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Sexually Transmitted Infections: Symptoms in Women

British Columbia Specific Information

A sexually transmitted infection (STI) affects both men and women, and is passed from one person to another during sex or intimate contact. There are numerous ways you can protect yourself against STIs, see HealthLinkBC File #08o Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

To learn about the different STIs, symptoms, and treatment, see the HealthLinkBC Files - Sexually Transmitted Infection Series. Further information is also available from SmartSex Resource, BC Centre for Disease Control and BC Centre for Excellence in HIV / AIDS.

If you have concerns about an STI or want additional information, speak with your health care provider, or call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1. You can call 8-1-1 and speak to a registered nurse anonymously anytime, every day of the year.

Topic Overview

If you develop symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is important to be evaluated by a health professional soon after your symptoms start. Symptoms of an STI include:

  • A change in vaginal discharge (thicker, discoloured, or bad-smelling) over a period of several days to 2 weeks.
  • Pain, burning, or itching while urinating that lasts more than 24 hours.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Pain or a feeling of heaviness in the pelvic or lower abdominal area.
  • Itching, tingling, burning, or pain on or around the genitals.
  • Sores, lumps, blisters, rashes, or warts on or around the genitals or anus.
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding after sexual intercourse.
  • General symptoms of an infection, such as fever and fatigue or lack of energy.
  • Sores in the throat.

Many STI symptoms will go away or change quickly.This does not mean that the STI has gone away. It will be harder for your health professional to diagnose your STI after the symptoms have changed. A delay in being evaluated may lead to a more serious illness.

If you suspect you may have symptoms of an STI, do not have sexual intercourse while waiting for your appointment. This will reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to your partner.

Credits

Current as of:
February 26, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine