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STD Symptoms in Women

STD Symptoms in Women

STD symptoms in women are varied. If there are symptoms, they usually take place at the site of intercourse. STDs spread through fluid, including vaginal fluid, semen, blood and saliva. Condoms are not fool-proof as such.

Plenty of these STDs show no symptoms in women. However, if some of these infections are left untreated, they can potentially affect fertility or increase the risks of cervical cancer. While these risks can be mitigated by practicing safe sex, it is still important to know the key symptoms of the most common STDs in women.

STD symptoms in women include vaginal pain, vaginal discharge to even pain during intercourse or abnormal bleeding. If there was anal sex or insertive or receptive oral sex, women can also experience pain on passing stool, discharge from the anus (back passage), throat pain, swollen tonsils and even a hoarse voice. However, the most uncertain symptom of all is no symptoms at all. This results in STDs silently spreading to one’s partner during sexual intercourse.

Most common STDs for women

Some of the most common STDs in women are:

  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – Most common cause of cervical cancer in women, and also the most common STD in women. There is a vaccine that addresses certain strains of this virus
  • Chlamydia – one of the most common bacterial STDs
  • Gonorrhea – another commonly found bacterial STD in women
  • Genital Herpes – 1 in 6 people between ages of 14 and 49 have this

Common symptoms of STDs

You should try to be aware of STD symptoms, so you can seek medical attention when needed. Here are some common STD symptoms to look out for:

  • Pain or burning during urination
  • A need to urinate more frequently
  • Blood in the urine
  • White, yellow or green vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal itching
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Abnormal bleeding in genital, anal or oral region
  • Rashes or sores around the genital, anal or oral region

The most common STD symptom in women however is vaginal discharge.

Vaginal Discharge: What’s Normal, And What’s Not?

Vaginal discharge is normal in small amounts. The vagina is a self-cleaning
environment, and discharge is part of the process.

However, some STDs can cause a change in the colour, texture, and
volume of discharge.

This is different from the usual clear vaginal discharge that women experience from time to time. This vaginal discharge is often thicker in consistency and can have varying colours white, yellow and even greenish. This discharge can accompany the presence of odour which may be pungent and sometimes fishy as well.

For example, people with chlamydia might not have many symptoms, but can produce pus-like vaginal discharge. Those with trichomoniasis can produce a foamy type of discharge that comes with a strong odour. A symptom of gonorrhea is yellowish or yellowish-green vaginal discharge, even though most people who contract it have no symptoms at all.

These are the more obvious STD symptoms in women. Some of the less obvious symptoms would be an increase in discomfort or even pain during sex. The less obvious symptoms can also be an increase in itch, pain when passing urine, urinary discomfort, pain at the lower abdomen, pelvic area.

Chlamydia symtopms in women

Other symptoms of STD in women include abnormal bleeding outside the usual menstruation periods.

More Symptoms

These can occur during sex or sporadically on its own. Bleeding from the vagina outside of regular menstruation is abnormal and may signify the presence of other gynaecological problems as well. But in the presence of a sexual history, it would not be possible to rule out a sexually transmitted infection.

Besides these symptoms of STD in women, other considerations for getting an STD test is to pick up any asymptomatic and symptomless STDs, preventing the infections from causing infertility or even organ damage.

Getting Tested

dtap express std clinic

Early testing and treatment with DTAP Express STD self-testing overcome awkwardness and stigma of speaking with a doctor. Self STD testing vaginal swabs, Self STD testing rectal swabs, Self STD testing throat swabs help to overcome the situation where there are no female doctors present but still give you peace of mind with accurate and fast results for early treatment.

Learn more about our STD testing & HIV testing in our Self STD Testing Clinic.

Test, know, treat.


Prevention might be more important than cure in the case of STDs. Here’s how you can protect yourself:

  • If you are sexually active, get regular STD screenings.
  • Have a Pap smear every 3 to 5 years, and find out if you need to be tested for other STDs. Where possible, get the HPV vaccination.
  • Whether you are engaging in vaginal, anal or oral sex, always use a condom, or other barrier methods, to protect yourself.

STDs and pregnancy

You can contract an STD while you are pregnant. Because many conditions don’t have symptoms, you can be living with an STD without knowing. For this reason, doctors may run a full STD panel at the beginning of a pregnancy.

While symptoms might not present, STDs can cause complications in pregnancy and may even be life threatening to you or your baby. Some may be transmissible to your baby during pregnancy or birth, so seeking treatment is essential.

All bacterial STDs can be treated safely with antibiotics during pregnancy. Viral STDS can be counteracted with antivirals, lowering the likelihood of transmission to the baby.

STDs and sexual assault

Some people will contract STDs due to a case of sexual assault. If a woman seeks medical aid immediately after sexual assault, the healthcare provider will attempt to obtain DNA and check for any injuries sustained during the assault. During this process, they can check for potential STDs.

If the person waited for some time before seeking medical care, they can still ask for an STD screening.

In this case, the healthcare provider may prescribe some, or all of the following treatment:

  • Antibiotics
  • Hepatitis vaccine
  • HPV vaccine
  • HIV antiviral medication

Post-diagnosis actions

There are some actions to take after being diagnosed with an STD:

  • Inform your sexual contacts that they need to get tested for STDs.
  • Avoid sexual contact until your doctor gives the green light. Make sure your STD is completely cured before you engage in sexual activity.

If you have concerns over any symptoms or are concerned that you have an exposure to an STD, make an appointment at one of our DTAP clinics for confidential and professional diagnosis and treatment.


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