Sexually Transmitted Diseases – Signs, Symptoms and Causes

It is generally through sexual contact that STDs or sexually transmitted diseases or STIs or sexually transmitted infections are acquired. Sexually transmitted diseases are caused by organisms that could pass from one person to another through vaginal, blood, semen, and other body fluids.

There are also nonsexual kinds of transmission such as an infected to her baby from pregnancy to birth or through shared needles or blood transfusions.

People who may seem to be in the best of health may be the one to infect you especially when they are not even aware that they have the infection. Some people do not show symptoms even when they have STDs which is why the term ‘sexually transmitted infections’ is more preferred than ‘sexually transmitted diseases’.

STDs have several signs and symptoms which could most often be hardly noticeable until a partner is diagnosed or health complications happen. They may include:

  • Bumps or sores on the rectal area, genitals or in the oral area
  • Burning or painful urination
  • Discharges from the penis
  • Unpleasant-smelling discharges from the vagina
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Lymph nodes that are sore and swollen especially the groin area
  • Lower stomach pain
  • Rashes on feet, trunk or hands

Depending on the organism, symptoms may appear a few days after infection or could take years to show.

Consult a doctor right away if:

  • You are experiencing STD signs and symptoms
  • You are active sexually and you’ve been infected with an STD

Arrange for an appointment with a doctor:

  • When you are 21 years old and want to become sexually active or vice-versa
  • Before involving in a sexual relationship with a new partner

The following can cause sexually transmitted diseases:

  • Viruses (HIV, human Papillomavirus, genital herpes)
  • Bacteria (Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis)
  • Parasites (Trichomoniasis)

The main reason for getting infected is engaging in sexual relations, but getting infected without sex can also be possible such as Giardia intestinalis, shigella, and the viruses of Hepatitis A, B, and C.

If you are sexually active you have a high risk of getting infected and here are some factors that could up the ante:

  • Unsafe sex. Sexual activity such as anal or vaginal penetration without using latex condom stand a high risk of getting infected with STD. Inconsistent and improper condom usage also increases the risk.

Oral sex needs a dental dam so infection cannot be passed.

  • Multiple sex partners. You are more exposed to acquiring STD when you have multiple sex partners.
  • Have a previous STD history. If you have STD such as Chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea or syphilis that has not been treated and you engage in unprotected sex with a partner who has HIV, you will get infected right away. You can also get re-infected if your current partner has not been treated.
  • Sharing of needles. Injecting drugs and sharing the needles can spread a lot of serious infections such as hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and HIV. If you get infected with HIV while sharing needles, there’s a good chance that you can pass it sexually.

Things You Need To Know About Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Commonly known as STDs, sexually transmitted diseases are passed when you have sex with an infected person. The sexual activities that can infect you with STD are ones that involve the penis, mouth, vagina or anus.

STDs need treatment as they are serious diseases. HIV is an STD that is deadly and incurable. By knowing more about STDs, you can learn ways to protect yourself from getting the following STDs:

  • Gonorrhea or the ‘clap’
  • Genital herpes
  • Syphilis
  • Genital warts/Human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Chlamydia
  • Hepatitis B


Most of the time symptoms will not show but if they do, they may include:

  • Severe itching near the vagina or penis
  • Warts, bumps or sores near the vagina, mouth, penis or anus
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Chills, aches, fever, pains
  • Redness or swelling near the vagina or penis
  • Foul-smelling discharges from the vagina. Discharges from the penis
  • Night sweats, weight loss, diarrhea
  • Pain during urination

Consult a doctor as soon as you show any symptoms so tests can be given to determine if you are positive for an STD. If placed under treatment, it can:

  • Help you recover and stay healthy
  • Help cure many STDs
  • Help you prevent from passing on the infection to others
  • Help relieve the symptoms of STD

Most STDs are treated with the use of either oral or injectable antibiotics. It has to be noted that even when you feel better, the complete course of antibiotics has to be taken. Your illness may be different from other people’s which means that you must never take medicines from someone else. This could make it hard to diagnose your illness. In the same manner, you must not also share your medications with other people.


