of many different STDs. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and genital herpes. Blood in the urine is traced to cases of chlamydia in women, as well as other conditions in both sexes.

Unusual discharge

Any discharge from the genitals that isn’t urine, semen (in men), or menstrual blood (in women) is a possible indication of an STD. Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and gonorrhea are possible causes in men, though it could be related to other infections. An abnormal vaginal discharge may be an indication of a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. The type of discharge in women can also change depending on the STD. Trichomoniasis may appear green, frothy and have an unpleasant odor. Gonorrhea may be yellow and tinged with blood.

Genital discomfort

This can come from many causes (pubic lice, bacterial infection, or yeast infection), but for women it can also be a sign of bacterial vaginosis. Tiny parasites can cause scabies, which produces itching. Sores and bumps from other STDs in both sexes can also be a source of genital discomfort, and can help the infections spread. Syphilis, herpes, HPV, and other STDs are common sources of discomfort.

Painful intercourse

As some women experience pain during sex without having any sort of infection, it can make catching this symptom more difficult. However pain after any changes in sexual habits or partners can be an indication of an STD. Painful ejaculation in men may also indicate a possibility of an STD infection.

Pelvic pain

For women, there can be many sources of pelvic pain that are in no way related to sexually transmitted diseases. These include uterine fibroids, vulvodynia, endometriosis or just menstrual cramps. However an asymptomatic STD can cause women to develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause severe pain and infertility, and in rare cases it can be fatal.


Sores, bumps, and blisters on or around the genitals are generally an indication of some sort of STD. In fact, for many infections it is the first sign. With syphilis, one of the early signs is sores on the genitals called chancres. With herpes, HPV, and molloscum contagiosum, bumps and sores are common first signs. So they are a good indication to see a doctor.

There are other symptoms like chills, fever, fatigue, rashes, and weight loss, but those are commonly symptoms of other conditions. The groups most likely to contract STDs include people ages 15-24 (rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea are highest), people with multiple partners, and men who have sex with other men (rates of syphilis are higher). In most cases, contraception (condoms, birth control, etc) is the most effective method of prevention, but most of these conditions are easily treated.

So if you have any of the symptoms and think you might be infected, make an appointment with Dr. Kelly and get help today.

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