STD symptoms in men might start with an itch, a burn or a drip. Whatever you may notice first, it can be a chilling experience and one that may be a major source of anxiety.
It’s never easy guys and we know that for a lot of people, the most appealing solution may be to ignore the problem, even if you know that something isn’t quite right.
- STD Symptoms In Men Explained
- Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Men
- Symptoms Of Gardnerella In Men
- Symptoms Of Gonorrhea In Men
- Symptoms Of Herpes In Men
- Symptoms Of Hepatitis A, B & C In Men
- Symptoms Of HIV In Men
- Symptoms Of HPV In Men
- Symptoms Of Mycoplasma In Men
- Symptoms Of Syphilis In Men
- Symptoms Of Trichomoniasis In Men
- Symptoms Of Ureaplasma In Men
- What Are The First Signs Of An STD?
- How Long Does It Take To Know If You Have An STD?
- STD Treatments For Men
- STD Testing For Men
STD Symptoms In Men Explained
STD symptoms in men can easily go under the radar, though men are more likely to experience symptoms than women. Whether you think you have an STD or you had sex with someone who you believe has an STD, there may be a lot of thoughts whirring around in your head.
We at LetsGetChecked totally get what you’re going through and that is why we are here to tackle the most common STD symptoms in men, paying a particular interest in the factors that indicate that you might need to take a test.
Here is the LetGetChecked quick fire STD table to help you decide what section of the article you need to focus in on.
If you are extremely worried that you 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.
In the majority of cases, STDs show no symptoms at all. This is why, and it almost goes without saying, you absolutely need to undergo sexual health screening on a regular basis.
STD symptoms in men can offer up a number of different variables but 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.
To get a full list which goes through everything you need to know about sexually transmitted diseases in men and women, read the LetsGetChecked STD List.
Some of the most common STD symptoms in men include:
- Pain or burning 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
In the next section, we will go through the STD symptoms that men are most likely to experience if they contract certain sexually transmitted diseases.
Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Men
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the world in men and women. There are 131 million new cases of chlamydia globally each year.
Chlamydia is a bacterial STD and is most commonly contracted through vaginal, oral and anal sex.
2 in 3 cases of chlamydia occur in those aged 15-24 years of age. The symptoms of chlamydia in men are often very hard to spot, in fact it is reported that approximately 20-25% of chlamydia cases in men go unnoticed.
Untreated chlamydia will not prevent a man’s ability to have children, as is the case with women. If left untreated, chlamydia in men can lead to an infection of the sperm duct, which can lead to pain or fever in the testicles.
The most common symptoms of chlamydia in men include:
- Painful urination
- Discharge from penis
- Lower abdominal pain
- Testicular pain
- Rectal pain, bleeding or discharge
- Prostate gland infection
Symptoms Of 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.
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.
Gardnerella, which is also known as bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a bacterial STD. It is not fully understood how you can contract gardnerella, though it is reported that the most common cases arise from WSW (women-who-have-sex-with-women.) It has been found that men may also pass the infection on to others.
Recent studies have found that men can’t get bacterial vaginosis, but they can carry gardnerella, though more research needs to be completed on this topic to fully provide answers on this topic.
It is recommended that men keep their penis and genital area clean, wear cotton underwear, and always use condoms to protect themselves from bacterial infections.
When it comes to symptoms of gardnerella in men, there really aren’t any specific symptoms of gardnerella.
Symptoms Of Gonorrhea In Men
Gonorrhea the second most common STD reported in men since 2017. 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. It was reported last year that there were more cases of gonorrhea in men than women.
Gonorrhea is a bacterial STD that is most commonly contracted through vaginal, oral and anal sex.
In recent years, a new strain of gonorrhea has emerged called “Super Gonorrhea”, this strain of gonorrhea is drug resistant and has become increasingly difficult to treat which highlights how necessary it is to get screened for gonorrhea on a regular basis.
Gonorrhea is most commonly reported in the under 25 age group and in the MSM (men-who-have-sex-with-men) community.
