April is National STD Awareness Month, a perfect time for the medical specialists at PGOMG to educate the public on symptoms that may be caused by sexually transmitted disease (STD), as well as when it’s necessary to get screened. When should you suspect that your symptoms are related to an STD?  There are seven major signs that may indicate that your discomfort is more than just a passing phase.

1. You had unprotected intercourse.

Contraception like the birth control pill or an IUD can prevent pregnancy, but it does not protect against STDs. Proper use of a condom during intercourse is incredibly important in order to prevent contracting an STD.

Do I need to get tested? Yes. Please contact your PGOMG provider immediately and request STD screening.

2. Intercourse is painful.

There are a few reasons why intercourse may be painful, and the presence of an STD is one of them. Intercourse is most often painful or uncomfortable due to gynecological changes, such as vaginal dryness, itching, or burning, all of which are common STD symptoms.

Do I need to get tested? Maybe. Your PGOMG provider can advise on whether STD screening is appropriate. Painful intercourse can be a sign of other underlying medical conditions, so even if you do not suspect an STD, it is still important to contact PGOMG if sex is painful.

3. You have discharge.

Some vaginal discharge is normal. If you never experienced discharge before, if your discharge is an unusual color such as green or yellow, if it has a strange odor, or if it’s completely odorless, it may be indicative of an STD.

Do I need to get tested? Maybe. Your provider can advise on whether STD screening is appropriate. Certain types of discharge can occur due to a yeast infection or other vaginal condition, but screening may be necessary as a precaution if your provider recommends it.

4. You are experiencing spotting.

There are a few reasons why spotting may occur between periods. Having an STD is a lesser known cause, but some women still experience spotting as a symptom of a contracted STD.

Do I need to get tested? Possibly. After discussing your gynecological, menstrual and sexual history with your PGOMG provider, he or she can advise on whether STD screening is appropriate.

5. Urinating is painful.

Pain, burning, blood in your urine, or more trips to the bathroom are all possible signs of an STD.

  • Do I need to get tested? Most likely yes. An underlying medical condition may be present, but your PGOMG provider may begin with an STD screening in order to rule out that possibility.

6. You developed a rash or a sore.

A rash or reddened irritation may indicate certain STDs. Sores, which appear as small pimples around the vagina, may also indicate an STD.

  • Do I need to get tested? Yes. It is likely that your PGOMG provider will recommend STD screening in order to diagnose the symptoms and map out an effective treatment plan.

7. You are experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding.

Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB), also known as menorrhagia or heavy menstrual bleeding, is a lesser-known symptom of some STDs. Women shouldn’t panic, though, as AUB is also a common gynecological condition that is treated with birth control, or in severe cases, surgery.

  • Do I need to get tested? Probably not at first. Your provider will determine if STD screening is appropriate after discussing AUB and after a full evaluation of your other symptoms.

If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact PGOMG to discuss your concerns with a doctor and to determine whether STD screening is needed.