Answers to the 9 Most Googled Questions about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

An analysis of the most popular sexually transmitted disease-related searches was pulled together and a list of the top 9 most commonly Googled questions were answered by Dr Seth Rankin, founder of London Doctors Clinic, a leading provider of STD checks.

  1. What are the symptoms of herpes?

Symptoms of herpes tends to become ostensible a few days after infection. General symptoms may include small painful blisters or sores associated with painful urination, says Dr Rankin. These sores tend to last for around 10 days, and the first attack tends to be the worst. The doctor adds that symptoms usually lay inactive most of the time, however, can be triggered by a low immune system.

READ ALSO: Anal Herpes

  1. How can I cure herpes?

There is currently no cure for herpes, however, the symptoms can often be managed through the use of antiviral medicines, says Dr Rankin.

READ ALSO: Genital Herpes: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

“Some doctors recommend keeping the affected area clean during outbreaks, applying an ice pack, Vaseline and not wearing tight clothes to ease discomfort and the symptoms. Also, drink plenty of water to dilute the urine and ease any discomfort while passing fluids,” says Dr Rankin.

  1. What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is the most common STI, and is spread through unprotected sex, says the doctor. It is most common in sexually active teenagers and young adults. It’s recommended that those under 25 and who are sexually active are tested for the STI annually, due to the symptoms not always being present.

READ ALSO: Urinary Tract Infection, UTI: All You Need To Know

  1. What are the symptoms of chlamydia in women?

In most cases, women don’t experience any symptoms of chlamydia, which is why Dr Rankin advises that it’s essential to frequently visit your doctor for checkups. Symptoms can present in some cases, these can include; pain or burning sensation while passing out urine, vaginal discharge, abdominal pain, heavier bleeding during periods and bleeding between period or after sex. Women may also experience pain in their lower abdomen during or after sex.

READ ALSO: Chlamydia Infections

Chlamydia is easily diagnosable, through a simple urine test, and can be treated with a course of antibiotics. The doctor added that chlamydia should be treated early to prevent potential long term issues.

  1. What are the symptoms of gonorrhoea in women?

There are often no symptoms to indicate the presence of gonorrhea, but when it does, symptoms tends to be similar to those of chlamydia. “However, the vaginal discharge is often in a higher abundance and can be either yellow or green in colour,” explains Dr Rankin.

READ ALSO: Gonorrhea: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

The infection can be identified through a swab or urine test and can be treated with antibiotics, although it’s getting harder with time because the bug is developing resistance.

  1. Why am I feeling pain during sex?

Several reasons could be responsible for pain during sex, it may not be directly connected to an STI. The primary reasons may include but are not limited to:

Vaginal dryness: This could be caused by childbirth, breast-feeding, stress or certain medications. This can be solved by lubrications.

Vaginal infections: the most common are Bacterial Vaginosis or yeast infections. These can usually be identified by a discharge, itchiness or a burning sensation or painful sex. If you notice any of these symptoms make an appointment with your doctor for a full diagnosis.

STIs: Sexually transmitted infections can lead to painful sex. Infections like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, genital warts or herpes sores could cause irritation or pain during sex, so if you experience any discomfort, see your doctor.

  1. How do I treat genital warts?

There are two main ways to treat genital warts; topical treatment and physical ablation.

Topical treatment: This method of treatment is through the application of creams, lotions or chemicals directly to the warts. This form of treatment often works better on softer warts and for some people can take several months to completely remove the warts. In some cases, a combination of these topical treatments is needed.

Physical ablation is used for harder and tougher warts and works by destroying the wart tissue. It can be applied through a variety of methods, including laser removal, freezing, burning, or excision (cutting the wart away).

While having these treatments, avoid using scented soaps, bubble baths or lotions, as these can cause skin irritations” says Dr Rankin.

  1. What is gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is a bacterial STI sharing many similarities to chlamydia and is passed on through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex,” explains Dr Rankin. “The symptoms don’t always present, with around 50% of women not experiencing any symptoms. The bacteria can infect the cervix, and therefore if you are pregnant it is recommended to be tested before giving birth as it can be passed onto your baby.”

  1. What are the symptoms of STDs?

There are usually no symptoms associated with many STDs, therefore it’s vital to regularly visit your local sexual health clinic or GP,” says Dr Rankin. While there’s no universal STD, there are some symptoms which may include:

  • Cloudy vaginal discharge
    • Pain or a burning sensation while urinating
    • Heavy bleeding during your period or bleeding between periods
    • Sores or blisters
    • Warts or small fleshy bumps
    Vaginal itchiness, irritation or a rash
    • Pain and/or bleeding during or after sex


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