Identifying the early signs and symptoms of STDs can ensure you receive proper treatment, get cured when possible and limit the spread of disease.
Infections that go untreated can lead to a higher risk of transmission or fertility problems.
Listed below are some common STDs and the symptoms associated with each. If you notice any of these signs, don’t wait — visit your doctor right away for further testing.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of over 150 types of viruses. Infection can lead to symptoms that don’t develop for years, making it difficult to determine when you were first exposed.
It can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, though the most common method of transfer is through vaginal or anal sex. The main symptom is genital warts that appear on the vulva or anus. Though they aren’t painful, but they may itch.
A sore called a chancre may develop on the area of your body where you were infected, such as the vulva, vagina or anus. The chancre typically shows up three weeks to three months after you are infected, and you may mistake it for a pimple or ingrown hair.
The chancre will clear up on its own within a few weeks, but unless you get treated, it can develop into a serious health issue.
Trichomoniasis is a common STD that must be treated with oral antibiotics. Some of the early symptoms in women include green or yellow vaginal discharge with a strong odor, vaginal itching and painful urination.
Though some symptoms of STDs don’t show up for weeks, it only takes about five days for signs of trichomoniasis to develop.
Chlamydia symptoms may develop three weeks after infection, but in the majority of cases women do not notice any changes. However, chlamydia can be very damaging to a woman’s reproductive health if it goes unchecked. It can cause irreversible damage to the fallopian tubes and infertility, and it can increase the chances of an ectopic pregnancy.
If you are infected with chlamydia, you may have pain during intercourse, abdominal pain or you may notice an increase in vaginal discharge. If chlamydia affects your urethra, you may begin to develop the common symptoms of a urinary tract infection such as painful urination and feeling like you constantly need to urinate.
The symptoms of STDs such as gonorrhea show up quickly — within two days after exposure in women. You may notice a burning feeling when you urinate; yellow, green or white vaginal discharge; irregular bleeding; bleeding after intercourse; conjunctivitis; or abdominal pain. If the infection was spread through oral sex, you may have swollen glands or a sore throat.