However, this preconception is harmful in a way that conditions that only present themselves minimally – such as in cases where their presentations are not as evident and may only affect specific characteristics of your urination pattern – are ignored, resulting in the progression of what was once a minimally invasive condition into a severe complication that is capable of causing various complications that could even be irreversible in the long run.
Most people need to understand that sexual health problems are not always as apparent as one might think, despite their presentations mainly being evident within relatively sensitive organs such as the genitalia. While some conditions do provide some telltale signs, such as prominent blisters, warts, or even something as simple as pain or redness within the genitalia, there are likewise others that are more subtle in their manifestations. Yes, it might be difficult to distinguish the following symptoms without the use of a confirmatory laboratory test. Still, conditions often come with accompanying symptoms apart from the telltale signs that are often reported.
If you are concerned about whether a particular symptom that you are having, particularly urinary frequency, is being caused by a specific underlying condition that could potentially cause severe damages to the structure of your genitalia, then perhaps looking deeper into the possible conditions and their related diagnostic criteria will help in ensuring that you will be able to narrow down your concerns and find the appropriate testing kit to solidify your preliminary conclusions. Of course, talking to your physician would always be the best way to approach this situation from any angle, but in cases where an imperative doctor’s visit is not possible, having yourself tested to employ initial management methods that could both protect your and prevent its transmission in the case of STDs, would go a long way in providing better health outcomes.
Once again, immediate consultation with your physician is the best way to approach any manifestation you might have within your genitalia. However, in cases where it might not be possible, a preliminary (take note of preliminary – not conclusive) diagnosis might be crucial in this entire endeavor.
Urinary frequency is defined just as its name would usually be interpreted even by people who are not knowledgeable regarding various jargon involving health topics and issues. Urinary frequency is essentially the tendency of the urinary system to signal the start of the urination process more frequently or rather, abnormally more frequently than it used to due to some underlying condition that might be forcing the system to release its contents prematurely. Urinary frequency is often hard to determine because it varies on a case-to-case basis, heavily depending on an affected individual's personality traits, bladder capacity, and liquid consumption. With such a variation between each case due to it being subject to multiple associated factors, taking one’s history of urinary frequency is an extremely difficult task to perform – leading physicians to base their diagnosis on the associated symptoms instead of focusing on this manifestation alone. One technique that can be performed in testing for urinary frequency is asking about urinary volume and voiding times to determine whether the symptom is evident or simply being either masked or imitated by the bladder capacity of the individual.
Urinary Frequency vs. Urinary Urgency
As previously mentioned, urinary frequency is defined as the abnormal increase in the number of bladder-voiding activities that the patient can observe relatively consistently. This is commonly cross-checked with the voiding volume and times of the patient to determine whether the bladder size of the individual is affecting the manifestation of the symptom – either making it worse or simply imitating urinary frequency when in fact, it is merely a matter of a relatively small bladder that is causing the patient to urinate more often.
Urinary urgency is an entirely different yet not so unrelated manifestation that is commonly differentiated from the latter because urgency does not necessarily culminate with bladder voiding. While urinary frequency is determined by the times the patient urinated, urgency is determined by the observed sensation or urge to urinate, no matter what the current bladder volume is. However, note that while urinary urgency often leads to incontinence or the lack of bladder control, incontinence due to urinary urgency should be differentiated from other causes of incontinence, such as stress incontinence.
Although it is generally determined on a case-to-case basis, specific symptoms are more commonly observed along with the manifestation of urinary frequency. Do note that these symptoms are not only precipitated and indicative of one condition but are only a representation of the common signs that accompany this particular manifestation. For instance, while a bacterial infection may cause some symptoms, others may be caused by damage in the internal structures of the urinary system.
Potential Causes of Urinary Frequency
To determine whether your manifestation is caused by an underlying condition that requires immediate management and transmission preventive measures, the following conditions are described along with their observed symptoms to help you create a preliminary differential diagnosis for the sake of the implementation of initial management measures.
Urethritis is a condition often caused by an underlying bacterial, fungal, or viral infection that tends to result in the manifestation of symptoms such as pain during urination, urinary urgency, and urinary frequency. Sexually transmitted conditions are the most common cause of urethritis, but they can still be caused by another infection that is not transmissible through sexual contact. STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and Herpes are the most common infections that precipitate such a manifestation, with discharge being likewise observed as a relatively rare symptom in infected individuals.
Urethritis is often diagnosed with the help of a urinalysis, a urethral swab, or urine culture, depending on the availability of resources and the discretion of the physician and their clinical judgment. Antibiotics may be used to manage the manifestation and subsequently address the underlying condition, but this may vary considering that no two cases may be virtually the same in all aspects.
Prostatitis is a condition exclusive to biological males due to how it primarily impacts the prostate gland. Prostatitis is the terminology used in describing the inflammation of the prostate gland, or even just the area around it, but is not indicative of cancer in any way. There are four different types of prostatitis that might have varying presentations depending on their severity and extent:
Cystitis is a relatively complex condition because it causes chronic inflammation of the bladder muscle layers, producing manifestations such as pelvic and abdominal pain and pressure, frequent urination, urinary urgency, and urinary incontinence. Affected individuals may also observe some level of discomfort that may span from a mild burning sensation to a severe feeling of pain. In addition to the previously discussed presentations, frequent urination during day and night may also be observed, along with pain during sexual intercourse.
An overactive bladder, also known as OAB, is a condition wherein an affected individual usually experiences having to urinate more frequently or having the urge to urinate more often than most people do. This urge may happen during the day or night, and it may likewise result in incontinence wherein an individual may unintentionally lose control over their bladder control (randomly urinate without any control). Specific behavioral techniques have been shown to produce positive effects in managing this condition, such as dietary changes, timed and consistent bladder voiding, and bladder-holding strategies, which may include the pelvic floor muscles.
Urinary Tract Infection
Contrary to popular belief, a urinary tract infection or UTI is not simply an infection of the genitalia. Instead, it is used to characterize a disease that involves your entire urinary system – potentially affecting even your kidney, ureter, bladder, and urethra, but in most cases, the bladder and urethra only. In most cases, it has been found that the prevalence of UTI in women is higher than in men, potentially due to the proximity between the rectum and the vagina – causing the transfer of pathogenic bacteria from the stool to the vaginal area upon wiping or washing improperly after defecation. As such, physicians usually recommend that women wipe their private parts towards the rectum (vagina to rectum) instead of the other way around to prevent the transmission of potentially pathogenic bacteria.
Prolapsed Bladder (Cystocele)
A prolapsed bladder, otherwise known as cystocele, is a condition wherein the bladder drops from its original normal position in the pelvis – positioning itself to push on the wall of the vagina. Typically, the organs in the pelvis, including the bladder, are held in place by muscles and connective tissues of the pelvic floor. However, if the pelvic floor becomes too weak to support the weight of the organs, or if there is too much pressure due to childbirth, chronic constipation, violent coughing, or heavy lifting, the supporting structure collapses, leading to the repositioning of the bladder. It is usually manageable even through non-surgical methods (for mild and moderate cases), but surgery may be necessary for severe cases where realignment of the organs is imperative.
The prostate gland in males produces a portion of the fluid that carries the semen outwards during ejaculation. It is located near the urinary tract, surrounding the urethra, while still being close enough to the seminal vesicle to contribute to the composition of semen. An enlarged prostate is essentially what its name suggests – it is a condition wherein the prostate gland grows in size, and it is a phenomenon that is common in males as they grow older. In non-cancerous cases, an enlarged prostate is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, and for men with BPH, only roughly 50% develop symptoms. Symptomatic individuals may experience the following presentations:
Underlying Sexually Transmitted Infections Causing Urinary Frequency
If you are experiencing urinary frequency and your symptoms are somehow different or distinct from the cases that have been mentioned above, perhaps you might now want to rule out potential sexually transmitted infections then, especially if you were sexually active during the period when the symptom has manifested.
Gonorrhea is a condition precipitated by the pathogen known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is a condition that primarily affects the mucus membranes of the genitalia – causing a systemic infection upon contact between an infected surface and an open mucosal membrane of the body. With such a mechanism, gonorrhea has likewise been found to infect the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, mouth, throat, eyes, and rectum.
The manifestation of gonorrhea is relatively vague due to how it is widely asymptomatic in most cases, but it would often present with discharge, pain in the testicles for the advanced condition in males, dysuria, and vaginal bleeding between periods. Rectal infection cases are characterized as a case that shows symptoms such as discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, and painful bowel movements.
A nucleic acid amplification test is commonly performed to diagnose gonorrheal cases due to the relative simplicity of the samples collected from the patients to complete the test. However, endocervical and urethral swabs may likewise be utilized to perform a culture test for the presence of the pathogen.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a single dose of 500 mg IM Ceftriaxone to manage gonorrhea cases. However, alternative regimens are likewise available for those who cannot be administered with Ceftriaxone or are sensitive to medication. Do note, however, that the antibacterial drug can only eradicate the pathogen from the system and cannot repair the previous damages that the condition has caused within the internal structure of a patient’s reproductive system.
