March 31st, 2011 | Published in STD Treatment
The U.S. CDC reports that STD infection rates among Americans continue to climb. Part of the problem stems from the fact that many rely on the presence of textbook STD or STI symptoms to signal the need to get tested. In reality, the most common symptoms of STDs do not always show following infection. Additionally, since many common symptoms of STDs are milder than expected, plenty of infections are ignored, assumed as normal, or mistaken for other ailments. Learning to recognize the most common symptoms of STDs can help limit the spread of infection and prompt those affected to seek treatment.
Common Symptoms of STDs in Women
STI symptoms in women can vary in severity. While some females will experience notable pain following STD infection, others will never display side effects at all. Some the most common symptoms of STDs in females include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge that is thick and colored (generally white or yellow)
- A burning sensation during urination
- Overall genital pain, especially during intercourse
- Bleeding in between menstrual periods
Any or all of these side effects could be symptoms of gonorrhea or Chlamydia, two of the most widespread STDs in the country. Often, these common symptoms of STDs are mistaken for side effects of vaginal yeast or urinary tract infection. Many infected women will subsequently attempt to self-diagnose and thus deprive themselves of proper medication. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are both easily cured with antibiotics, but it important to be treated under the guidance of a medical professional.
Only STD testing can effectively detect these disease. Those at risk should get screened yearly even if these symptoms of gonorrhea and Chlamydia never surface.
Additionally, vaginal sores are among the most common symptoms of STDs like herpes and syphilis. While vaginal sores can be painful and cause major genital discomfort, in some women, they're mild enough to go unnoticed. Many women may mistake vaginal sores for shaving irritation or a mild rash. For this reason, STD testing is recommended if questionable sores appear on the genital, thighs, or anus. This holds true for men and women alike.
Common Symptoms of STDs in Men
As is the case with women, common symptoms of STDs in males will not always surface following infection. For example, symptoms of Chlamydia in men are only present 50 percent of the time. Common symptoms of STDs in men include:
- Penile discharge that is generally white or yellow in color
- Painful urination or pain during intercourse
- Genital sores, which may or may not produce blistering and pain
While penile discharge and painful urination are typically indicative of gonorrhea and Chlamydia infection, the presence of genital sores often points to syphilis or herpes. Also, whereas women will often disregard genital discharge as normal or attribute it to a more common infection, the presence of genital discharge in men will usually prompt a high degree of concern. Unfortunately, even in the presence of these common symptoms of STDs, not all men will get tested as necessary.
Treating Common Symptoms of STDs
STD symptoms can be effectively treated once an appropriate diagnosis is made. Though certain infections do share similar side effects, the methods of treatment involved can vary tremendously based on the disease at hand. For this reason, even the most trained medical professionals rely on STD testing to accurately diagnose the most common symptoms of STDs.
When Chlamydia or gonorrhea is detected, antibiotics can be administered to alleviate symptoms and cure each disease entirely. Syphilis, when caught in its early stages, can also be successfully eliminated from the body. While there is currently no cure for genital herpes, antiviral medication can work to alleviate symptoms and reduce the frequency of outbreaks. It is therefore essential that anyone experiencing STI symptoms undergo testing to not only get relief, but also prevent the spread of infection to others.