Look Out for These Common STD Signs and Symptoms
Do you know the most common STD signs and symptoms? The answer might be trickier than you think!
Many STD signs and symptoms may be undetectable. Others may be rather evident. Some can even be confused with other common ailments like urinary tract infections or the flu. Today we’re going to demystify the most common of these STD signs and symptoms.
Is this an STD or an STI?
You’ve probably heard both of those terms before. “STD” stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease. “STI” stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection. It may seem like a minor difference, but while STIs and STDs are quite similar, they are not interchangeable.
Most people tend to say “STD.” This abbreviation has been used for a long time to cover any form of illness that typically derives from sexual activity. Before everyone called them STDs they were “venereal diseases” or “VD.” Both of these terms tend to paint the issue with a broader brush.
STI is a much more inclusive term. An STI indicates the earlier stages of an infection that is usually transmitted through sexual activity. Often this is the tip of the spear before an impending sexually transmitted disease. STIs occur when a virus or microbe first enters your body and begins to multiply. When the infection starts to produce specific symptoms, it has advanced into an STD.
A sexually transmitted “infection” covers a great many health situations. An STD now refers specifically to a disease. Throughout this article, we’ll be referring to “STDs” since this is the more colloquial and commonly used abbreviation. Just keep in mind that in some cases, we’re dealing with infections and not diseases.
What’s In a Name?
Whether you use the proper name for them or not, the only real concern is that these infections are properly diagnosed and treated. That’s why it is so critical that we understand the most common STD signs.
Fortunately, most sexually transmitted infections and diseases are curable. However, leaving an infection undetected can have grave consequences. These may include complications like infertility, chronic illness or even death. Knowing your status is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
Tracking the Most Common STD Signs and Symptoms
Now, obviously we can’t cover all of the common STD signs and symptoms in a single article. That’s why we have this handy myLAB Box Blog! It’s packed with useful information about all of the infections that we test for, as well as medical knowledge that will arm you for the future.
Here is a general rundown of some of the common infections that myLAB Box tests for and some symptoms to keep an eye out for:
Hepatitis C often has rather mild symptoms. This includes fatigue, fever, nausea and stomach and joint pain. Dark urine and sore muscles are also signs of Hepatitis C.
Gonorrhea and Chlamydia
Orally contracted gonorrhea or chlamydia can feel like an itchy or sore throat and cause you to have a hard time swallowing food. Similarly, rectal infections of this kind can lead to slightly uncomfortable bowel movements and an itchy or tender anus.
For women, trichomoniasis is an infection that can cause a foul vaginal odor. It can also lead to unpleasant itching and redness in and around the vagina. For men, the itching sensation is on the inside of the penis.
It can also feature a burning sensation during or after urination or ejaculation. Here’s where this gets messier. This can be a sign of trichomoniasis, but also of gonorrhea or chlamydia. It pays to get tested, to learn what your symptoms mean and what you may need to be treated for.
It can be tricky to pinpoint HIV symptoms without getting tested. Early symptoms can range from fever to fatigue. In its earliest stages, HIV can easily be mistaken for a cold or flu. This is often accompanied by headaches, rashes and swollen lymph nodes. Beware, though. Even though the symptoms are mild, doesn’t mean the infection isn’t serious.
Testing is the Best Protection
The best defense against STDs and STIs is regular testing and treatment. myLAB Box offers at-home testing kits that test for the most common infections in the United States. It’s the best way to take total control of your sexual health.
If you’re unsure of what to test for, you can always test for everything at once. The Total Box is the most complete home testing solution available today. For further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer service department or consult our page of Frequently Asked Questions.
Reviewed by Luis Ferdinand M. Papa, MD, MHA