If you are experiencing these STI symptoms, it is vital that you get checked out. Many STIs can be treated with a simple course of antibiotics, but you will need to get checked first for an accurate diagnosis.
If you have no symptoms
It is important to know that many people with STIs do not experience any symptoms. For this reason alone, it is well worth being regularly tested as part of an annual health MOT or if you have unprotected sex with a new partner. Remember that only condoms prevent the spread of STIs when you have sex.
Most women who have chlamydia – a very common STI – have no symptoms. Left untreated, it can lead to fertility problems. Similarly, with gonorrhoea cases, only 50 per cent of women have symptoms, compared with 90 per cent of men.
Typical symptoms when STIs are present include:
– Pain when urinating.
– Tingling, burning or itching in the genital area.
– Lumps, sores, spots or blisters in the genital area or around the anus.
– Tiny white dots or black powder in your underwear, which is a sign of pubic lice.
For women, other symptoms include a change in discharge (a green or yellow colour and a smell), bleeding after sex or between periods, pain during sex, and pain in the lower abdomen. For men, there can be a discharge from the penis and irritation when urinating.
If you have any of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have an STI; however, it is a good place to start. A testing service can also diagnose other conditions, such as thrush and bacterial vaginosis.
When it comes to STI testing in London, there are various options available. You can go to a clinic or order a home testing kit from a website such as https://www.checkurself.org.uk/order-a-test-kit/ or try other sexual health sites such as https://www.bexleysexualhealth.org/. The sooner you get tested, the sooner you can get any treatment you need and ensure the effectiveness of this treatment.
If you do have an STI – or suspect that you might have one – it is important to get treated quickly and to avoid all sexual intercourse until you have been tested and diagnosed. For women especially, even common and easy-to-treat STIs such as chlamydia can lead to more severe fertility problems if left undiagnosed and untreated.