STD Symptoms in Men

Reviewed by Frank Cockerill, MD, July 21, 2017

STD symptoms in men can vary drastically from person to person, based on what infection is present, and what stage the infection is in. STD symptoms in males can range from none to mild to severe. Many men will suspect an STD infection if there is an unusual symptom in the genital region, such as itching, a rash, discharge, or penile/testicular pain. However, STDs can produce vague symptoms that can also be caused by other, non-STD disease processes making it difficult to pinpoint the cause of the problem. In addition, the majority of STD infections produce no symptoms at all, complicating their detection.

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More common STD symptoms in men:

  • No signs at all
  • Itching at the tip of the penis
  • Rash on the penis, testicles, or groin
  • Discharge (a milky white, yellow, thick or thin substance coming from the tip of the penis)
  • Pain with urination
  • Pain with ejaculation
  • Painful blisters on the genitals (penile spots/penile bumps)

Less common STD symptoms in men:

  • Painless ulcer on the penis or testicles
  • Testicular pain and swelling
  • Epididymitis (painful swelling of the tube that carries urine and ejaculate)
  • Fever
  • Painful swelling of a joint (like a knee or elbow)
  • Sore throat (if engaging in oral sex)
  • Rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding (if engaging in receptive anal sex)

If symptoms occur, it may happen within days of exposure, but may take weeks to develop. Some men mistakenly believe that because they are not experiencing any symptoms, they don't have a STD infection. In many cases of male STD infection, no symptoms will develop at all. Even men who have an STD but do not have symptoms can pass the infection to a sexual partner. This is why it's important for men to be comprehensively screened for STDs if they are sexually active, especially if they have ever engaged in unprotected sex.

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