We all know that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are something we need to keep in mind once we become sexually active. It’s very important to learn how to practice safe sex, and how to recognize symptoms that could point to a possible STD.
It’s important to mention that some STDs can share similar symptoms, so it’s not always possible to identify the cause of the infection without getting tested. STD tests are a simple, accurate, and effective method to screen for STDs and get a precise diagnosis.
Let’s discuss what STDs can look like so you know the signs that you should watch out for.
Genital warts are caused by human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is very common; according to Planned Parenthood, most people who are sexually active will get infected by at least one strain of HPV at some point in their lives.
There are more than HPV strains, but not all of them cause warts. Some strains are more likely to cause warts and they’re considered to be low-risk, while high-risk strains can lead to various types of cancer over time. The strains that cause warts and cancer aren’t the same; however, it’s possible to become infected with different HPV strains simultaneously.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of HPV can include:
The most common cause of an STD rash is secondary syphilis. As mentioned above, the secondary stage of syphilis starts within weeks of the initial infection, and when the primary chancre heals.
According to the University of Michigan State Health, secondary syphilis is characterized by a rash that usually consists of small, reddish brown spots or sores that can be flat or raised. This rash can spread over different parts of your body, including the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. Additionally, you may see open sores on your mouth or other mucous membranes. The rash will usually heal on its own within two months without leaving scars.
Abnormal vaginal or penile discharge is one of the most common signs of different STDs. Some of the STDs that can cause abnormal discharge include:
Your lymph nodes are small structures that are part of your immune system and help fight infections. Lymph nodes can become swollen after getting an STD — especially nodes around your genitals or throat, in the case of orally-transmitted STDs. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the STDs that can cause swollen lymph nodes include:
As we mentioned above, many STDs can show similar symptoms, making it practically impossible to diagnose the right STD just by looking at the signs. It’s important to get tested so you can get an accurate diagnosis and start the right treatment right away. You can learn more about the best at-home STD tests at STDWatch.com.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) - plannedparenthood.org
Genital warts - mayoclinic.org
Chancroid - cdc.gov
Stages of Syphilis - uofmhealth.org
Chlamydia - my.clevelandclinic.org
Trichomoniasis - nhs.uk
Sexually transmitted disease (STD) symptoms - mayoclinic.org