Having an active sex life is great fun, there’s no doubt about that but it’s also crucial that you’re protecting yourself from harm in the form of sexually transmitted infections. In the throes of passion, nobody wants to be reminded about the negatives, so it pays to plan ahead so you know you won’t have a thing to worry about when it’s time to have fun! If you have any concerns or any of the following symptoms then you should get yourself tested, if only for peace of mind:

  1. It hurts to urinate

Often the first sign of anything being wrong is when it becomes painful to pee. Some of the infections that can cause this symptom include chlamydia, trichomoniasis or gonorrhoea. Of course, it could be a urinary tract infection (which you’ll need to see your GP about) or dehydration but if it persists then you should definitely seek medical advice.

  1. Change in Vaginal Discharge

A change in your discharge can mean any number of things especially during hormonal changes for women. But it’s also your body’s way of communicating to you that something’s off. Both HPV and Chlamydia can cause an increase in vaginal discharge. Trichomoniasis and gonorrhoea will affect the look, smell and feel of the discharge. If you notice anything strange or unusual for you, like a change in consistency, colour, smell or amount then you should definitely get tested. Too embarrassed to see a doctor first? Now you can test at home with Home StI kits available from bexleysexualhealth.org

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  1. Pain during intercourse

If you’re noticing discomfort and pain during sex, then something isn’t right. All of the above infections can cause pain during sex, so you should seek advice. There are a number of conditions that can cause pain during sex which aren’t sexually transmitted so it’s always best to speak to a doctor about your concerns.

  1. Pelvic Pain

Again, this sort of pain could be coming from problems other than a sexually transmitted infection, but it pays to get tested to be sure. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease occurs when your reproductive organs become infected from a bacterial STD. Get it checked over right away if this area feels painful, so the infection can be treated.

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  1. Excessive Itchiness

Uncomfortable, awkward and embarrassing, if you’re suffering from extreme itchiness then something needs addressing. It could be thrush but might also be any one of the infections already mentioned. Other problems causing itchiness include scabies, which many people don’t realise can be sexually transmitted. Itching in your pubic hair can also be caused by pubic lice, also known as crabs.

  1. Visible Sores

Aside from physical discomfort, you may notice visible sores in your genital area. Infections can cause blistering or sores to form, especially an infection from the herpes simplex virus which can result in sores around the mouth and genital region. Thankfully it’s quite rare but it is painful as the blisters burst and leave ulcers behind. Syphilis is another infection that causes sores, which at first are often painless and go unnoticed. Make it a regular thing to look at your genitals, especially if you have had more than one sexual partner. The later stages of syphilis are more complicated and dangerous.