Here are some of the ways to prevent or protect you from STDs:

  • The surest way from getting infected is to abstain from sex.
  • Correctly use a latex condom to all your sexual activities. A water-based lubricant is a better choice if you want to use some.
  • Avoid having multiple sex partners. The more sex partners you have, the higher risk you’ll have of getting STD.
  • Have a monogamous sexual relationship with only one sexual uninfected partner. Your partner should also have only you.
  • Choose your sex partners well. Do not engage in any sexual activity with the one you suspect may have an STD though just looking at a person is not a guarantee you will know if he or she is infected or not.
  • Get tested for STD. Avoid passing the infection to others.
  • Avoid using drugs or alcohol before engaging in sexual contact. The influence of alcohol or drugs may make you forget to use a condom during sex.
  • Learn more about the different signs and symptoms of STDs. Examine yourself and see if you have it or observe if your sex partners have it.
  • Read and learn more about STDs. You can better protect yourself when you know more about STDs.

How To Prevent Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is one of the most common STD or sexually transmitted disease that affects both men and women. Infections can be caused in the throat, genitals, and rectum. Among people aged 15-24, gonorrhea can be a very common infection.

During childbirth, a mother can pass on the infection to her newborn. Gonorrhea can also be acquired through oral, vaginal or anal sex with an infected person.


Abstinence is the best prevention against all sexually transmitted diseases.

If this is not possible, the following things can be done to lower the risk of getting infected with gonorrhea:

  • Use a latex condom for all sexual activities
  • Have a monogamous relationship with a non-infected partner

Risk group for gonorrhea

Unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex will always put you at the highest risk for acquiring gonorrhea.

An open and honest talk with a medical practitioner to ask about preventive measures and STD tests is one of the ways to prevent acquiring the infection especially if you are sexually active. If you are a man and is bisexual, gay, or engage in sex with other men, you should undergo annual STD tests. If you are a sexually active older woman with multiple partners or a new partner or you are 25 years old or younger that engages in numerous sexual activities, STD tests should be done annually to prevent being infected with gonorrhea.

If you are pregnant and also happen to be infected with gonorrhea, your baby will become infected as well upon birth. This will create serious health complications to the baby. Treating gonorrhea before giving birth will lessen the health complications to the baby.

Signs and symptoms

Most men do not show symptoms, but should there be, it will have the following:

  • Swollen or painful testicles
  • A burning sensation during urination
  • Green, white or yellow discharges from the penis

A lot of women do not display symptoms and if they do, it could often be mistaken for a vaginal or bladder infection. This poses a serious health threat which could possibly lead to widespread infection especially when a woman has multiple partners. The symptoms, if ever it occurs may include:

  • Pain felt in bowel movements
  • Vaginal discharges
  • Bleeding
  • Itching in the anal area
  • Soreness

A doctor needs to be consulted when you have these symptoms or if your partner is showing symptoms such as bleeding between menstrual periods, an odd sore, pain felt during urination and foul-smelling discharges.

Treatment and cure

The right treatment can cure gonorrhea. The key to eliminating the infection from your body is to strictly adhere to the prescribed medications which should never be shared with anybody. The medication will do away with the infection, but it will not be able to cure the permanent damage that has been done by the disease.

Some strains of gonorrhea are becoming harder to treat as they have developed resistance to antibiotics. Should your symptoms continue after a few days of treatment, you have to go back to your health care provider and submit to further tests and consultation.

Chlamydia Infection: The Silent STD

One of the most common bacterial STD or sexually transmitted diseases reported is Chlamydia. It affects more women than men. The bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis causes Chlamydia which can infect the rectum and urethra in men and women. In women, Chlamydia could infect the cervix. Sometimes other parts of the body can also be infected such as the eyes and throat. It is asymptomatic which means that it shows no symptoms, particularly in women. This causes serious health problems lasting a lifetime when left untreated. This also causes the spread of the infection as infected individuals unwittingly infect other uninfected sexual partner/s.

Signs and symptoms

Between the period of a week to 3 weeks after infection, Chlamydia symptoms may or may not appear which has given it the name of being a ‘silent’ infection. But if ever symptoms appear it may include:

In women

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • The inflamed cervix brings about abnormal discharges from the vagina
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse or pain during sex
  • Frequent urination with a burning sensation
  • Pain in the lower abdominal area


In men

  • Even when they are asymptomatic, men notice more symptoms than women
  • Stained underwear brought about by watery and cloudy or white discharges from the penis
  • Swelling and pain in the testicles
  • Pain or burning during urination


A Chlamydia infection in the anus will rarely show symptoms in both men and women.


