Today, we’re taking a look at the most common STD symptoms men & women may experience. Generally, most sexually transmitted infections and diseases will affect men and women in similar ways. But if every infection was an equal-opportunity offender, that would actually create a far less complicated scenario for medical professionals! We’d have much simpler guidelines on what signs to look for. Unfortunately, each infection has its own set of symptoms. Some of these infections affect women differently than men.
STD Symptoms Women Should Be Especially Concerned About
On the whole, men sometimes have it easier when it comes to sexual health: certain infections can be more dangerous for female carriers. Sexually transmitted diseases can cause significant consequences when it comes to pregnancy. Women must take extra precautions to avoid passing infections to their children.
This article cannot possibly list all possible signs of infections in women. Instead, let’s briefly examine three of the most common infections, and the STD symptoms women need to be on the lookout for.
HIV and Women
HIV is still a top fear people have when it comes to sexually transmitted infections. In addition to the most common HIV symptoms, the infection can manifest in ways that are exclusive to women, including:
- Increased frequency of vaginal yeast infections
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- Severe pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- An increased risk of cervical cancer
- A pregnant woman may potentially pass HIV to her baby
Of course, the only way for a person to know for sure that they’ve been infected is through regular screenings for sexually transmitted infections. Screenings are even more vital if a woman is pregnant. HIV can be transmitted from a mother to her child during childbirth. The infection can also be transferred via breastfeeding. This is not a hopeless situation. The risk of transmission from mother to her child can severely lessen through careful treatment during regular pregnancy checkups.
Chlamydia and Women
Chlamydia is another major STI that can have unique consequences for women. Most of the symptoms of chlamydia may not be immediately visible. If they are detectable with the naked eye, they are often mild enough to be mistaken for a typical bladder or vaginal infection.
- A “burning sensation” while urinating
- An abnormal vaginal discharge that may have an odor
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Painful periods or bleeding between periods
- A fever
- Abdominal pain
- Itching or burning around the vagina
- Abdominal pain
If left untreated, the chlamydia bacteria can spread to the fallopian tubes and ovaries and, among other complications, potentially result in permanent infertility.
Herpes Simplex Virus and Women:
For the third infection we’re spotlighting today, let’s discuss genital herpes and how they can affect women differently. Below are some of the most common symptoms:
- Discomfort similar to a yeast, bacterial or bladder infection
- Sores in or around the vagina, vulva or urethra
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain while urinating
- Headaches, body aches or flu-like symptoms
Herpes is one more STD that pregnant women should keep an eye out for. This infection can potentially lead to miscarriage or premature birth. If passed on to the baby, HSV can also cause a potentially deadly infection called “neonatal herpes.” If you suspect you’ve been infected, prenatal checkups are an absolute must.
Further Reading: The Most Common STDs
As mentioned, some infections simply don’t come with easily noticeable symptoms. Women should be screened for a full spectrum of possible infections on a regular basis. Fortunately, testing is easier than ever before. myLAB Box offers test packages for a wide array of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, including the ones discussed in this article. You can use these tests from the comfort of your own home – any time and any place. Once you mail your results back in the pre-stamped return envelope provided in your test package, lab-certified results can be securely obtained online.
Here is a list of each of the infections that myLAB Box tests for, complete with a link to further information for each one:
To help make the testing process as simple and convenient as possible, myLAB Box offers a variety of test combos. Our Safe Box, Uber Box or Total Box test the four, seven or ten most common STDs, respectively.
Safe is Sexy
Engaging in any sexual activity can carry serious consequences for anyone who decides not to test for STIs. Using a condom can seriously reduce the possibility of contracting or spreading an infection. But the best defense of your sexual health will always be regular testing. Best yet, the two together can severely increase your safety. While most STDs are curable, leaving an infection untreated can have serious consequences. This is why it is especially important for us all to be on the lookout for common STD symptoms and to learn to listen to our bodies.
Reviewed by Luis Ferdinand M. Papa, MD, MHA
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