Sexually transmitted infections

Friday, September 19th, 2014 No Commented
Categorized Under: Health care, Infections

Symptoms and Signs of an STI

If you are sexually active and notice any of the following symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Pain or a burning sensation while urinating
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Itching or irritation in the genital area
  • Any unusual discharge from your penis
  • Pain or discomfort in the genital area
  • A rash on the skin or genitals
  • Soft, cauliflower-like bumps or blisters on genital areas
  • Swollen glands, with or without sore throat and fever
  • Red bumps that turn into painful blisters or sores on the penis, buttocks or thighs
  • Severe fatigue, aches and pains, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, darkening of urine, abdominal tenderness, or yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (called jaundice)
  • Unexplained weight loss, flu-like symptoms, persistent fevers, night sweats, headaches
  • Blood in your urine or faeces

Remember, not all STIs have symptoms. Men often have no symptoms. Because of this fewer men seek treatment, and many are carriers without even knowing it. People who have no symptoms can still have an STI and can spread it to others.

Getting Tested

If you have symptoms that suggest an STI or if you have had unprotected sex, do not delay to get yourself checked out. This can be done confidentially by your own family doctor, or alternatively you can go to an STI clinic.

The sooner an STI is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chance of it being properly treated without complications. It is also important to alert your partner, as they need to be examined and treated if necessary. Diagnosis usually involves analysis of swabs taken from any unusual sores or discharge. In some cases a urine or blood test is also required. Do not be embarrassed; it is worse to live in ignorance than to put your own long-term health and that of your partner at risk.

STIs in Men – The Not So Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly

  • Genital warts
  • Crabs (pubic lice)
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Syphilis
  • Genital herpes
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV/AIDS

Genital Warts

This is the most common STI in Ireland. Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a cousin of the virus that causes hand warts. Genital warts are highly contagious and can have a very long incubation period, meaning they may not appear for up to a year after exposure. Genital warts in themselves are not a serious infection in men but they may indicate the presence of other STIs, which must be screened for and appropriately treat-Infection with the human papillomavirus is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women. Therefore wearing a condom can not only protect you against acquiring sexually transmitted infections but can also potentially protect your partner against cervical cancer.