How Long After Sex Can STDs Show Symptoms?

How Long After Sex Can STDs Show Symptoms?

Nov 29
How Long After Sex Can STDs Show Symptoms?

What happens if you experience abnormal symptoms on down there? It’s possible to think about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In fact, symptoms of STDs may develop within a few days, weeks, months, or even years. These also depend on which STDs you’ve been infected. If there’s any chance of STDs, you should see your doctor and get tested. But first, knowing how long after sex STDs show symptoms could help you raise your awareness and determine your STDs.

How Long After Sex Can STDs Show Symptoms?

Depending on which STD you get, symptoms may show within a few days, weeks, or longer. Here’re the average incubation periods for common STDs

1. Chlamydia

Mostly, many people with chlamydia never notice any symptoms. But this STD could show up after sex from 1-3 weeks or later. During this period, be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Discharge from the vagina or penis
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods or after sex
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pelvic pain in women and testicular in men

2. Genital Herpes

Because most people with herpes virus do not present any symptom, they haven’t known they get it. Until this virus spreads to others, they may know they have had it. So, how to know if you have been infected with herpes. Symptoms of genital herpes can appear after 4-14 days of exposure. But these sometimes does not happen until months or years later. See your doctor if you have the following symptoms after having unprotected sex;

  • A tingling, itching, and burning sensations around the genitals
  • Small and painful blisters around the genital areas
  • Pain when urinating and having sex
  • Mild fever, body aches (for the primary outbreak)
Symptoms of genital herpes can appear after 4-14 days of exposure or longer

Symptoms of genital herpes can appear after 4-14 days of exposure or longer

3. Genital Warts

Not everyone who has been infected with genital warts has symptoms. But this STD normally causees symptoms within 2-3 months, or it may start as early as 2 weeks and years later. Watch for these symptoms if you have had unprotected sex

  • Small bumps (look like cauliflowers) on the genitals and around the anus
  • These bumps are painless, but a little itchy
  • Pain during urination and intercourse

Learn More: Why Genital Warts Keep Coming Back and How to Prevent It

4. Syphilis

Symptoms of syphilis are not obvious. These may also come and go on their own, so people are less aware. If yes, syphilis often shows symptoms from 2-3 weeks after becoming infected. Or the symptoms may appear anytime between 10 to 90 days after exposure. The symptoms can include:

  • One or more small sores on the genitals
  • The sores are painless
  • Rash and flu-like symptoms that occur after few weeks

5. Gonorrhea

Like several other STDs, gonorrhea has invisible symptoms. If symptoms appear, they may present within 10 days after first exposure. But these could start later. Your symptoms could include

  • Green or yellow discharge
  • Pain when urinating
  • Frequency of urination
  • Swelling or redness at the opening of the penis
  • Heavier spotting in women
  • Pain in the lower abdomen for women and in the testicles for men
Gonorrhea shows symptoms within 10 days after first exposure

Gonorrhea shows symptoms within 10 days after first exposure

6. Trichomoniasis

About 50% of men and women don’t experience symptoms of trichomoniasis. But after sex, this STD may show symptoms within 4 weeks or could begin later. If becoming infected, you may experience

  • Discharge from the vagina
  • Discomfort or itchiness around the opening of the vagina
  • Pain when urinating

7. Pubic Lice and Scabies

Symptoms of pubic lice and scabies may occur after 5 days to 5 weeks, or later. The symptoms can include

  • Itching around the genital areas
  • Small spot of bloods on the skin near your genitals
  • Black spots in underwear
  • A spotty red rash

8. HIV

In most of STDs, HIV has invisible symptoms for years. But some people will experience symptoms from 2- 6 weeks after exposure. The best way to know if you have HIV is getting tested. Be aware of the following symptoms

  • Fever and flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, sore throat, and muscle aches
  • A red rash on the body.

Learn More: When Should You Get STD Tested?

Some people with HIV could have symptoms from 2- 6 weeks after exposure

Some people with HIV could have symptoms from 2- 6 weeks after exposure

Can Safer Sex Prevent STDs?

It’s worth noting that STD incubation periods still occur in people who have safe sex. Although a safe sex life lowers your risk of getting STDs, it’s not always 100% protective. For example, condoms, dental dams, and other protective methods help reduce your risk of STDs, but these can’t completely prevent them. You can still come into contact with bacteria and viruses through the infected skin area that protective methods can’t cover.

In addition, Some STDs can spread to others even though the symptoms are invisible. You may be infected and able to be spread STDs to your partner. That’s why you should get tested and know the sexual history of your partner before engaging in sex.

Learn More: How Can I Ask My Partner to Get STD Tested

Can All STDs Be Treated with Antibiotics?

While some STDs are easy to treat, others can’t be cured. Normally, STDs caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. However, STDs caused by viruses like genital herpes or genital warts can be controlled, but not completely cured. Your doctor may give Vidarox and Imiquimod creams, or offer cryotherapy, laser, and surgery to remove genital warts. But for genital herpes, Acyclovir and Valacyclovir are often prescribed antiviral medications. Also, Prosurx is an effective topical cream for this STD.

On a whole, not all STDs can be treated with antibiotics. Depending on which STDs you get, your doctor may give proper treatment. See your doctor if there’s any abnormal symptom down there.

STDs are very common for sexually active people. But many people are less to concern these because of invisible symptoms. This also increases the spread of STDs.  So, it’s necessary to understand the symptoms as well as the incubation period of STDs. Each STD has a different incubation period. The above information about how long after sex can STDs show symptoms may be useful for you.



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