Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in men are just as common in men as are in women. The difference is that some of these STDs are not as easily detectable in men. They can be cured through medication or through simple surgery and recurrences of the disease are unlikely. Because it is difficult to detect certain STDs in men it is advised that he gets checked on a yearly basis to ensure that he is in good health and that there are no diseases hiding within his system. This way he can get tested for STDs and begin treatment immediately.
Chlamydia is one of the more common STDs a man can experience. It develops through contracting microbes called Chlamydia trachomatis. As per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Chlamydia is the most common STD in the United States. Between 2004 and 2008, the rate of Chlamydia reported increased to 45 percent due to the advancements in STD testing methods and over the counter testing methods such as home STD testing kits. Chlamydia can typically be detected within one to three weeks after symptoms are presented.
Men infected with the disease will experience discharge from the penis, painful urination, and a burning or tingling feeling around the opening of the penis which can also be felt in the testicles. If Chlamydia is found in the rectal area, men will experience symptoms such as rectal discharge or draining and severe pain both during bowel movements and random times throughout the day if not all day. Additionally, Chlamydia can be transmitted to the throat through oral sex.
Gonorrhea is developed through contracting specific microorganisms called neisseria gonorrhoeae. Symptoms of gonorrhea include painful urination, white, yellow or green discharge from the penis, and swollen or enlarged testicles. Gonorrhea also affects the rectum and can be extremely painful. Symptoms a man could experience include rectal discharge, soreness, tingling sensations, rectal draining, and painful, hard, solid bowel movements. If gonorrhea has been contracted via oral sex, a man will experience a sore throat that will continue to get worse due to the many different types of bacteria already in the throat interacting with those microorganisms that cause gonorrhea. Gonorrhea can also cause epididymitis which is the curved portion at the back of the testicles where sperm matures; it is the swelling of the tube that connects the testicle to the vas deferens. Side effects can take anywhere from two to thirty days after contracting the disease. If left untreated, it can leave a man infertile and unable to have children.
Syphilis is one of those “silent but deadly” STDs. You could have syphilis for several weeks, months, and in rare occasions, years before experiencing side effects in any stage. The first phase of syphilis presents itself as sores around the genital area. This type of sore is called a chancre sore. It will appear as a hard, indented portion on your skin and typically disappears without treatment within three to six weeks. The second phase of syphilis rears in the form of a rash on the skin and mucous layers in the body. The rash could be extremely red and harsh or as tan spots that are most commonly found on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. Other symptoms you may experience include swollen lymph nodes, fever, sore throat, cerebral pain, random male pattern baldness, significant decrease in weight, and being unusually fatigued or exhausted. The rash is the biggest indicator of how severe the disease is; while it will go away on its own without treatment, once it goes away it serves as the primary indicator that the disease is now in the advanced stages. In the late stages of syphilis, a man will not show any visible side effects. However, while side effects may not be visible, the disease will essentially “eat away” and attack the major organs. In this stage, the disease begins to attack the brain, heart, liver, bones, and joints. A man can experience loss of motion, numbness, changes in vision to the point where he may eventually become blind, dementia, and the inevitable, death.
Herpes is the most common form of STDs. It develops by contracting the herpes simplex infection 1 (Hsv-1) or herpes simplex infection 2 (Hsv-2). However, genital herpes is most commonly developed by contracting the Hsv-2 virus. The herpes virus first presents itself as one or more rankles in the genital or rectal areas of the body. These are open sores that turn into ulcers on the genitalia and rectum and can take a man five or more weeks to get rid of the virus. When the flare up is first noticed, it is the most painful, the most intense, and the most excruciating pain a man will experience. As time goes on, these episodes are less successive and less uncomfortable.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, attacks the immune system leaving a man extremely vulnerable to catching other severe illnesses. Most times when a man who has contracted the HIV virus, he may experience no symptoms of the disease. It isn’t until he becomes ill with another type of illness that HIV is detected. Flu-like symptoms such as a fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes can begin to rear two to six weeks after being infected with the HIV virus. Other very common symptoms of traditional illnesses that are often seen with HIV include diarrhea, unexplained weakness, mouth sores, and a rash. These symptoms may take 10 years or more to even appear if the typical flu-like symptoms don’t appear. Having additional STDs can increase your chances of contracting the HIV virus.
Testing for STDs
Getting STD testing is more accessible than it used to be. Now, you can walk into any pharmacy and buy an STD at home testing kit which will detect certain types of STDs but not all. Testing at home has become the more common method of testing to avoid the embarrassment factor of going to their doctor. If a man suspects he has contracted a more advanced STD than what a home testing kit can detect, it is imperative he be tested as soon as possible by his doctor so the disease can be treated promptly. With home STD testing kits, a man can obtain his test results online and can take those results with him to his doctor to begin a treatment regimen for the disease. If needed, additional testing will be done to pinpoint the exact STD he has contracted.