Flu is one of the most common illnesses throughout the world. While this condition can be easily treated, there is still an alarming number of people who reach fatal complications due to the presence of the influenza virus in their bodies. According to recent statistics by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 6,500 people die each year due to influenza. When signs of flu develop, people often take it for a cold or influenza, but it is important that you do not completely dismiss the idea of really suffering from a sexually transmitted infection – at least not until you get tested.

Flu-Like Symptoms And STDs

While infection with the influenza virus is sure to cause what many consider "flu symptoms," it is important to note that the presence of these ailments is not always caused by this type of viral infection. There are many other conditions that have also been linked to symptoms most often associated with flu and colds, and some of these illnesses can be harmful when they are not treated.

Some types of sexually transmitted diseases and infections are known to be asymptomatic, particularly during the earlier stages of the transmission. While there may not be some of the more obvious signs like rashes appearing in certain areas of the body, some people might experience a reaction to the pathogens entering their bodies. In turn, this may lead to the development of similar symptoms as one would experience when they have the flu.

This is why it is important for people to take note of their activities, particularly when interacting sexually with another person. When symptoms that are generally associated with flu shows up after participating in unprotected sexual intercourse, then this might actually be a sign that some type of pathogen was transferred to you.

Not all STDs might cause these symptoms, however. Understanding the specific symptoms and how each might be related to an infection carried over to you through sexual activity, we take a more detailed look at a breakdown of what you might experience – and what STDs you may want to get tested for.

Fever

Fever refers to a high temperature. This is one of the most common symptoms that you would experience if you are infected with influenza, but your temperature may also rise when another type of infection is present in your body. With this in mind, it is important to take note that many of the sexually transmitted conditions are caused by a virus, bacteria, or other types of microorganisms that your body will see as a threat. Thus, when you are infected by the pathogen that causes the STD, you may experience a fever – even when the condition itself does not produce any obvious symptoms.

If you do experience fever, especially shortly after you had unprotected sex, you should consider getting tested for the following STDs:

Headaches

About 50% of all people experience a headache at least once each year. Different types of headaches can develop, with some being more severe and often even disabling. Most people tend to ignore headaches, often taking a painkiller, and then they go on with their day. For many people, suffering from the flu also means having to endure headaches.

What you might not have realized is that headaches can also be caused by certain STDs. In Particular, if you experience persistent headaches, along with additional symptoms that seem to be concerning, be sure to get tested for these STDs:

  • HIV
  • Herpes
  • Syphilis

Fatigue

Another symptom that should not be taken too lightly is fatigue. This is a very common symptom among people who suffer from the flu. You feel weak and tired and unable to go about your daily routine as you normally do.

Fatigue has many other causes, too, ranging from harmful diseases to poor sleep. Additionally, take note that there are certain types of sexually transmitted infections that are also known to cause fatigue – sometimes at a later stage, which may require more aggressive treatment.

The following STDs may lead to fatigue being experienced during the earlier stages of the infection, and the symptoms may persist:

Additionally, there are also two STDs that are known to cause fatigue during the later stages of the infections. These include:

  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia

Nausea

Nausea is one of the most unpleasant symptoms for many, causing a sudden interruption in what you are doing – and sometimes leads to vomiting, which can cause exceptional discomfort. People who suffer from the flu tend to become nauseous in many cases. When the infection is more severe, then vomiting may also occur.

Nausea and vomiting have a lot of causes – not just the flu. Eating something that has gone bad, a sensitive stomach, and even pregnancy can cause you to become nauseous and sometimes lead to vomiting as well.

Apart from these, it is important to take note that some STDs are also known to lead to nausea. If you experience nausea and vomiting as a sign of an STD, this is often an early stage of the infection, which means getting tested and ensuring treatment is implemented soon is critical.

If you experience nausea, particularly when you had unprotected sex recently, make sure to get tested for the following STDs:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis C
  • Syphilis
  • HIV

Other Symptoms To Take Into Consideration

The symptoms we have looked at in the previous section are very common when you suffer from the flu. There are other symptoms that may not be as common, but still needs to be taken into consideration – as thinking that the flu is causing these, when it is really an STD, can delay treatment. This would increase your risk of suffering complications from the STD you have been infected with.

When you experience pain in the lower back or the abdominal region, then getting tested for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia is definitely important. Herpes has also been linked to lower back pain, which you should take into account. Also, take note of joint pain, as this is a known symptom of Hepatitis B, HIV, and Syphilis.

When you experience these symptoms, be sure to check your lymph nodes. While swollen lymph nodes may be caused by an infection like the flu, the presence of certain STDs in your system can also lead to these symptoms. Swollen lymph nodes have been linked to Gonorrhea, Herpes, Syphilis, HIV, and Chlamydia.

Getting Tested For STDs

When you suffer these symptoms, do not easily mistake them like the flu. Getting tested for STDs has become a very easy process. Simply get your hands the right STD test kits, which will help you determine if you have been infected due to unprotected sexual activity. These STD at-home test kits mean you no longer have to worry about going to a clinical or some type of medical facility to determine if you have been infected. You can do the test in the comfort of your own home, providing more privacy – while also offering you access to highly accurate results.

Conclusion

Flu symptoms might make you think that a few days in bed would help to get yourself going again, but many people do not realize that these might actually be a warning sign of an STD. When you experience fatigue, nausea, vomiting, fever, and headaches, you might want to consider getting tested for some of the more common STDs that cause infection in your body.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/flu.htm

https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/fevers-causes-symptoms-treatments#1

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/headache-disorders