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Common STI symptoms in men

All HOMED-IQ content is reviewed by medical specialists

STIs can cause a range of symptoms in men, from itching, burning, or unusual discharge. Furthermore, many STIs have similar symptoms which can make it difficult to know which one you have. No matter what the cause or diagnosis, try not to panic- most STIs are highly treatable and can be easily diagnosed with a simple urine or blood sample, such as with Homed-IQ’s home STI tests. The most important thing is recognizing the symptoms and getting prompt testing and if needed, treatment. Are you curious to know the most common symptoms that men may experience for various STIs? Read on to learn more.

Chlamydia 

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in Europe and can be transmitted through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Many people who have chlamydia have no symptoms at all, or may only experience symptoms a few weeks or months after infection. When present, the most common symptoms of chlamydia in men are:

  • Pain during urination
  • Fever (occasionally)
  • Discharge from penis
  • Pain or swelling in testicles
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

Easily test for chlamydia from home using Homed-IQ’s Chlamydia Test.

Gonorrhea 

Gonorrhea is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium and can infect the throat and urethra in men. It can be transmitted by vaginal, oral, or anal sex and is one of the most common STIs. Symptoms of gonorrhea in men include:

  • Pain or swelling in the testicles
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Pain during urination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

Trichomoniasis 

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. In men, it usually infects the penis and is spread through any sexual contact. Many people do not experience any symptoms from this STI and do not know they are infected. However, it is easily treatable with antibiotics. If trichomoniasis causes symptoms, they include:

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Redness and/or itching and irritation in or around the penis
  • Painful urination

Syphilis 

Syphilis is a bacterial infection spread by oral, anal, or vaginal sex, and can infect the penis, anus, or throat areas. Syphilis often does not cause any symptoms, although in the initial stage of infection it may cause a lesion (chancre) at the location where the syphilis entered the body. Although syphilis is easily treated with antibiotics, it can cause serious inflammation and eventually organ damage if left untreated. Symptoms of syphilis in men are:

  • Skin lesions
  • Non-itchy skin rash
  • Fever
  • Swollen glands
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Issues with vision
  • Hair loss 

HIV

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that affects the body’s immune system. The virus is present in blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk, and can be contracted if these fluids enter your bloodstream. HIV is most commonly transmitted through anal or vaginal sex or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment. You may not notice any symptoms of HIV other than a short flu-like illness a few weeks after being infected, without any further symptoms for months or years. However, over time your body’s immune system will decline, making you susceptible to many types of illnesses. Although HIV is not curable, antiretroviral treatment allows those living with it to lead normal lives and not pass the virus to others. The most common symptoms of HIV in men include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Night sweats
  • Swollen lymph nodes (mainly in the neck)

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a liver infection that is transmitted through infected body fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or breast milk). Like HIV, hepatitis B is spread when infected body fluids can enter the bloodstream, such as through small tears in the genitals during sex, childbirth, or contact with used needles. Many people who have hepatitis B will have no symptoms or mistake them for a cold or flu. Symptoms of hepatitis B in men are:

  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Nausea and vomiting

Herpes 

Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and is spread through any skin-to-skin contact with skin lesions, including kissing and vaginal, oral, and anal sex. HSV is categorised into two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is primarily transmitted by oral contact and can cause oral herpes, more commonly known as cold sores. HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted infection that almost exclusively causes genital herpes through genital to genital contact. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections can be asymptomatic and many people don’t know that they have it. When present, an initial outbreak of symptoms can occur 2 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. Sores from HSV occur where the infection enters your body. Symptoms in men include:

  • Small red bumps or blisters around the genital area or mouth
  • Swelling in the groin, neck, or under the arms
  • Tingling sensation in the genital area or mouth
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble urinating

Interested in testing for all of the above STIs using the same analysis methods as used by STI clinics or GPs? Try Homed-IQ’s STI Test Comprehensive.

Experiencing potential STI symptoms or being told to get tested by a past sex partner can be nerve-wracking. However, testing and getting treatment for STIs doesn’t need to be difficult. Homed-IQ aims to make the STI testing experience as comfortable as possible. Simply order a test online and have it delivered to your door in discreet packaging. Take your sample from the privacy of home and mail it to our certified laboratory using the prepaid shipping box. Your results will be available in a few days

About the Author

Lauren Dobischok

Lauren is a health scientist and science communicator living in the Netherlands. She has completed a Research Master in Health Sciences at Erasmus University Rotterdam’s Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences (NIHES) with a specialization in epidemiology, and a B.Sc. in Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. With a background in public health, her goal is to create accurate scientific content that is easy to understand and enables people to make informed decisions. Within Homed-IQ, Lauren serves as Product Developer and Content Lead, working closely with medical doctors and medical device scientists on Homed-IQ’s new products and written communications.