Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have a range of signs and symptoms. That's why they may go unnoticed until complications occur or a partner is diagnosed. Signs and symptoms that might indicate an STI include:
- Sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area
- Painful or burning urination
- Discharge from the penis
- Unusual or odd-smelling vaginal discharge
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Pain during sex
- Sore, swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the groin but sometimes more widespread
- Lower abdominal pain
- Rash over the trunk, hands or feet
Signs and symptoms may appear a few days to years after exposure, depending on the organism.
When to see a doctor
See a doctor immediately if:
- You are sexually active and you believe you've been exposed to an STI
- You have signs and symptoms of an STI
Make an appointment with a doctor:
Aug. 19, 2014
- When you consider becoming sexually active or when you're 21 — whichever comes first
- Before you start having sex with a new partner
- Sexually transmitted infections: Overview. Womenshealth.gov. http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/sexually-transmitted-infections.html. Accessed June 15, 2014.
- Overview of sexually transmitted diseases. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious_diseases/sexually_transmitted_diseases_std/overview_of_sexually_transmitted_diseases.html. Accessed June 23, 2014.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs110/en/. Accessed June 23, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Markle W, et al. Sexually transmitted diseases. Primary Care: Clinics Office Practice. 2013;40:557.
- Hunter P, et al. Screening and prevention of sexually transmitted infections. Primary Care: Clinics Office Practice. 2014;41:215.
- New guidelines for cervical cancer screening: Patient education fact sheet. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Womens-Health/Cervical-Cancer. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Swygard H, et al. Screening for sexually transmitted infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Hay WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 21st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=497. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59:1. http://www.cdc.gov/sTD/treatment/2010/default.htm. Accessed June 21, 2014.
- Partner services FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/partners/faq-public.html. Accessed June 23, 2014.
- Preexposure prophylaxis for the prevention of HIV infection in the United States — 2014 clinical practice guideline. Atlanta, Ga. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/guidelines/PrEPguidelines2014.pdf?elq=0a349f52dfa74f48ae554056bc0e027e&elqCampaignId=8040. Accessed May 16, 2014.