An STD is a disease that spreads mainly through sexual contact. STDs are one of the most commonly spread diseases in the world. What makes these STDs common? The main reason is that people do not know that they are infected, how to prevent an infection or how to treat an STD. Or when they do, they don't do it effectively.
It is important to learn that not all diseases that affect the genitals are STDs, and are not always directly related to sex. Some of these are just sexually-associated, which means that they are not transmitted during intercourse, but occur as a result of it. For instance, an urinary tract infection may occur because of several types of STDs.
Below are some of the most common STDs and their rashes that you should know about:
A picture of chlamydia rash
Chlamydia is a common and curable STD. It infects the penile urethra in men and the cervix in women. Its most common symptoms are painful sex, skin rash, and discharge from the vagina or penis. Nevertheless, the reason chlamydia is one of the most common STDs is that many people who get it do not show any symptoms for weeks, months or even years.
Despite the lack of symptoms, it is vital to get yourself and your partner screened if you think you perhaps have been exposed to chlamydia. If left untreated, it may cause a lot of damage.
A picture of gonorrhea rash
Gonorrhea, which is also known as ‘the clap’, happens to be another bacterial sexually transmitted disease. It usually infects the same organs as chlamydia, and if left untreated, has similar long-term effects.
Gonorrhea symptoms include a burning sensation while urinating; men find a yellow, white, or greenish discharge from the penis. As it is with chlamydia, many people do not find any symptoms of gonorrhea. Be aware of the fact that gonorrhea can also infect the throat when transmitted via oral sex and cause a skin rash, mainly on the trunk, limps and palms/soles.
A picture of syphilis rash on the hands
Syphilis is another common STD but comes with a notorious history. It is caused by a bacterium Treponema pallidum and could lead to severe complications if left untreated. Syphilis gets transmitted when the individual carrying the bacteria comes directly in contact with their partner, eventually causing syphilis sores that appear on the mouth and external genitals, in the rectum or in the vagina too. During this phase skin rash might be (barely) visible too, appearing like brown/red spots on the skin. The rash that comes from syphilis is usually not itchy.
Syphilis can be passed on by vaginal, oral or anal sex. In fact, some of the scientists consider that oral sex is mainly responsible for the increase of syphilis transmission in men who have sex with men.
A picture of scabies on the skin
Scabies is a contagious skin disease that is not always sexually transmitted. It is generally caused by the parasite Sarcoptes scabei, where an individual feels itchy skin rash that gets worse at night. These skin rashes are generally found in the folds on the skin, such as on the wrist, between the fingers, ankles, and even in the genital area.
Scabies is contagious and the mite can live for several days off the human body. It not only spreads by close contact, but by skin-to-skin contact, shared towels, clothing, and bedding.
A picture of herpes rash
Herpes is a viral STD and has two different forms, HSV1 along with HSV2. HSV1 is generally related to cold sores, whereas HSV2 is associated with genital sores. Nevertheless, it is quite possible to pass on herpes from the genitals to the mouth and vice versa.
Herpes can be treated with an anti-viral medication, but the virus cannot be cured. People suffering from the herpes virus must know that they can easily pass on the virus even when they do not have any prominent sores or other symptoms. Though using a condom can be useful in reducing the risk of catching the herpes transmission, condoms are still not considered to be 100 percent effective as herpes spreads through skin-to-skin contact.
A picture of trichomoniasis rash in the cervix. Men usually do not experience symptoms of this STD.
Trichomoniasis is another common STD, and this infection is more common in women compared to men. Some women may consider this infection for bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection as the symptoms are quite similar: skin rash, itching, irritation, painful sex, strong vaginal odor, and frothy discharge.
Men can also catch trichomoniasis, but they do not really tend to have any visible symptoms.
If you, as a woman have been diagnosed with trichomoniasis, ensure your male partner gets treated right away. Trichomoniasis may not affect him much, but you certainly would not want him transmitting it back to you. Between females trichomoniasis is transmittable back and forth.
Is an STD Rash a Simple Skin Rash?
A picture of HIV rash on the arms
If you feel any changes in your genital area, it could be an indication of having an STD, especially when you are sexually active. Be it a small red bump, bruised genitals, or sore skin, it, of course, is no fun at all.
You must know that HIV rashes on the skin are a lot different than the skin rashes that appear due to diabetes. Therefore, it is vital for you to learn and differentiate between a skin rash and an STD rash.
Irritation, Painful Lesions, Itchiness And Redness
Redness, itchiness, painful lesions and irritation are the most common symptoms of a skin rash that is possibly not caused by an STD. Severe STD rashes very often do not cause pain. For instance, syphilis is a form of a sexually transmitted disease which causes painless lesions in the genitals.
Symptoms Generally Subside Automatically and Do Not Spread
In most of the cases, STD rashes accompany several other symptoms like rectum pain, pelvic, cold sores, flu, etc.
However, in case of an individual having a yeast infection, it creates itchiness, uneasiness, and foul discharge. All these symptoms show up early, are quite apparent and heal quickly.
As it has been mentioned above, the syphilis STD creates rashes on the hands and feet, causes fatigue, hair loss, sore throat, and several other problems as it spreads. Same is the case with chlamydia STD which greatly affects the rectum in both women and men. There are some additional symptoms such as bloody discharge, rectal pain, and painful discharge.
Ingrown Hair, Yeast infection, Bladder infection
A picture of ingrown hairs causing a rash
Yeast infection, ingrown hair and bladder infection are often misdiagnosed as being genital herpes. Genital herpes is different from these conditions but can cause very similar symptoms like bumps and blisters. If you have noticed mild itchiness and a small cluster of bumps, just wait for a day or two. If it heals quickly and does not spread to a larger area, it could be due to an ingrown hair and it's not caused by an STD.
Genital herpes, on the other hand, comes with various other symptoms such as swollen glands, sore throat, and flu. Besides, the lesions take around a minimum of 3 weeks time to heal. Ingrown hair usually results of shaving the pubic area or from a bikini wax.
Skin Rashes From an Allergic Reaction
If you experience symptoms like irritation and itchiness, an allergic reaction to perfumes and soaps, causing the skin of the genitals to dry out might be the cause of your symptoms. Each individual reacts differently to certain perfumes, dyes, soaps, and detergents.
Oftentimes, the undergarments may also cause allergic reactions. As the genital skin is too delicate, it may react adversely. You may also develop such symptoms quickly. Opting for milder (PH neutral) products can be beneficial. Make sure not to douche the genitals with too much soap, or it will aggregate the itching.
Heat Rash or Herpes?
A picture of heat rash
Herpes and heat rash are both very common and may cause similar skin problems. Heat rash may occur at any part of your body including your private parts, and they clear up quickly. Heat rash subsides on their own from a couple of hours to in merely a day. Simply by washing your genitals or changing clothes, you may notice the heat rashes subsiding. Try cooling the skin and you will find quite a relief. If not it can be Herpes.
If the redness or itchiness does not seem to reduce after a few days or if the lesions and bumps spread, it is imperative for you to seek a doctor and get proper diagnosis immediately.