There are many STIs, each with their own set of symptoms that can range from embarrassing to life-threatening. In some cases, STI symptoms may not be present at all for a length of time, but if you had unprotected sex then you are still at risk and you could be putting your partner at risk as well. Many people often put off the doctor visit because they feel embarrassed or because they want to remain ignorant of the diagnosis. The truth is that there is no need to feel embarrassed. Your doctor has already seen and heard it all because STIs are actually very common. Millions of STIs are reported in the United States every year. If you put off a visit to the doctor, your symptoms could get worse and even lead to fertility issues. Additionally, you could be infecting other people without knowing it. Many STIs do not have obvious symptoms, so even if you feel fine, you should really consider getting tested if you have had unprotected sex, if you recently had a new sexual partner, or if you are having sex with multiple partners.
If you have an abnormal discharge accompanied by a smell, unusual bleeding, pelvic pain, genital sores, and/or burning, itching, or tingling in your genitals, then it is certainly time to talk to your OBGYN in order to get a proper diagnosis. These symptoms are not always associated with an STI, but that does not mean that those symptoms shouldn’t be taken seriously. What is important is to get relief and proper treatment. Diagnosing an STI is not always as invasive as it may seem either. Your doctor may want to perform a pelvic exam, but urine and blood tests are also an option for some conditions. There are also at-home STI test kits available, although there are occasionally problems with getting accurate results from these. The most definitive way to get the right diagnosis and treatment is to visit your doctor.
If you have an STI, there is no need for alarm. Many STIs are easily treated and curable with a course of antibiotics. Never treat your own STI by taking old antibiotics, as this can be very dangerous. Always consult with your doctor first before starting treatment. While diseases like herpes and HIV, among a few others, are not entirely curable, they are certainly manageable. Great strides have been made in the last few decades toward STI treatment plans that can prevent serious infections from progressing to more severe stages. You can also consult with your doctor about when it is safe to have sex again and how to avoid spreading an STI. A few moments of discomfort at the doctor are well worth the peace of mind that comes with getting a diagnosis. If you do test positive for an STI, there is no need to feel ashamed. You did the right thing by getting tested, and you will receive treatment.