STD symptoms in men may start with an itch, burn or a bump. Whatever you may notice first, the infection can sometimes bring with it a major source of anxiety - but, try not to be too hard on yourself; these things do happen and many STDs can be easily treated.

Some of the most common symptoms of STDs in men include:

  • Pain or a burning sensation during urination

  • Pain during sex

  • Abdominal pain

  • Bumps on the genitals or anus

  • Ulcers on the genitals or anus

  • Unusual discharge or drip from the penis

  • Testicular pain

If any of the above sound familiar, read on for the symptoms of some of the most common STDs in men which will give you an idea of if you should get tested.



STD Symptoms In Men: What You Need To Know


STD symptoms in men can easily be missed and go under the radar. Though, if you have a feeling that something really isn’t right, you need to get screened to rule out sexually transmitted diseases for the sake of you and your partner’s health moving forward.

In the majority of cases, STDs show no symptoms at all. This is why it’s so important to undergo sexual health screening on a regular basis.


Chlamydia In Men


Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the world in men and women. In 2019, the World Health Organisation reported that there are 127 million new cases of chlamydia globally each year [1].

The most common symptoms of chlamydia in men include:

  • Painful urination

  • Discharge from penis

  • Lower abdominal pain

  • Testicular pain

  • Rectal pain, bleeding or discharge



Gardnerella In Men


Gardnerella is recognized as an STD, though more often than not, the infection can be contracted by a disruption in the bacterial balance within the genitals or the overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria [2].

Most of us carry gardnerella at some point in our lives and it shouldn’t be any cause of great concern. Gardnerella is much more common in women than men, though men can also carry the infection.

Symptoms for gardnerella aren't specifically defined, so to ensure you have not contracted it, it may be best to take a test.


Gonorrhea In Men


According to the CDC, Gonorrhea has been the second most common STD reported in men for a number of years now [3].

Gonorrhea is sometimes referred to as “the clap” or “the drip” due to the fact that one of the greatest tell-tale signs of gonorrhea in men is an unusual discharge from the tip of the penis.

The most common symptoms of gonorrhea in men include:

  • Increased need to urinate

  • White, yellow, beige or green discharge or drip from the penis

  • Swelling/pain of the penis or testicles

  • Redness or swelling at the opening of the penis

  • A sore throat (infection after oral sex)


Hepatitis B In Men


Hepatitis is most commonly used to describe an inflammatory condition in the liver. And, although it’s not an STD, it can be contracted through sexual contact.

Hepatitis may also be an autoimmune condition (in which your immune system attacks your liver cells) or it can be caused by secondary causes such as alcohol consumption, drug use and certain medications.

The most common symptoms of Hepatitis B in men include:

  • Bleeding/bruising easily

  • Dark coloured urination

  • Itchy skin

  • Aches and pains in the joints

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea

  • Weakness and/or fatigue

  • Yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes


H.I.V. In Men


H.I.V. (human immunodeficiency virus) is one of the most common STDs in the world. In 2017, it was reported that men accounted for 81% of all new H.I.V. diagnoses in the United States [4].

The most common symptoms of H.I.V in men include:

  • Sore throat and/or swollen glands

  • Painful mouth sores

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Rash

  • Fatigue

  • Diarrhoea

  • Weight Loss

  • Shingles

  • Oral yeast infection


HPV In Men


Human Papillomavirus is so common that nearly all sexually active people will carry the virus at some point in their lives.

The side effects of carrying the virus will depend on the type of strain you are carrying. Benign strains of HPV may cause genital warts, whereas cancerous strains may lead to cancers of the throat, neck and genitals.

The most common symptoms of HPV in men include:

  • Warts on the penis, scrotum or anus

  • Warts on the back of the throat

  • Abnormal skin changes on the penis, scrotum or anus

  • In a small portion of men, HPV can cause various cancers


Mycoplasma In Men


Recognized as a cause of male urethritis, mycoplasma is a small bacteria found in the urinary tract [5].

