Important COVID-19 Updates: Office Guidelines | Vaccine and Pregnant Women

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

13 Subtle Symptoms of STDs

By Dr. Robert Wool

Preliminary data from the CDC indicates that syphilis cases in the United States continued to rise last year, continuing an upward trend for many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Because many of these infections have no obvious symptoms in the early stages, understanding your risk factors and the subtle symptoms of STDs is important to protect your health.


Take Note

Here are 13 symptoms that could be early signs of an STD:

1.    Burning during urination (chlamydia or gonorrhea)

2.    Red bumps on genitals (herpes)

3.    Green discharge with a foul odor, irritation and painful sex (trichomoniasis)

4.    Skin rash on the hands and soles of feet (syphilis)

5.    Vaginal bleeding and spotting between periods (chlamydia or gonorrhea)

6.    Anal soreness, itching or bleeding (gonorrhea, herpes, HPV, genital warts, chlamydia or syphilis)

7.    Abdominal pain or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the female reproductive organs usually resulting from sexually transmitted bacteria

8.    Painless ulcer or sore (called a chancre) on the mouth or genitals (syphilis)

9.    Sore throat (oral STDs including HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia or herpes)

10.  Fatigue with a fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and/or joint pain (hepatitis B)

11.  Pain during sex

12.  Blood in the urine or bowels after intercourse

13.  Painful bowel movements (gonorrhea)


Protection, Not Panic

One of the challenges with STD symptoms is that they are not always present or obvious, and can also indicate a broad range of other conditions, such as a cold or flu for sore throat pain or a urinary tract infection for burning during urination. 

If you experience any of these symptoms, there’s no need to panic. But if there is a chance you may have been exposed to an STD, make an appointment for testing. Many STDs can be treated with antibiotics, but undiagnosed infections will worsen and can pose serious health threats. With the exception of a sore throat, you should see a health care professional for any of the symptoms above, whether to rule out an STD or determine another cause.

We also encourage you to talk with us about prevention strategies, such as the HPV and hepatitis B vaccines or the use of condoms. If you are sexually active, make annual STD screening and timely treatment part of your routine health care. There is no need to feel embarrassed about talking to us about your concerns; our goal is to work with you to ensure your health. If you have any questions about STDs or need testing, call us for an appointment.