Women's Sexual Health: Spotting Symptoms of STIs

Women's Sexual Health: Spotting Symptoms of STIs

Published: 10:14AM 15 May 2023

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Jayti Shah

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Sexual health is an integral part of overall well-being, and it extends beyond the absence of disease or dysfunction. In recent years, the focus on women's sexual health has grown, recognizing the importance of understanding symptoms, causes, and treatments of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This blog will dive into the realm of women's sexual health, specifically exploring how to spot symptoms of STIs, backed by scientific research.

Understanding STIs

STIs are infections that are primarily spread through sexual contact. Some of the most common STIs include human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes. The symptoms vary widely, and in many cases, there might be no symptoms at all. However, early detection and treatment can prevent long-term health problems.

Spotting Symptoms of STIs

1. Unusual Discharge

Unusual vaginal discharge can be a sign of several STIs. For example, Chlamydia, the most commonly reported STI, often causes an abnormal vaginal discharge in women. Gonorrhea, another prevalent STI, can also cause an unusual discharge.

2. Pain during Sex

Experiencing pain during sex can be a symptom of several conditions, including STIs. For instance, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is often caused by untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea, can result in painful intercourse.

3. Genital Lesions or Blisters

Sores or blisters around the genital area are common symptoms of herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV is a common STI that exists in two types: HSV-1 typically causes oral herpes, and HSV-2 usually results in genital herpes.

4. Abnormal Bleeding

Abnormal bleeding, especially between periods or after sex, can be a symptom of various STIs. For instance, HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer if left untreated, may cause abnormal bleeding.

5. Lower Abdominal Pain

Lower abdominal pain can be a sign of PID, which, as mentioned earlier, can be a consequence of untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea.

6. Itching or Irritation

Itching or irritation in the genital area can be a symptom of various STIs, including trichomoniasis, a common STI caused by a parasite.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect you might have an STI, it's crucial to get tested promptly. Most STIs can be diagnosed using urine samples, blood tests, or swabs. The treatment depends on the type of STI. For bacterial STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, antibiotics are usually effective (7). Viral STIs like herpes and HIV cannot be cured, but their symptoms can be managed with medication.

Women's Sexual Health (Image courtesy - iStock photo)


The best way to prevent STIs is through safe sexual practices, including using condoms and getting regularly tested if sexually active with multiple partners. Vaccinations are also available for certain STIs, like HPV and Hepatitis B.


Understanding the symptoms of STIs and seeking timely medical advice is crucial for maintaining sexual health. It's important to remember that many STIs may not cause noticeable symptoms, so regular testing is key for anyone who is sexually active. With early detection, most STIs can be effectively managed and treated, reducing the risk of severe health complications.

Jayti Shah is a Clinical Nutritionist with a master's degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA). Over the last 9 years, she has helped 400 clients in their clinical and weight loss journeys. She works with SocialBoat as a nutrition consultant.

At SocialBoat, we offer custom diet plans and guided workouts to help you achieve your goals in a 360-degree approach. Our gamified experience ensures that you don’t find workouts boring and we reward you for being consistent with your efforts.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Chlamydia - CDC Fact Sheet. [Link](https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamy
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Gonorrhea - CDC Fact Sheet. [Online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/stdfact-gonorrhea.htm
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) - CDC Fact Sheet. [Online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/pid/stdfact-pid.htm
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet. [Online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Human Papillomavirus (HPV) - CDC Fact Sheet. [Online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Trichomoniasis - CDC Fact Sheet. [Online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-trichomoniasis.htm
  7. World Health Organization. (2016). Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). [Online] Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis)
  8. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2019). Sexually Transmitted Diseases. [Online] Available at: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases
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