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 of the penis or testicles
- Redness or swelling at the opening of the penis
- A sore throat
Symptoms Of Herpes In Men
Herpes is a viral STD. Herpes cannot be cured once transmitted, however it can be managed well through the use of various medications that either work to prevent or shorten herpes outbreaks.
There are also antiviral medications that can be taken daily to lower your chances of passing the infection onto other sexual partners.
As always, we must mention that prevention really is the best cure when it comes to your sexual health.
Herpes is a viral STD that is most commonly contracted through vaginal, oral and anal sex. It is also possible to get herpes through kissing someone who is carrying the HSV I virus.
Herpes infections are most contagious when symptoms are present but can still be transmitted to others in the absence of symptoms.
1 in 6 people aged 14-19 years of age have genital herpes in the United States. HSV-I infection is much more common that HSV-II infection.
The most common symptoms of herpes in men include:
- Small bumps on the penis and/or anus
- Ulcers which make urination painful
- Oozing or bleeding from blisters
- Tenderness in the penis and/or anus
- Scabs on the penis and/or anus
- Sores on the testicles or scrotum
- Burning or itching at the point of sexual contact
- Pain in your lower back, buttocks and/or legs
Symptoms Of Hepatitis A, B & C In Men
Hepatitis is most commonly used to describe an inflammatory condition in the liver. Hepatitis may 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.
Hepatitis B is a viral STD that is most commonly contracted through vaginal, oral or anal sex as the virus is based through blood, semen and other bodily fluids.
Those who are living with hepatitis may not experience their symptoms for up to 6 months, while there are claims that the body may be able to fend on the infection itself, this is not something anyone should attempt as untreated hepatitis can eventually lead to liver damage and cirrhosis of the liver.
Worldwide, there are over 250 million people living with hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is highest in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia, where the prevalence rate is between 5-10%. Ireland and the Netherlands have the lowest rates of hepatitis B cases in the world.
The most common symptoms of hepatitis B in men include:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Dark coloured urination
- Feeling persistently feverish
- Aches and pains in the joints
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness and/or fatigue
- Yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes
Symptoms Of H.I.V. In Men
H.I.V. is the shortened version of human immunodeficiency virus. In 2016, it was reported that men accounted for 81% of all new H.I.V. diagnoses in the United States.
H.I.V. is a viral STD that is most commonly contracted through vaginal, oral and anal sex.
Left untreated, in the later stages of diagnoses, H.I.V. may develop into a condition called AIDS in which the immune system has been broken down to the point where it is too weak to defend against life threatening infections and cancers.
3 in 4 people living with H.I.V. are men. The most common male groups who will receive a H.I.V diagnoses in the MSM group are 1. Black/African American Men, 2. Hispanic/Latin Men and 3. Caucasian Men.
The most common symptoms of HIV in men include:
- Sore throat and/or swollen glands
- Painful mouth sores
- Lumps and bumps on your skin
- Weight Loss
- Oral yeast infection
Symptoms Of H.P.V. 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.
About 1% of sexually active men in the U.S. have genital warts caused by HPV at any one given time.
There are over 150 sub-types of HPV virus, some strains may lead to genital warts, whereas others can lead to a number of different cancers in both men and women. 90% of anal cancers in men are associated with HPV strains 16 and 18.
The symptoms of HPV can remain dormant for years making the virus hard to diagnose and treat, which is why it is so important to attend screenings on a regular basis.
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
- Penile cancer (high-risk strains of HPV)
Symptoms Of Mycoplasma In Men
Mycoplasma is an emerging bacterial STD. It has been reported that the side effects and health conditions caused my mycoplasma are more likely to affect men than women.
Mycoplasma is a bacterial STD that is most commonly contracted through vaginal sex and foreplay.
One of the most common side effects of mycoplasma in men is an infection or the urinary tract (urethritis), which can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms related to urination.
Mycoplama screening for men involves testing a urine sample, or a urethral/anal swb.
The most common symptoms of mycoplasma in men include:
- Itching or burning sensation when urinating
- Unusual drip or discharge from the penis
- Itching or burning during urination
- Physical inflammation, especially around the genitals
Symptoms Of Syphilis In Men
Syphilis is fourth on the list of the most common STDs. It is reported that syphilis is more common in men than women, though it does affect a significant number of men too.
