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What are the Common & Deceptive Symptoms of STDS

December 16, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

If you're feeling a little under the weather, don't immediately blame it on the flu. Several flu-like symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are disguised as common body aches and pains. Read this list if you're sexually active and experiencing some common symptoms that may appear to be allergy, cold, or flu symptoms, but they could be disguised STD symptoms. So, if you have any of these symptoms, please get tested as soon as possible!

Although these symptoms aren't generally linked to STDs, they may suggest that an STD has advanced and is now creating trouble in your body. Many of these symptoms are caused by viral infections or chlamydia and gonorrhea, both of which are infamous for being asymptomatic (not causing symptoms) in their early stages. Please don’t wait until it's too late; any sign might not be what it appears to be.

Common STD Symptoms

Bleeding between periods: It could indicate that you have late-stage chlamydia or gonorrhea infection. Both can infect the uterus, producing inflammation and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) if left untreated.

Discharge: If you have a discharge from your penis, vagina, or anus, it could be an indication of an STD as it is one of the most common symptoms of gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis, and vaginal thrush. Basically, if anything is dripping when it shouldn't, you should have it checked out.

Sores, warts, lesions, and lumps: You should be tested right away if you have any lesions, sores, lumps, or warts on your genitalia. These are the first signs of syphilis, herpes, HPV, and HIV, among other STDs. Don't ignore sores, even if they aren't painful or only last a few days; in some cases, sores are the only sign of an STD!

Painful/ frequent urination: Frequent or painful urination is a sign that something is wrong. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, herpes, and urinary tract infections (UTIs) are all conditions that cause frequent or painful urination. Please don’t wait for the symptoms to go away on their own and get tested immediately. 

Itching: Chlamydia, genital warts (HPV), herpes, trichomoniasis, pubic lice, and gonorrhoea can all cause itching. Using talcum powder in your underwear will ease the symptom but not cure the disease.

Painful intercourse: Painful sex should be a red flag that something isn't right. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and herpes are the most prevalent STDs that induce pain during sex. You should get tested on an urgent basis if you're experiencing pain during intercourse.  

Deceptive Symptoms of STD

Fatigue: It's a symptom of chlamydial or gonorrheal infection in its late stages. Hepatitis A, B, and C can also cause it. It's easy to ignore fatigue resulting from a late-night out, but it could be a sign of something much more serious.

Fever: Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis A, or herpes can all cause it. Fevers always suggest that your body is attempting to fight an infection, but many individuals are unaware that the infection could be the consequence of an STD rapidly spreading.

Nausea and Vomiting: They are symptoms of Hepatitis A, Hepatitis C, syphilis, and HIV. It's a pretty sure way to spread the virus and allow it to penetrate deeper into your system if you believe you've eaten something unpleasant or that you have the flu, and your body will take care of it.

Headache: HIV, syphilis, or herpes can all cause them. It's easy to ignore headaches. You take ibuprofen and get on with your day most of the time. It’s not always that simple, and if you have a headache, you may be at risk of having an STD!

Abdominal Pain: A chlamydial or gonorrheal infection that has developed can cause abdominal pain. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is caused by late-stage chlamydia and gonorrhea infecting the pelvis (PID). PID can cause long-term pelvic pain, infertility, tubo-ovarian abscess, or ectopic (outside the womb) pregnancy if left untreated.

Lower back pain : It indicate chlamydia, gonorrhoea, or herpes prodrome. Herpes prodrome is a physical pain that indicates the onset of a herpes outbreak. Lower back, thighs, butts, knees, and feet are all possible sites for pain. Herpes prodrome also denotes a period in which you're most likely to spread the virus. However, even if you don't have herpes lesions, you are still at risk of spreading the virus.

Joint Pain:  could indicate Hepatitis B, syphilis, or HIV infection that has gone untreated, or it could be a symptom of gonorrhea or chlamydia. Gonococcal Arthritis or Venereal Arthritis occurs when gonorrhea or chlamydia causes joint pain. When gonorrhea or chlamydia goes unnoticed, the bacteria affects one or more joints, causing reactive arthritis. If left untreated, this arthritis can cause chronic joint discomfort, chronic joint inflammation, permanent joint damage, and deformity.

Sore Throat: Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, or herpes can cause a sore throat. Following oral intercourse, any of these diseases might cause pharyngeal or throat infections. A sore throat is often overlooked as a minor irritation, but it should not be taken lightly.Be aware of the risks that may be lurking if you're experiencing problems swallowing or have a persistent sore throat.

Swollen lymph nodes: Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes, and HIV can all cause swollen lymph nodes.

Swollen testicles: Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are the most common causes of swollen testicles, often known as "orchitis." Orchitis is caused by bacteria spreading via the bloodstream. It's characterized by pain in one or both testicles, which may turn purple or red in color, feel heavy, and may have blood in the semen. 

Eye Infection: STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can lead to eye infections. These infections can occur either due to the STD or secondary exposure to it. These rare kinds of conjunctivitis can cause partial or total blindness if left untreated.

Body Rash: Although a body rash isn't commonly linked with STDs; however, HIV and Syphilis can cause rashes that can emerge on any part of your body. You should get tested if you get a new rash following unprotected sex.

Diarrhea: Diarrhea is never fun, and while it's usually a sign that something is wrong, your first assumption might not be that you've picked up an STD. Chronic diarrhea can be caused by HIV, while chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes can also cause diarrhea and painful bowel movements.

The signs and symptoms of STDs aren't always clear. What you think are flu-like symptoms could be signs of an STD. Allowing yourself to be a victim of disguised STD symptoms is not a good idea. Protect yourself and your partner(s) by getting tested if you suspect you have an STD. Order Std tests on Cura4u.


Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on April 20th, 2023.



Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Information from CDC-https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (who.int)- https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis)

Sexually Transmitted Diseases- https:// Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Types, Symptoms, Treatment (healthline.com)

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