Symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease (STD)

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may cause many different symptoms in both women and men.

In women

  • A thick, discolored, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge. Symptoms may get worse over a period of several days to 2 weeks.
  • Pain, burning, or itching while urinating for longer than 24 hours
  • Fever
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain or a feeling of heaviness in the pelvis or lower abdomen
  • Itching, tingling, burning, or pain in the genitals
  • Sores, lumps, blisters, rashes, or warts on or around the genitals
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding after sexual intercourse
  • Other symptoms of an infection, such as fever, rash, fatigue or lack of energy, or swollen glands (lymph nodes)

In men

  • Painful urination. (This is often the first symptom.)
  • Fever
  • Cloudy urine
  • Abnormal discharge from the penis
  • Crusting at the tip of the penis
  • Sores, lumps, blisters, rashes, or warts on or around the genitals
  • Pain, swelling, or tenderness in the scrotum (epididymitis)
  • Itching, tingling, pain, or burning of the genitals
  • Deep pelvic ache (prostatitis)

These symptoms require medical attention. Avoid any sexual contact until you have been checked by your health professional.

Last Updated: December 11, 2008

Author: Jan Nissl, RN, BS

Medical Review: Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH - Family Medicine & Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease

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