Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in Women: Causes & Symptoms

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Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are a growing concern amongst women of any age in Singapore. When left untreated, it may lead to a variety of complications as they can affect the reproductive health of women. Therefore, it is important to recognize STD symptoms and the need for early medical review and treatment. 

Causes & Symptoms of STDs 

Some of the STDs are caused by: 

  1. Human papillomavirus (HPV) 
  2. Chlamydia trachomatis 
  3. Neisseria gonorrhoea 
  4. Genital herpes 
  5. Trichomonas 
  6. Mycoplasma genitalium 
  7. Syphilis 
  8. HIV 
  9. Hepatitis B 
  10. Hepatitis C 

Many people with STDs are asymtomatic, and they do not know that they carry the infection.  If you are concerned about an exposure that may have been high risk (e.g. unprotected sex, a recent STD diagnosis in a partner, substance or alcohol use during sex or having multiple sexual partners), then STD tests should be performed to rule out any asymptomatic infections.  


 Symptoms of STD are as follows: 

Abnormal vaginal discharge 

Change in consistency, quantity and colour (yellow to greenish) and if there is blood present it may indicate an infection.  


Vaginal itch 

Itching at the vulva area may indicate an infection within the vagina. 


Abnormal vaginal odour 

A malodorous discharge or odour without discharge may be abnormal and can be caused by STDs. 


Vaginal discomfort 

This can range from a mild discomfort to severe pain or a burning and stinging sensation. 


Painful urination 

Burning or a painful sensation during peeing or sometimes just a “hot” sensation during urination may indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI), or it can also be a symptom of STD 


Painful sexual intercourse 

Also known as dyspareunia and if it feels deeper inside, it may indicate an infection involving areas such as the cervix.  


Lower abdominal discomfort or pain 

This may mean infection of the deeper structures such as in pelvic inflammatory disease.  



Bleeding outside of menses  

Bleeding when you are not on your period may indicate pelvic inflammatory disease, but may also be due to severe conditions like cancer of the cervix.  


Vulva blisters, sores, ulcers or wart-like lumps  

STDs can manifest as rashes or ulcers in the vulva areas or anal and oral areas. Typically, a blister-like rash appears for genital herpes whereas a single ulcer (painless or painful) may be early syphilis. Genital warts are due to an infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). 


Non-specific flu-like symptoms 

Symptoms such as sore throat, mild fever, headache, tiredness and fatigue may seem mild, but a recent infection with viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B and C may manifest with any of these symptoms. These symptoms are due to the body’s antibody production against these viruses, also called ‘acute seroconversion syndrome’. When exposed to a high-risk sexual exposure event, it is important to think about these conditions. 


Swollen (painful or painless) lymph nodes  

An STD may cause regional lymph nodes to swell up and may cause pain or discomfort, either widespread or limited to the groin area. 


Widespread rash  

Generalised rash involving the body which can involve the palms or soles or both is one of the common symptoms of syphilis.  



Though you may feel that you are unlikely to have an STD as you don’t feel any symptoms at all, a large proportion of people who have STDs may not exhibit any symptoms. Therefore, one should exercise caution when it comes to engaging in high-risk activities (e.g. 100% protection including during oral sex, reduce number of sexual partners, avoid alcohol or substance use etc) and to always seek medical attention should a partner is diagnosed with an STD.  

Early diagnosis and treatment of STDs is crucial so that the risk of transmission to others is eliminated and reduce the risk of developing complications from STDs. 



Boon Lay Clinic & Surgery 

Boon Lay Clinic & Surgery is a primary care clinic brand under Singapore Paincare Holdings Limited; the goal is to bring affordable medical treatments to the heartland areas. 

Led by Dr. Julian Ng, Boon Lay Clinic & Surgery provides chronic disease management, men’s health (men’s HIV & STD screening), women’s health, health screenings, vaccinations, corporate healthcare, medical examinations (maid/ employment permit/insurance/student pass). 

Address: 221 Boon Lay Place, #01-240 Singapore 640221 

Contact number: +65 6265 5247