An estimated 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur annually in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 234. Although there many different STDs, a limited number are known to potentially cause urinary frequency. **This symptom usually occurs due to infection and inflammation of the urethra, the tube through which urine flows as it passes from the body. **** Painful urination, or dysuria, often accompanies urinary frequency associated with an STD. Men are more likely than women to experience urinary symptoms caused by an STD.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
In 2016, nearly 1.6 million cases of chlamydia were reported to CDC -- a record high number. Most people with chlamydia initially experience no symptoms, which contributes to ongoing spread of this STD. Among men, the urethra is the primary site of genital infection. Those men who experience chlamydia symptoms typically report a watery penile discharge, burning with urination and urinary frequency. The cervix is the primary site of genital chylamydia in women 6. When symptoms occur, they may include a change in vaginal discharge and spotting between periods or after intercourse. Chlamydia sometimes also infects the urethra in women causing dysuria and frequency, but this is relatively uncommon.
Causes of Vaginal Itching and Spotting
CDC estimates 820,000 new cases of gonorrhea occur each year in the US.
While most women with gonorrhea experience no symptoms until complications develop, the overwhelming majority of men with infection of the urethra, or urethritis, experience symptoms. Initial symptoms typically include painful urination and a pus-like penile discharge.
Urinary frequency often follows if the infection remains untreated. Some men experience a drop or two of bloody discharge after urination.
- CDC estimates 820,000 new cases of gonorrhea occur each year in the US.
- Urinary frequency often follows if the infection remains untreated.
Mycoplasma genitalium Infection
While most people are familiar with chlamydia and gonorrhea, you might not have heard of Mycoplasma genitalium (M. genitalium). This sexually transmitted bacterial infection, which was first identified in 1980, is a significant cause of urethritis in men. As with other STDs that cause urethritis in men, symptoms may include penile discharge, dysuria and urinary frequency. The possible role of M. genitalium as a sexually transmitted cause of urethritis in women is uncertain; additional research is needed.
- While most people are familiar with chlamydia and gonorrhea, you might not have heard of Mycoplasma genitalium (_M.
- The possible role of _M.
- genitalium_ as a sexually transmitted cause of urethritis in women is uncertain; additional research is needed.
Causes of Gardnerella Infection
Trichomoniasis, commonly known as trich, is an STD caused by a microscopic parasite. **CDC estimates that 3.7 million people in the US have trich, 70 to 85 percent of whom have minimal or no symptoms. * ***The urethra is the primary site of infection in men, which can potentially lead to dysuria, a small amount of mucus-like penile discharge and urinary frequency.
** Left untreated, trich can lead to scrotal pain and swelling due to spread of the infection to the epididymis, a network of tubes that carry sperm from the testicle.
Women with trich who develop symptoms might experience increased vaginal discharge and odor, and vaginal and vulvar itchiness. **Burning pain with urination might occur due to vulvar irritation but urinary frequency is not a commonly reported symptom of trich in women. ****
- Trichomoniasis, commonly known as trich, is an STD caused by a microscopic parasite.
- The urethra is the primary site of infection in men, which can potentially lead to dysuria, a small amount of mucus-like penile discharge and urinary frequency.
CDC estimates that at least 50 million Americans have genital herpes. Most people with this STD have no symptoms or very mild symptoms that aren't recognized to be caused by genital herpes. Genital herpes can cause urethritis with painful urination and urethral discomfort between urination that might lead to urinary frequency. **However, genital herpes is a relatively uncommon cause of urethritis compared to the other STDs discussed. ****
- CDC estimates that at least 50 million Americans have genital herpes.
- However, genital herpes is a relatively uncommon cause of urethritis compared to the other STDs discussed.
Many conditions unrelated to a sexually transmitted infection can cause urinary frequency, including urinary tract infections; prostate enlargement or inflammation; a prolapsed bladder; and certain medications 3. See your healthcare provider if you experience urinary frequency to determine the cause and best treatment. **If you suspect your urinary symptoms might be due to an STD, it's best to abstain from sexual contact with others or use condoms to reduce the risk of transmitting such an infection to your partner(s). ****
**Reviewed and revised by: Tina M. St. John, M.D.****
Causes of Vaginal Itching and Spotting
Causes of Gardnerella Infection
Side Effects of Gonorrhea
What Are the Symptoms of Trichomoniasis & Bacterial Vaginosis?
Candida Symptoms in Men
Incubation Time for Urinary Tract Infections
Causes of Brown and Yellow Vaginal Discharge
Causes of Prostate Pain When Sitting
Herbal Treatment for Chlamydia
Symptoms of an Infected Prostate
- Merck Manual Professional Version: Urinary Frequency
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What Are STDs?
- Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2nd Edition; Bhushan Kumar and Somesh Gupta
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines -- Gonococcal Infections
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 2016 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance -- Chlamydia
- Microbial Cell: Chlamydia trachomatis Genital Infections
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines -- Trichomoniasis
- Clinical Infectious Diseases: Mycoplasma genitalium: Should We Treat and How?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines -- Genital HSV Infections
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Clinical Characteristics of Herpes Simplex Virus Urethritis Compared With Chlamydial Urethritis Among Men
- Clinical Infectious Disease; David Schlossberg
- Malhotra M, Sood S, Mukherjee A, Muralidhar S, Bala M. Genital Chlamydia trachomatis: an update. Indian J Med Res. 2013;138(3):303–316.
- Callan T, Debattista J, Berry B, Brown J, Woodcock S, Hocking JS, Huston WM. A retrospective cohort study examining STI testing and perinatal records demonstrates reproductive health burden of chlamydia and gonorrhea. Pathog Dis. 2020 Sep 26;78(6):ftaa052. doi: 10.1093/femspd/ftaa052. PMID: 32901793.
- Walker CK, Sweet RL. Gonorrhea infection in women: prevalence, effects, screening, and management. Int J Womens Health. 2011;3:197–206. doi:10.2147/IJWH.S13427
- Whittles LK, White PJ, Paul J, Didelot X. Epidemiological Trends of Antibiotic Resistant Gonorrhoea in the United Kingdom. Antibiotics (Basel). 2018;7(3):60. doi:10.3390/antibiotics7030060
- Tampa M, Sarbu I, Matei C, Benea V, Georgescu SR. Brief history of syphilis. J Med Life. 2014;7(1):4–10.
- French P. Syphilis. BMJ. 2007;334(7585):143-7. doi:10.1136/bmj.39085.518148.BE
- Manhart LE, Holmes KK, Hughes JP, Houston LS, Totten PA. Mycoplasma genitalium among young adults in the United States: an emerging sexually transmitted infection. Am J Public Health. 2007;97(6):1118-25. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2005.074062
- Menezes CB, Frasson AP, Tasca T. Trichomoniasis - are we giving the deserved attention to the most common non-viral sexually transmitted disease worldwide? Microb Cell. 2016;3(9):404–419. doi:10.15698/mic2016.09.526
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccinating Boys and Girls. 2019.
- Sauerbrei A. Herpes Genitalis: Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 2016;76(12):1310–1317. doi:10.1055/s-0042-116494
- Arts EJ, Hazuda DJ. HIV-1 antiretroviral drug therapy. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2012;2(4):a007161. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a007161
- Easterbrook PJ, Roberts T, Sands A, Peeling R. Diagnosis of viral hepatitis. Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2017;12(3):302–314. doi:10.1097/COH.0000000000000370
- Hay P. Bacterial vaginosis. F1000Res. 2017;6:1761. doi:10.12688/f1000research.11417.1
- Irizarry L, Wray AA. Chancroid. StatPearls Publishing. Updated January 30, 2019.
- Ceovic R, Gulin SJ. Lymphogranuloma venereum: diagnostic and treatment challenges. Infect Drug Resist. 2015;8:39–47. doi:10.2147/IDR.S57540
- Badri T, Gandhi GR. Molluscum Contagiosum. StatPearls Publishing. Updated February 28, 2019.
- Miko BA, Uhlemann AC, Gelman A, et al. High prevalence of colonization with Staphylococcus aureus clone USA300 at multiple body sites among sexually transmitted disease clinic patients: an unrecognized reservoir. Microbes Infect. 2012;14(12):1040–1043. doi:10.1016/j.micinf.2012.06.004
- Territo H, Ashurst JV. Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU). StatPearls Publishing. Updated December 19, 2018.
- Anderson AL, Chaney E. Pubic lice (Pthirus pubis): history, biology and treatment vs. knowledge and beliefs of US college students. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009;6(2):592–600. doi:10.3390/ijerph6020592
- Banerji A; Canadian Paediatric Society, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Health Committee. Scabies. Paediatr Child Health. 2015;20(7):395–402. doi:10.1093/pch/20.7.395
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Data & Statistics. CDC.
- 2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines. CDC.
- Emerging Issues. CDC.
Dr. Tina M. St. John owns and operates a health communications and consulting firm. She is also an accomplished medical writer and editor, and was formerly a senior medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. St. John holds an M.D. from Emory University School of Medicine.