The modes of Chlamydia transmission include:

  • Infection from the genitals to fingers to eyes may be one way of transferring the infection although this happens very rarely.
  • Unprotected sex with an infected person through oral, anal, and vaginal contact.
  • A vaginal birth from an infected mother to an uninfected baby.

Testing places

There are numerous testing places that can help you if you feel that you have been infected with Chlamydia.

  • Some countries have chemists and pharmacies that could offer self-help testing kits which allow an infected person to get his or her sample to be analyzed by the pharmacy.
  • Visit your own medical professional who can refer you to a testing center if their facilities do not carry testing procedures.
  • Sexual health clinics that are purposely set up to help people infected with STD.


Once the infection has been diagnosed, Chlamydia is easy to cure. A regimen of antibiotics is usually prescribed and taking them correctly will be effective in healing the infection.

If you happen to be allergic to the antibiotics prescribed or if you are pregnant, the doctor has to be informed right away so another mode of treatment can be done. Starting the course of prescribed antibiotics has to be maintained as interruptions may have to make you start from the beginning.

The doctor will be asking about any sexual contact that you had for the last 6 months. This is to give a chance to inform your sexual partner/s about the infection and the need for them to be tested and treated.

A check-up has to be done after the treatments have been completed to ensure that infection has been cured. Sexual relations can only be resumed once a negative result has been seen after the check-up.

Chlamydia Symptoms in Men and Women

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is particularly common among American women and men under 25 years of age which is transmitted through sexual intercourse. The body parts that it can infect are the throat, penis, eye, vagina, anus, urethra, and cervix. It is more common than syphilis and gonorrhea which affects around three million of the American population each year.

Chlamydia is an asymptomatic STD that infected people are unaware of when they have it – particularly women. 5 to 10 days after exposure, these are the symptoms, should they happen:


A strong-smelling yellow colored discharge from the cervix

Pain in the abdominal area

Vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse

Abnormal discharges from the vagina

Swelling around the anus or inside the vagina

Bleeding between periods

Frequency of urination

Slight fever

Burning sensation or pain when urinating

Painful sexual intercourse


Swelling around the anal area

Burning or pain during urination

Tender or swollen testicles

Milky or pus or watery discharges from the penis

One of the common symptoms of Chlamydia in both men and women is a bleeding and itchy anus which could lead to diarrhea and discharges. Discharges accompanied by itching and redness are the symptoms if Chlamydia has infected the eyes. Soreness of the throat will be experienced if Chlamydia has infected the throat.

The symptoms in men are milder and could only happen during the morning. This is the main factor for the widespread infection of Chlamydia. A consultation and check-up need to be arranged as early as possible with a healthcare professional should your partner or you experience the symptoms that have been listed. It is even more important to have treatment if you happen to be pregnant.

Health complications

Because of the asymptomatic nature of Chlamydia it can take a long time before an infected person gets tested and treated. This has led to serious health complications especially for women who may acquire pelvic inflammatory disease or PID which could lead to infertility.

Epididymitis is the serious health condition that men will acquire if Chlamydia is left untreated. It could cause infertility and sometimes lead to reactive arthritis which can develop disabling pain and swelling in the joints.

Chlamydia tests

The first symptom that a health care professional can see which could lead to a diagnosis of Chlamydia would be the discharges coming from the cervix. Other cell specimens that can positively identify Chlamydia would be taken from the anus, penis, and urethra. A urine test can also be another basis for diagnosing Chlamydia.



Once diagnosed, it is fairly easy to treat Chlamydia. There are single dose antibiotics that can clear up Chlamydia, but there are also treatment programs that will last for seven days. Your health care professional will know what will work best for your case.

Before resuming any sexual activity, both you and your partner needs to get an STD test. This is to avoid getting infected or re-infected. You will also be advised to return in 3 to 4 months for Chlamydia re-testing.

