Unsure what the symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection are? Here’s what to watch out for and when to see a doctor.
Whether you are having penetrative sex, oral sex or even just sexual contact, you can be at the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is, therefore, essential to know the common symptoms so that you can get yourself treated before a disease can cause long term effects. Read on!According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, women are more likely to suffer from long-term, serious consequences of sexually transmitted infections than men. When it comes to STIs, it does not matter how many times you have had sex and who you’ve had sex with – anyone can get one. STIs spread through sexual contact or sharing of body fluids such as vaginal secretions, saliva, or blood. But what is worrisome is that women are less likely to exhibit any symptoms than men. And, even if you don’t have any symptoms, you can still pass on the infection to a partner. Plus, it is easy to confuse the symptoms of STIs with other vaginal infections. Here, we have listed out the most common symptoms experienced by women.
If you experience a burning sensation while peeing, you should speak to a doctor. Most commonly this can signify a urinary tract infection (UTI), but can also be a sign of an easily treatable STI. The infection can cause inflammation in your genital area and urinary tract, triggering pain while urinating. While a UTI is not an STI, it is common to develop one after sex.
Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
You know what your norm is, but if it is suddenly off, your body could be trying to tell you something. Any change in the colour, consistency or amount of vaginal discharge could be a sign of an infection. Also, speak to your doctor if you notice a foul odour or a fishy smell.
Itchy Lady Parts
Can’t stop scratching your vagina? It could be a regular yeast infection, but it could also be a symptom of trichomoniasis or pubic lice, both treatable STIs .
Many STIs present with sores – herpes simplex virus, chancre sores, and syphilis. Each are slightly different appearing – they can be firm, round, painful sores or a collection of small painful bumps. They show up around your anus, mouth or vagina. It’s important to see a doctor if you notice this, because some, if untreated, can progress to more severe stages afflicting the rest of the body, like syphilis.
Pain During Sex
Sometimes a little bit of rough sex can be enjoyable (with consent!), but it definitely should not be painful. When you have STI, you may sometimes notice mild discomfort to a sharp, stabbing pain during intercourse with either initial or deep penetration. This happens because if the vagina or cervix is inflamed, it can make them extra sensitive.
Pain in The Pelvis
If you notice a dull, aching pelvic pain that is different from premenstrual symptoms or cramps, it could be a sign of STI. If this pain doesn’t resolve with over-the-counter pain medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, it can signify something more significant, such as an infection has spread to the rest of your pelvic organs. If you also have fevers or chills, seek medical attention immediately.
There are many reasons that women experience spotting – hormonal birth controls, irregular periods, cervical polyps (benign growths on the cervix), but it can also be a sign of an STI. Therefore if you notice bleeding between periods or after intercourse, see your gynaecologist for a pelvic exam and STI testing.
If you are experiencing any of the above signs and symptoms, you can book an appointment with one of our Veera gynaecologists on our portal! All visits are judgement-free and confidential. Download our app at the Apple or Play Store now!
Reviewed by: Dr. Shailly Prasad, Resident Physician, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Disclaimer: Content on Veera is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, or as a substitute for medical advice given by a physician.