Syphilis is a bacterial STD that is most commonly contracted through vaginal, oral and anal sex.
Syphilis is 1.5 times more commonly found in men than women, and it is most common in the 20-39 age group.
On average, it can take 21 days for the symptoms of syphilis to become apparent, however it can take up to 90 days for patients to notice symptoms.
The most common symptoms of syphilis in men include:
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. You can find out more about the incubation periods for all sexually transmitted diseases here.
The chancre or lesions on your skin generally heals within a few weeks of when it first appears. Following this, patients usually report a full body rash that starts on the hands and palms of your feet. Patients usually feel poorly at this point and report fever, headaches, and skin growths on the genitals.
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 accounts for this stage lasting 12 months or less. Late latent syphilis refers to this stage last over 12 months.
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 the brain, nerves, eyes, blood vessels, liver, bones and joints.
Symptoms Of Trichomoniasis In Men
Though trichomoniasis is more common in women than men, it may still affect men and 30% of those infected will not develop any symptoms for trichomoniasis.
Trichomoniasis is a parasitic STD that is most commonly contracted through vaginal, oral or anal sex.
Trichomoniasis can live in the penis, rectum and month for a number of weeks, the majority of men infected will not notice any symptoms.
Trichomoniasis in both men and women can increase the risk of getting or spreading other sexually transmitted infections. Most notably, it is reported that genital inflammation can make it much easier to spread and contract H.I.V.
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
Symptoms Of Ureaplasma In Men
Ureaplasma is a bacterial STD that is found in men and women’s urinary and/or genital tract. Ureaplasma is most commonly contracted via vaginal, anal and oral sex.
Strains of ureaplasma bacteria have been found in both men and women with infertility problems. Ureaplasma can cause infertility in men through hindering sperm mobility (movement).
If left untreated, ureaplasma may be associated with infertility, urethritis, meningitis and pneumonia.
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
What Are The First Signs Of An STD?
The first signs of an STD really depend on the type of STD that you have contracted. In a lot of cases, there are no simple definitions of “the first signs of an STD” due to the fact that most STDs do not have any symptoms.
We have listed the symptoms that you are most likely to experience if you have contracted an STD, but each case is unique, there are no guarantees that you will experience clear signs of an STD.
We recommend that you get a sexual health screening at least once a year. If you have had unprotected sex, you need to consider getting tested on a more regular basis.
How Long Does It Take To Know If You Have An STD?
How long it takes for you to know if you have an STD depends on the STD you have contracted, as well as the incubation period of that STD.
Read our article: “Can STD Symptoms Appear The Next Day?” to find out more about when you can expect STD symptoms to present themselves.
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 are from but in the next section, we will run through some of the most common treatments for STDs so you have an idea of what to expect if you do receive a diagnosis.
Chlamydia | Pharmacological Treatment
Treatment for chlamydia generally involves antibiotic therapy. Patients will require a once off dose of antibiotics, however, this also depends on symptoms.
Following your antibiotic treatment, you will not need to take a test for chlamydia again unless recommended by your practitioner.
Gonorrhea | Pharmacological Treatment
Treatment for gonorrhea generally involves antibiotic therapy. Generally, patients will require a once off round of oral antibiotics or antibiotics delivered through an injection. The method of receiving your antibiotics will depend on the severity of your symptoms.
It is important a repeat test is performed two weeks following treatment to ensure the infection has cleared up.
Trichomoniasis | Pharmacological Treatment
Treatment for trichomoniasis generally involves a single dose of antibiotics. These antibiotics can be taken orally. Symptoms may also be controlled using certain topical creams, although these will only offer symptomatic relief, they do not act as a cure.
Gardnerella | Pharmacological Treatment
Treatment for Gardnerella is unnecessary unless there are apparent symptoms. If patients are experiencing symptoms, they will need to undertake a short course of antibiotics.
Mycoplasma | Pharmacological Treatment
Treatment for mycoplasma generally involves antibiotic therapy. It is generally a one-off dose of antibiotics but this may vary depending on symptoms.
