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How do you know you have got Sexually transmitted disease (STD)?

Updated on October 16, 2009

How do you know you have got Sexually transmitted disease (STD)?

STDs are infections which are transmitted through sexual intercourse. It should be noted that some infections in this group may be transmitted via other routes. For example, HIV can be transmitted through contaminated blood or shared needles. It should also be noted that patients may harbour more than one sexually transmitted infection. When you have one infection your chances of having contracted other STDs are high and when patients present with one infection they are often screened for others as well.

The symptoms depend on whether you are a male or female.

Common presentation of STDs in men are as follows:

Penile (urethral) discharge: Milky / yellow discharge from the penis. Sometimes discharge can be clear or mistaken for sperm. There is often quite a lot more of it in the morning when urine has not been voided for a few hours. Penile discharge may suggest Gonorrhoea or Chlamydia.

Pain or discomfort when passing urine (Dysuria): The pain is often described as "burning" or "scalding" or like “passing broken glass”. You may also pass urine frequently and with urgency. STD can cause you to pass blood in your water (haematuria).

You may experience painful intercourse (Dyspareunia): You may experience pain behind your scrotum (perineal pain) and when opening your bowels.

Systemic illness: You may have other nonspecific symptoms of general infection, for example, fever, chills, muscle pain and feel unwell. As these symptoms are nonspecific you are advised to see your doctor if you think you may have exposed yourself to the possibility of catching an STD.

Rash: an unexplained rash may be the first symptom of STD.

Others: General poor health, unexplained weakness, loss of appetite, and diarrhoea should raise the possibility of STD if you have had an exposure.

Genital soreness, ulcers on penis or mouth ulcers, vesicles, warts or lumps on penis and genital area should make you suspicious. STD can sometimes cause the scrotum to become painful, swollen, red, warm and tender (epididymo-orchitis).  

Common presentation of STDs in women are as follows:

Vaginal discharge: This is a very common presentation of STD. The discharge caused by STD is usually purulent and coloured unlike the normal discharge which is clear or white.

Itching: You may experience itching with discharge.

Intermenstrual bleeding: STD may cause you to bleed irregularly from your vagina at any time in the menstrual cycle other than normal menstruation.

Dyspareunia: You may experience pain in your vagina and pelvis during intercourse.

Painful urination: Urination may become painful (dysuria) or uncomfortable and you may have difficulty passing urine.  

Abdominal pain: STD is one of the causes of pain in the lower part of your abdomen.

Genital (and / mouth) ulcers: Ulcers may be painful (e.g. caused by herpes) or painless (as in syphilis).

Genital warts: may be flat resembling ordinary skin warts or when fully developed may have the shape of cauliflower. They are often painless but can be painful and itchy.

Note: Some people may have STD and yet have no symptoms or ignore their symptoms and so pass the infection to their partners. If you notice anything that makes you suspect the possibility of STD you should see your doctor immediately or contact a Genito-urinary (GUM) clinic.


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    • TeamKaploosh profile image

      TeamKaploosh 6 years ago

      I've called this company and they provide confidential, convenient and rapid STD testing.

      You can call Toll-Free:


      Mon-Sun: 7:00 am to 10:00 pm (all times Central)

    • erinhts profile image

      erinhts 7 years ago

      If you are sexually active you should get tested for STDs annually since many may not show signs or symptoms. Also, you can skip a trip to the doctor's office by visiting You can go directly to a testing center where they will draw your blood or take a urine sample.