What are the chances of getting an STD : stats and figures

STDs, better known as sexually transmitted diseases, are one of the world’s major health problems. STDs such as HIV-AIDS have no known cure and acquiring one can put a stigma on the personal and social life of a person. A cure for certain kinds of STD can be possibly achieved as long as it is diagnosed early, with strict adherence to the recommended treatment. However, sadly, people would rather die than become known to have STD. Statistics since 1999 show almost 340 million adults have become impaired with STDs other than HIV-AIDS. The questions that beg to be asked are: Could everyone be equally affected by STDs? Who are more susceptible to acquiring STDs?

Geographical Location

Studies have shown that geographical location or lifestyle are just a few variables that can make a population more exposed to a certain kind of STD. A lot of other factors are wrapped in myth and this could become dangerous to the general health of a certain population. Looking at the STDs geographical spread on which a 1999 data is based, shows variables such as a region’s incidence of curable STDs and its assessed occurrence such as the 156 million adult populations in North America with its recorded 14 million cases. For 203 million population in Western Europe, a total of 17 million recorded cases. North Africa and the Middle East have a total population of 165 million, with 10 million cases. A recorded 22 million cases are recorded from the total population of 205 million for Central Europe and Eastern Europe. From the 269 million populations  of Sub-Saharan Africa, a total of 69 million cases are recorded. The South and Southeast Asia, at a population of 955 million with a reported 151 million cases show the most number of STDs. From the 815 million populations of Pacific and East Asia, 18 million cases are recorded. Based on these data, we now have an idea of the width and scope of STDs worldwide.

Unprotected Sex

Some people are more susceptible to STDs and this is determined by several factors, foremost of which is unsafe or unprotected sex. The chance of becoming infected with an STD is greatly reduced when a condom is used as barrier protection during sex.

Serial Monogamy

The highest risk group belongs to those having multiple sex partners. ‘Serial monogamy’, referring to people having successive sex partners are still susceptible to STDs.

Age And Occupation

Early sexual onset for people under age 25 is also another high risk and alcohol plays a part as well since inebriation could cloud a person’s judgment to sexual choice. Prostitutes or those who sell sex for drugs or money record the highest risk because of multiple partners and unsafe sex practices.

So after looking at all the data, it seems some people are more susceptible than others to getting an STD.

Types Of STD : What You Really Need To Know

There are different types, a total of 25 at last count, of STD and they all have one thing in common: they are easily transferred sexually. Other from sexual transference, the diseases can also enter the body through open wounds, body fluids sharing and exchanging, and shared needles.

Six of these STDs are believed to be the most prevalent which include genital warts, AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, Chlamydia, and herpes. Of the six mentioned, Chlamydia tops the list for being the most widespread. The spread of Chlamydia increases by the year and last count was detected cases of 3 million. Antibiotics can clear up Chlamydia if treated right away but if left too late may be one of the chief causes of infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Early onset of STD can cause symptoms such as genital sores, pain, and itchiness. In men, STDs can be manifested by signs such as penile discharges, pain while urinating, and testicular swelling and pain.

Most of the STDs are curable, but the scars they leave behind will be for a lifetime. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease can be a lifelong problem brought by STDs such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia. Cervical cancer or Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can be the effect of genital warts.

The sad truth is that there are incurable STDs, which can only be managed and treated, and they include Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Hepatitis B, and HIV. Early detection is always an advantage and it pays to take an STD test if you suspect or show signs and symptoms of having STD. Consulting a physician should be the first step who can recommend an STD test that could either be done at the clinic or laboratory. It goes without saying that all STD tests may not be reliable and accurate. That may be so, but it still stands a greater chance of giving an accurate result especially when there was an activity of casual sex or multiple partner sexual activity.

Should the test show positive, the immediate step would be the means and ways to get a cure, and if ever there is none for some STDs such as HIV and AIDS, the proper management should be discussed with the doctor. HIV for one has no known cure, but several cases of people infected with it have lived long and meaningful lives due to the right management of the disease.

It cannot be said enough that preventive measures are worth their weight in gold than a cure. A cure or right management may be able to delay the life-threatening effects of the virus, but the lifetime disability will be there. PID or pelvic inflammatory disease could not only bring pain but also one of the causes of infertility. Acquiring another disease like HPV as an effect from genital warts could be debilitating as well as depressing.

If abstinence could not be the reason to avoid STDs, the nest best thing would be is to use protective barriers every time there is sexual activity.