Having an STD isn’t something you should feel embarrassed about. It can happen at any time and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It does mean you need to talk to your doctor as soon as possible, though. Signs of an STD are signs that you need to be heading into your gyno as soon as possible.
The good news is most STDs are very treatable. You shouldn’t scare yourself into waiting too long to go in to get treated. A lot of women wait and wait with very uncomfortable symptoms because they are scared. Sometimes this is because of sex education in schools and sometimes this is just because they don’t know any better.
School sex education can feel like a scary thing if you don’t have follow-up information after that. Since most programs are abstinence based they often focus on telling you STDs are horrid. It’s true that they aren’t a desirable thing but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed for life. Let’s take a look at 3 signs of an STD that you shouldn’t ignore.
1. Vaginal Discharge
Sometimes vaginal discharge is just a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. If you’ve dealt with those things before and you know that’s what’s going on, you can try an over-the-counter treatment at home. However, if your symptoms are different than normal, or this is your first time having them, it’s time to head to the doctor.
Your vaginal discharge could be a sign of an STD that needs medical treatment. It may be coupled with itching or it may just be a discharge that looks different or smells a little funky. These are all reasons you need to have a doctor help you figure out what’s going on.
You shouldn’t ignore the discharge in hopes that it will go away. Chances are the more you ignore it the worse it’s going to get. The good news here is that your doctor is used to seeing this kind of thing. They’ll have answers for you and help you find the right treatment quickly. They’re there to help, so let them.
2. Painful Urination
This symptom can range in severity and what it feels like. You might be expecting it to hurt in your urethra because it’s called painful urination. The truth is this can be any kind of pain while you’re urinating. That includes burning or pain in the vulva area that is irritated by urine.
You’ll know you have this symptom when you feel it. If you start to urinate and then jump because it hurts, that’s painful urination. It’s time to talk to a doctor. Make sure to mention that you are having painful urination so they know what to test for.
Some STDs are more likely to cause painful urination than others. It’s good for the doctor to know which symptoms you have and which ones are more bothersome. It will help steer them in the right direction and may cut down on the time you spend in the dreaded stirrups too.
3. Frequent Urination
Some STDs make your abdomen feel swollen and others can irritate your urethra. Both of those things can cause frequent urination. If you don’t usually pee all the time and you notice that now you’re going every 10 minutes, that’s a change your doctor needs to know about.
Frequent urination can be a sign of several medical issues so it’s good to get that checked even if you think you don’t have an STD. To help your doctor figure things out, you’ll need to be ready to talk about your sex life. Mention any new partners, mention any changes that might’ve taken place, and be ready to talk about the last time you had sex.
This is all info they need even if it feels a little uncomfortable at first. Your doctor isn’t asking these questions to judge you. They’re asking because they need this information to make an informed decision about what might be going on. They’ll likely need a urine sample so be ready to give on.
This sample can help them figure out if you have an STD or if it’s just a UTI. Both of those things need treatment but one may need a different treatment from the other. Just be truthful with your doctor and answer the questions honestly. You’re helping yourself by helping them with the right information.
A Few Final Thoughts On Signs Of An STD
The signs of an STD are many and varied. If you think something is up, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Don’t let shame or fear hold you back. Your doctor wants to help, not judge you.
They’re there to answer questions and help you figure out how to avoid an STD in the future. Be honest with them so they can give you the best treatment possible and get you back to feeling like the fabulous person you are!
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.