You may not know this, but there are a lot of STDs and STIs that carry flu-like symptoms with them. If you have been sexually active and are experiencing unfamiliar symptoms it might not be the flu. In fact, it could be one of the countless STDs or STIs ravaging your immune system.
STDs Can Be Deceptive
Not all sexually transmitted disease symptoms are exclusive to STDs. That means that many viral or bacterial infections wreaking havoc on your body may be creating symptoms that you might brush under the rug or confuse with the flu. Many flu symptoms are interchangeable with symptoms caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea. Even though they are often considered asymptomatic in their early stages, the subtleness of flu-like symptoms usually goes unnoticed or unrecognized. Don’t wait. Get tested.
Fatigue can easily be mistaken for a number of things, like a late night out, but it can be an indication of something much more serious. Fatigue can be a symptom of late-stage chlamydia or gonorrhea infections. It can also be caused by Hepatitis A, B or C. If you’re unusually tired and also sexually active, start thinking about getting tested for STDs and STIs.
Fevers indicate that the body is trying to fight off an infection. What many people fail to realize is that this infection could be sexually transmitted. Fevers can be caused by Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HIV, Hep A or Herpes.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of the flu or even food poisoning. Feeling sick to your stomach is unpleasant and could potentially keep you out of work and in the house. Even though nausea affects people differently, it could be an STD or STI symptom. Nausea and vomiting could be signs of Syphilis, Hep A, Hep C, and HIV.
Headaches are easy to ignore, but they can be a sign of an STD. Headaches can be caused by HIV, Syphilis and Herpes.
Pain in the abdomen can be a caused a Chlamydia or Gonorrhea infection that has been left untreated. Late-stage chlamydia and gonorrhea may infect the pelvis causing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, or PID. If left untreated, PID can lead to long-term pelvic pain, tubo-ovarian abscess, infertility, or ectopic pregnancy.
Lower Back pain
Pain in the lower back can be a sign of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or Herpes prodrome. Herpes prodrome relates to a physical pain meaning that a herpes breakout is about to occur. This pain is located in various parts of the body but mainly resides in the lower back, thighs, knees or feet. This period of time is also when you are most likely to spread the virus.
Joint pain can be a result of Hep B, Syphilis, Gonorrhea or HIV that has infiltrated into the body and is left untreated. When gonorrhea or chlamydia start to cause joint pain it is called Gonococcal Arthritis or Venereal Arthritis. This arthritis happens when the STD goes undetected and the bacteria infects your joints. This can be painful, bothersome, and often ignored as an STD symptom.
Swollen lymph nodes
Swollen lymph nodes are irritable and can be caused by chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes or HIV. Swollen lymph nodes are a common sign that your body is fighting infection.
Swollen testicles, also known as ‘orchitis’ can be caused by Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or Syphilis. This happens when bacteria is spread through blood and infects your sensitive reproductive system.
A sore throat
A sore throat can be an indication of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis or Herpes. These STDs can cause throat infections from oral sex. A sore throat can seem regular, but it should not be taken lightly – especially if you’re sexually active.
Keep in mind
STDs don’t always make themselves known through obvious symptoms. Even if some of the symptoms are tell-tale signs, there are plenty of other symptoms that fly under the radar and seem like common occurrences. What you think might be the flu could really be an underlying STD. Keep you and your partner protected and get tested for STDs regularly and knowing your status. If you think you may have been infected, or at a higher risk of being infected, contact myLAB Box and check out your testing options today.
- Qing He, Luis Martinez-Sobrido, Francis O Eko, Peter Palese, Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, Deborah Lyn, Daniel Okenu, Claudiu Bandea, Godwin A Ananaba, Carolyn M Black, and Joseph U Igietseme. (2007). Live-attenuated influenza viruses as delivery vectors for Chlamydia vaccines. Immunology.
- O Dosekun, MBBS, C Kober, MBBS, D Richardson, MBBS, A Parkhouse, RN, M Fisher, MBBS FRCP. (2010). It’s not all swine flu…are we missing opportunities to diagnose primary HIV infection in patients with flu symptoms? International Journal of STD & AIDS.