- Infectious diseases
Risk factors (1)
- Teens and sex: Protecting your teen's sexual health
- STD symptoms: Common STDs and their symptoms
Tests and diagnosis (1)
- STD testing: What's right for you?
STD symptoms: Common STDs and their symptoms
Genital herpes symptoms
Genital herpes is highly contagious and caused by a type of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV enters your body through small breaks in your skin or mucous membranes. Most people with HSV never know they have it, because they have no signs or symptoms. The signs and symptoms of HSV can be so mild they go unnoticed. When signs and symptoms are noticeable, the first episode is generally the worst. Some people never experience a second episode. Other people, however, can experience recurrent episodes over a period of decades.
When present, genital herpes signs and symptoms may include:
- Small, red bumps, blisters (vesicles) or open sores (ulcers) in the genital, anal and nearby areas
- Pain or itching around the genital area, buttocks and inner thighs
The initial symptom of genital herpes usually is pain or itching, beginning within a few weeks after exposure to an infected sexual partner. After several days, small, red bumps may appear. They then rupture, becoming ulcers that ooze or bleed. Eventually, scabs form and the ulcers heal.
In women, sores can erupt in the vaginal area, external genitals, buttocks, anus or cervix. In men, sores can appear on the penis, scrotum, buttocks, anus or thighs, or inside the urethra, the tube from the bladder through the penis.
While you have ulcers, it may be painful to urinate. You may also experience pain and tenderness in your genital area until the infection clears. During an initial episode, you may have flu-like signs and symptoms, such as headache, muscle aches and fever, as well as swollen lymph nodes in your groin.
In some cases, the infection can be active and contagious even when sores aren't present.
Genital warts (HPV infection) symptoms
Genital warts, caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), are one of the most common types of STDs. The signs and symptoms of genital warts include:
- Small, flesh-colored or gray swellings in your genital area
- Several warts close together that take on a cauliflower shape
- Itching or discomfort in your genital area
- Bleeding with intercourse
Often, however, genital warts cause no symptoms. Genital warts may be as small as 1 millimeter in diameter or may multiply into large clusters.
In women, genital warts can grow on the vulva, the walls of the vagina, the area between the external genitals and the anus, and the cervix. In men, they may occur on the tip or shaft of the penis, the scrotum, or the anus. Genital warts can also develop in the mouth or throat of a person who has had oral sex with an infected person.
Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are all contagious viral infections that affect your liver. Hepatitis B and C are the most serious of the three, but each can cause your liver to become inflamed.
Some people never develop signs or symptoms. But for those who do, signs and symptoms may occur after several weeks and may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the area of your liver on your right side beneath your lower ribs
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Muscle or joint pain
- Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
Syphilis is a bacterial infection. The disease affects your genitals, skin and mucous membranes, but it may also involve many other parts of your body, including your brain and your heart.
The signs and symptoms of syphilis may occur in four stages — primary, secondary, latent and tertiary. There's also a condition known as congenital syphilis, which occurs when a pregnant woman with syphilis passes the disease to her unborn infant. Congenital syphilis can be disabling, even life-threatening, so it's important for a pregnant woman with syphilis to be treated.
These signs may occur from 10 days to three months after exposure:
- A small, painless sore (chancre) on the part of your body where the infection was transmitted, usually your genitals, rectum, tongue or lips. A single chancre is typical, but there may be multiple sores.
- Enlarged lymph nodes.
Signs and symptoms of primary syphilis typically disappear without treatment, but the underlying disease remains and may reappear in the second (secondary) or third (tertiary) stage.
Signs and symptoms of secondary syphilis may begin two to 10 weeks after the chancre appears, and may include:
- Rash marked by red or reddish-brown, penny-sized sores over any area of your body, including your palms and soles
- Fatigue and a vague feeling of discomfort
- Soreness and aching
These signs and symptoms may disappear within a few weeks or repeatedly come and go for as long as a year.
In some people, a period called latent syphilis — in which no symptoms are present — may follow the secondary stage. Signs and symptoms may never return, or the disease may progress to the tertiary stage.
Without treatment, syphilis bacteria may spread, leading to serious internal organ damage and death years after the original infection.
Some of the signs and symptoms of tertiary syphilis include:
- Neurological problems. These may include stroke and infection and inflammation of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Other problems may include poor muscle coordination, numbness, paralysis, deafness or visual problems. Personality changes and dementia also are possible.
- Cardiovascular problems. These may include bulging (aneurysm) and inflammation of the aorta — your body's major artery — and of other blood vessels. Syphilis may also cause valvular heart disease, such as aortic valve problems.
If you suspect you have an STI, see your doctor
If you suspect you have these or other STIs or that you may have been exposed to one, see your doctor for STI testing. Timely diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid or delay more-severe, potentially life-threatening health problems and to avoid infecting others.Previous page
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