This is why it is crucial to always be aware of what is normal in your own body, and what is not. This can help you identify when something is off.
Potential signs that could suggest something is wrong
1. Pain or a burning sensation when you urinate
This may be due to an infection of the bladder or cystitis. A lot of people will notice that something is not quite right when they experience such pain or discomfort when they pee.
2. Irregular bleeding
This can be caused by several factors, some of which are not worrisome. It could be as a result of your contraception, or injury to the vagina, a recent miscarriage or abortion, stress or vaginal dryness.
It could also be due to an infection like Chlamydia. It is prudent to see a doctor to verify that your bleeding is not anything to panic about.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. Persistent lower abdominal pain, or swelling in the testicles (for men), can be a pointer to chlamydia, gonorrhea or trichomoniasis.
While sex can quite commonly be painful, you should not ignore this. Sue insists that pain or bleeding during intercourse can be an indication of an infection.
4. An eye infection
Bekki Burbidge, Deputy Chief Executive of the sexual health charity FPA says that it is possible to transfer infected semen or vaginal fluid to the eye where it can cause an infection.
We are not always aware that we can transfer STIs through oral sex. Unless you are certain that your partner is completely clean, always use dental dams.
5. Change in your discharge
For a woman, discharge is often a yardstick for sexual health. This is also an important indicator for men. Unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or rectum can be a sign of infection. Unusual green or yellow discharge can speak to gonorrhoea.
Trichomoniasis may manifest in a frothy, yellow-green and/or fishy smelling vaginal discharge. Yeast infection or thrush will look white and a bit like cottage cheese and will be odourless.
6. Lumps and bumps around your genitals
A bump/ lump in your vagina, vulva or scrotum is not uncommon and does not always mean anything serious. Shaving of ingrown hairs can cause them especially if you have sensitive skin. They can also be an indicator of an infection such as genital warts.
Sue says that these are caused by HPV. Normally, they are painless but can be unpleasant. They can be passed on through vaginal or anal sex, or by sharing sex toys.
7. No symptoms
Chlamydia is one of the most commonly diagnosed STIs, yet more than 2 out of 3 women and 1 in 2 men will not have obvious symptoms. Herpes will not always be visible either.
Not exhibiting any symptoms therefore does not automatically mean that everything is hunky-dory. STD testing is mandatory.
Experienced any of these symptoms lately? Listen to your body and see your doctor immediately. Be constantly vigilant for any changes within your system.