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STD Symptoms: An Overview

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According to the World Health Organization, ʺSexually transmitted infections (or STDs) are infections that are spread primarily through person-to-person sexual contact. There are more than 30 different sexually transmissible bacteria, viruses and parasites.ʺ

The following are a list of sexually transmitted disease and their symptoms. The information was obtained from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health and Planned Parenthood websites.

Chlamydia. Most women have no symptoms of chlamdyia. Symptoms include:

· Pain during sex
· Abnormal vaginal discharge
· Low back pain
· Fever
· Burning when urinating
· Lower abdominal pain
· Nausea
· Bleeding between periods

Human papillomavirus (HPV). Most women will have no symptoms. However, you could display the following HPV symptoms:

· Growths on the cervix and vagina are often invisible
· Visible warts in the genital area, including the thighs
· Warts can be raised or flat, alone or in groups, small or large, and sometimes they are cauliflower-shaped

Gonorrhea. Four out of five women with gonorrhea have no gonorrhea symptoms. However, symptoms generally appear ten days after becoming infected. Sometimes the symptoms may only appear in the morning. Also, a gonorrhea infection can occur in the anus, throat or eyes.

Gonorrhea symptoms include:

· Bleeding between menstrual periods
· Fever
· Menstrual irregularities
· Bleeding between periods
· Heavy bleeding during periods
· Painful intercourse
· Pain or burning when urinating
· Swelling or tenderness of the vulva
· The urge to urinate more than usual
· Throwing up
· Yellowish or yellow-green or bloody vaginal discharge
· Anus itching
· Painful bowel movements
· Abdominal pain

Bacterial vaginosis (BV). Many women do not have any symptoms. However, some symptoms include:

· Pain when urinating
· Discharge with a fishy odor
· Vaginal itching

Pubic lice or crabs:
· Finding lice or lice eggs
· Itching in the genital area

Genital herpes. Symptoms generally occur during an outbreak. Some people may not have any symptoms. Symptoms include:

· Fever
· Pain when urinating
· Small red bumps, blisters, or open sores where the virus entered the body, such as on the penis, vagina, or mouth. Sores heal after two to four weeks
· Vaginal discharge
· Muscle aches
· Pain in legs, buttocks, or genital area
· Headache
· Itching, burning, or swollen glands in genital area

Hepatitis B. Majority of women will display no symptoms of Hepatisis B. However, symptoms include:

· Skin and whites of eyes turning yellow
· Low-grade fever
· Dark-colored urine and pale bowel movements
· Headache and muscle aches
· Stomach pain
· Tiredness
· Upset stomach or vomiting
· Loss of appetite
· Diarrhea

Trichomoniasis (also known as trich). Most women will not have any symptoms. However after exposure, symptoms will appear 5-28 days later.

· Discomfort during sex and when urinating
· Lower abdominal pain (rarely)
· Itching or discomfort in the genital area
· Yellow, green, or gray vaginal discharge (often foamy) with a strong odor

Syphilis. Symptoms of syphilis generally appear in stages. For example:

· After 10-90 days after infections, a single, painless sore appears in the mouth, genital area, mouth, or other parts of the body. The sore will go away on its own.
· Symptoms of the secondary stage appear 3 to 6 weeks after the sore appears. Other stage two symptoms include:
· Fever
· Weight loss
· Headaches and muscle aches
· Skin rash with rough, red or reddish-brown spots on the hands and feet that usually does not itch and clears on its own
· Sore throat and swollen glands
· Patchy hair loss
· Tiredness

It is important to note that if this disease goes untreated you can suffer serious health issues and even death. Serious health issues include damage to your liver, heart, nerves, joints, eyes, blood vessels and other internal organs.


Sexually Transmitted Diseases. World Health Organization. Retrieved December 8, 2011, from

Sexually transmitted infections (STI) fact sheet | womenshealth.gov. womenshealth.gov . Retrieved December 8, 2011, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/sexually-transmitted-infections.cfm#d

Gonorrhea - Symptoms, Test & Treatment. Sexual & Reproductive Health - Sex Education - Planned Parenthood. Retrieved December 8, 2011, from http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/stds-hiv-safer-sex/gonorrhea-4269.htm

Reviewed December 8, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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