The most common symptoms of mycoplasma in men include:

  • Itching or burning sensation when urinating

  • Unusual drip or discharge from the penis


Syphilis In Men


In recent years, it’s been found that the rate of syphilis has been increasing among MSM as well as heterosexual men and women [6].

The stages of syphilis in men include:

Primary Syphilis

The first symptom of primary syphilis is a sore, commonly known as a chancre. Generally, the sore appears at the point of intimate contact and where the bacteria penetrated the skin.

Chancres are painless most of the time, and can be hidden within the rectum or the lining of the penis, this is why it is so important to get tested within the incubation period of syphilis.

Secondary Syphilis

The chancre or lesions on your skin generally heal within a few weeks after it first appears. Following this, patients usually report a full body rash that starts on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. Patients usually feel unwell at this point and report fever, headaches, and skin growths on the genitals.

Latent Syphilis

There are no apparent symptoms during the “Latent Syphilis” stage, this is often referred to as the “hidden stage of syphilis.”

Early latent syphilis is referred to accounts for this stage lasting 12 months or less. Late latent syphilis refers to this stage last over 12 months.

Tertiary Syphilis

Tertiary syphilis occurs when symptoms return. The tertiary stage can take years to develop. It is often the period that follows the unsuccessful detection of syphilis.

Tertiary Syphilis can affect your organ systems - including the heart, the brain and the nervous system.


Trichomoniasis In Men


Though trichomoniasis is more common in women than men though it may still affect men and 30% of those infected will not develop any symptoms [7].

The most common symptoms of trichomoniasis in men include:

  • Itching or a burning sensation inside the penis

  • Itching or burning sensation during urination

  • Unusual drip or discharge from the penis


Ureaplasma In Men


Ureaplasma infection is caused by bacteria ureaplasma urealyticum and ureaplasma parvum. Ureaplasma infection is said to affect 1% of the global population [8].

The most common symptoms of ureaplasma in men include:

  • Burning or pain during urination

  • Frequent urination

  • Slow urine stream

  • Difficulty empty the bladder

  • Pain or itching during sex


STD Testing For Men


If you’re experiencing symptoms you should take an STI test and or/consult your doctor.

Some infections may not test positive until weeks after exposure so consider taking a broad test panel after at least 1 month to check whether the infection is now detectable.

When it comes to getting tested, you should always consider getting tested if and when:

  • You’ve become sexually active

  • You have had unprotected sex

  • You are experiencing symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection

  • You are entering into a new sexual relationship

You have received a notification from a previous partner that they are infected (STIs can remain dormant for years and/ or take up to three weeks to become detectable.)


Take a look at some of the LetsGetChecked STD testing options that allow you to take the test from home at a time that suits you.



With the LetsGetChecked tests, you don’t need to worry about taking time out of your busy schedule, having to visit a doctor’s waiting room or needing to speak with someone face to face.

Your results will also get to you within a week along with prescription options for certain infections.


STD Treatments For Men


STD treatments for men depend on the type of STD you have including the intensity of that STD.

In most cases, if you do receive an STD diagnosis, treatment will involve a round of antibiotics, antivirals and/or a topical cream.

The type of medication you receive may differ depending on where you’re from.

If you’re concerned that you may have an STD, you can contact us directly via live chat or schedule a call with one of our nurses who are here to offer your support and guidance at every step of the way.

Written by Dr. Dominic Rowley | Edited by Hannah Kingston


References

  1. World Health Organization. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Online: WHO.int, 2019

  2. Harvard Health Publishing. Bacterial Vaginosis (Gardnerella Vaginitis). Online: Health.Harvard.Edu, 2019

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gonorrhea. Online: CDC.gov, 2019

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV and Men. Online: CDC.gov, 2019

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines. Online: CDC.gov, 2015

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Syphilis - CDC Fact Sheet (Detailed). Online: CDC.gov, 2017

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Syphilis & MSM (Men Who Have Sex
    With Men) - CDC Fact Sheet. Online: CDC.gov, 2017

  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trichomoniasis - CDC Fact Sheet. Online: CDC.gov, 2017