Ureaplasma | Pharmacological Treatment
Treatment is not necessary unless you are having symptoms and all other infections have been ruled out.
Antibiotic treatment may be recommended if you are having symptoms.
Herpes Simplex I (HSV-I) & Herpes Simplex II (HSV-II) | Pharmacological Treatment
Treatment for herpes generally involves antiviral medication for 3-5 days. In people who are experiencing recurrent outbreaks, we may put those patients on daily antiviral suppression medication.
H.I.V. | Pharmacological Treatment
Treatment for H.I.V. will depend on a number of variables including
· The patient’s age, their likelihood to transmit the infection onwards and whether they have concurrent illnesses such as Hepatitis B/C or varying cancers.
· The patient’s T cell count (or CD4 count.) If the cell count is< 350. Guidelines suggest starting medication. Medications are called highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART or ARVS for short.
The good news is that due to huge advances in HIV care, if the diagnosis is before the immune system has fallen too low and if the patient takes their HAART every day in the correct manner, their life expectancy is almost matched to that of a non-infected person.
Syphilis | Pharmacological Treatment
Treatment for syphilis generally includes 1-3 injections of long-acting penicillin depending on the stage of the infection ie. primary/secondary/tertiary. In cases of penicillin allergy oral antibiotics can be used through these are second-line treatment.
Hepatitis | Pharmacological Treatment
Treatment for hepatitis depends on the strain of the hepatitis virus that a patient has contracted.
For example, if a patient receives a hepatitis B diagnosis, the treatment will generally involve antivirals to suppress the virus.
If a patient receives a hepatitis C diagnosis, the treatment will generally involve a 12-week course of antibiotics to cure the virus.
STD Testing For Men
STD testing for men is thankfully widely available. If you suspect that you have an STD, or you simply want to get screened, you can go to your physician’s office, a sexual health clinic or you can take a sexual health screening test from the comfort of your own home.
You won’t be able to tell if you have an STD without taking a test, due to the fact that the majority of STDs don’t have any symptoms.
While you might have a sinking feeling or a sneaking suspicion, there is no real way to fully know whether or not you have contracted a sexually transmitted disease.
So how do you tell if you have an STD?
The best thing you can do for your health moving forward is to promise yourself that you are going to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases at least once a year. If you have had unprotected sex, you need to consider getting tested as soon as the incubation period has passed.
When it comes to getting tested, you should always consider getting tested if and when:
- You 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.)
The incubation period refers to the amount of time it takes for an STD to become reactive in your sample. You can find out everything you need to know about incubation periods here.
When it comes to testing for sexually transmitted diseases, you have two options. You can either go to your doctor’s office or you can take a test from home.
It doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to which method you choose, the most important thing is that you choose!
Let’s 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 do not 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.
The LetsGetChecked testing options allow you to track, monitor and improve your health when you don’t have time to stop. In this section, we are going to run through the best testing options that can cater to any budget.
The Simple Test: Our Basic Check Up
What Does It Test For?
Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are symptomless more often that not so early detection is key.
Though it is recommended that you would take a test that covers all infections, this test is useful for those who are on a tight budget, and for those who have perhaps been specifically told that their partner has a specific infection. (i.e. a previous partner has reached out to tell you that they have chlamydia.)
The Standard Test: Our Most Popular Test
What Does It Test For?
- H.I.V. (I, II P24 antigen)
The Standard Test is our most popular test and measures some of the most common STDs in the world.
The Complete Test: Our Most Comprehensive Overview
What Does It Test For?
- Herpes Simplex I (HSV-I)
- Herpes Simplex II (HSV-II)
- HIV (I, II, P24 antigen)
The Complete Test offers the most comprehensive view into your sexual health by also identifying bacterial infections that are often not tested for but certainly may cause a host of negative side effects and symptoms.
You should wait a minimum of 3 weeks from the time of sexual intercourse before taking your test, because STDs may take a period of time to become detectable, and you must wait to ensure an accurate result.
Our HIV test includes HIV I, II and P24 antigen, which provides for a shorter window period of 28 days.
We know that this can be an extremely stressful time, we understand what you may be going through and we are here to help in any way we can.
If you are 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