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These are the symptoms of the 6 most-common and painful STIs

Sexually transmitted infections or STIs can cause severe pain and you need to know their symptoms to know when to seek help.
Prevention is the only thing that can save you from STIs. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Nikita Bhardwaj Published: 25 Dec 2020, 06:00 pm IST
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When you’re experiencing a moment of pleasure, it’s hard to think about the consequences. We’re not just referring to getting pregnant but also ending up with a sexually-transmitted infection that can cause severe discomfort.

The thing is that STIs happen primarily because of a lack or absence of precautions. In addition, many people are not aware of it but even oral sex can lead to the transmission of infections. Hence, it is extremely important to take care of your safety when you’re having sex.

The body takes time to familiarize itself to the pathogen. In medical terms, it is known as the incubation time. So, you might not notice any symptoms right in the beginning. In fact, some STIs can take weeks and months before you observe that anything is wrong. Hence, you’ve got to be extremely alert about any STI signs if you’re sexually active.

We’re listing down 6 STIs and their initial symptoms to help you stay aware:
1. Chlamydia

Causes: Caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium, it can spread through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. It’s possible for pregnant women to spread chlamydia to their children during delivery, causing pneumonia or serious eye infections.

Incubation period: 1 to 2 weeks


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  • Painful urination
  • Vaginal discharge in women
  • Discharge from the penis in men
  • Painful sexual intercourse in women
  • Bleeding between periods and after sex
  • Testicular pain
oral sex
Even oral sex can give you STI such as Chlamydia. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.
2. Gonorrhoea

Causes: According to Dr Manisha Ranjan, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynecology at Motherhood Hospital, Noida, gonorrhoea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The bacteria get transferred during sexual activity.

Incubation period: Up to 2 weeks


  • Painful urination
  • Pus-like discharge from the tip of the penis
  • Pain or swelling in one testicle
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
3. Genital herpes

“There are 2 types of herpes simplex virus infections that can cause genital herpes – HSV-1 and HSV-2. The virus dies quickly outside of the body, so it’s nearly impossible to get the infection through contact with toilets, towels or other objects used by an infected person,” explained Dr Ranjan.

Have fun, but make sure to take care of your sexual health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Incubation period: 3 to 12 days


  • Pain or itching in the genital area
  • Small red bumps or tiny white blisters
  • Ulcers
  • Scabs
4. Genital warts

Causes: The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes warts. There are more than 40 strains of HPV that affect the genital area. Genital warts are almost always spread through sexual contact. Your warts don’t have to be visible for you to spread the infection to your sexual partner, and that’s a major cause of concern.

Incubation period: A month to a few years


  • Small brown or pink swellings on your genital area
  • A cauliflower-like shape caused by several warts close together
  • Itching or discomfort in your genital area
  • Bleeding with intercourse
5. Syphilis

Causes: “The cause of syphilis is a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. The most common route of transmission is through contact with an infected person’s sores during sexual activity. The bacteria enter your body through minor cuts or abrasions on your skin or mucous membranes. Syphilis is contagious during its primary and secondary stages, and sometimes in the early latent period,” explained Dr Ranjan.

Incubation period: A few weeks to a few years


Syphilis develops in stages, and symptoms vary with each stage. But, the stages may overlap, and symptoms don’t always occur in the same order. You may be infected with syphilis and not notice any symptoms for years.

6. Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Causes: It is a blood-borne, sexually transmissible virus (see the image below.) The virus is typically transmitted via sexual intercourse, shared intravenous drug paraphernalia, and mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) which can occur during the birth process or during breastfeeding.

Safe sex is the only way out! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Incubation period: 2 weeks to a month


  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache and joint pain
  • Rash
  • Sore throat and painful mouth sores
  • Swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck
  • Diarrhoea
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Night sweats

So, if you’re sexually active, make sure you’re practising safety and getting yourself checked regularly.

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About the Author

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content. ...Read More

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