Chlamydia is a relatively common sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis. It is a condition that is likewise known for being the “silent infection” due to its tendency to remain asymptomatic for a large part of its cycle – nonetheless causing complications that could cause further irreversible damage in the long run.
Chlamydia often manifests with symptoms of cervicitis in women such as discharge and easily induced endocervical bleeding and signs of urethritis such as pyuria, dysuria, and urinary frequency. Complications may include a pelvic inflammatory disease characterized by abdominal or pelvic pain, cervical motion tenderness, and uterine tenderness upon examination.
Chlamydia in men, on the one hand, would often cause a mucoid or watery urethral discharge along with dysuria. In cases where the condition has caused epididymitis, unilateral testicular pain, tenderness, and swelling are often observed.
Nucleic acid amplification tests or NAATs remain the gold standard for testing chlamydia cases due to their increased sensitivity and ability to perform analysis despite the use of readily available specimens from patients. Vaginal swabs are the most optimal option for testing in women, while urine samples are more preferred in the diagnosis of men.
Patients infected with chlamydia are advised, under the proper guidance of a physician, to take either a 7-day course of the appropriate antibiotics or a single-dose formulation antibiotic predetermined by the susceptibility of the pathogenic strain to the available medications at the institution’s disposal. Likewise, patients should employ abstinence throughout treatment to prevent any further transmission of the pathogenic organism.
Genital Herpes is a condition caused by two variations of the same virus that causes the manifestations of both genital and oral herpes – herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, or HSV-1 and HSV-2. Herpes is considered one of the most common infections in the United States. HSV is transmitted through the shedding of herpes lesions, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, and even oral secretions for cases where the patient has oral Herpes. Most infected individuals reported having an asymptomatic case of Herpes. Still, for symptomatic issues, patients would usually report experiencing the formation of herpetic lesions along with other systemic manifestations such as fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and headache.
Nucleic acid amplification tests or NAATs are often preferred for the diagnosis of Herpes due to how its sensitivity allows it to detect the virus with better accuracy. However, type-specific virologic tests are indicated in cases where the patient experiences recurring lesions as the viral shedding process of the patient become intermittent. Serologic testing is likewise indicated in certain situations, but HSV-1 serologic tests cannot distinguish between oral and genital infections.
There is currently no cure for Herpes. It is determined that the virus will remain within the body, either as an aggressive condition with the lack of management or a suppressed virus that remains asymptomatic and is no longer transmissible for as long the patient is taking their suppressive therapy. Antiviral medication is prescribed for consistent consumption to ensure that the virus is constantly suppressed into a latent state that does not progress or cause damage to the body.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted condition that is caused by a particular protozoan parasite known as Trichomonas vaginalis. A vast percentage of infected individuals often report that they did not have any symptoms due to how widely asymptomatic the condition is among infected patients. However, when trichomoniasis does present with specific manifestations, it can be characterized that its manifestation would range from mild irritation to severe inflammation, varying on a case-to-case basis.
In males, patients may experience pyuria, irritation inside the penis, and discharge. In contrast, itching, burning sensation, redness, urinary discomfort, and change in the consistency or appearance of their vaginal discharge may be observed in females. In both sexes, they may also experience pain when participating in sexual intercourse.
Physicians would commonly request a laboratory test specific to trichomoniasis due to the inability to diagnose the condition with the help of a physical examination alone.
Trichomoniasis is usually resolved with the help of oral antiprotozoal medication, and it is safe for pregnant women to ingest the prescribed medicine. However, one should note that trichomoniasis is a condition that has been found to frequently recur in patients – making it imperative to employ proper safety practices to prevent a repeat infection.
Available Testing Options for STD-related Urinary Frequency
If the symptoms that you are currently experiencing along with urinary frequency aligned with the symptoms of the STDs that have been mentioned above, the following testing options are excellent in ensuring that you can maintain your privacy while likewise obtaining the confirmatory data that you would have needed in confirming the cause of your condition.
What it Offers
STD Check Labs
Maximum expenses of $145.00
8-Panel STD Kit at $269.00
Ultimate STD Panel at $298
Free to use
Frequently Asked Questions
What is trichomoniasis commonly confused with?
It is commonly mistaken for chlamydia due to the parallelism between its symptoms.
Is it possible for trichomoniasis to manifest orally?
While rare, oral and rectal trichomoniasis is also possible.
How long do trichomoniasis infections usually last?
Without the necessary treatment measures, trichomoniasis infections may last for months or even years.
How long is herpes contagious after an outbreak?
Herpes is most contagious during and seven days after an outbreak.
Is it possible to transmit herpes without having an outbreak?
Yes. Viral shedding allows the transmission of the virus, even from areas where there is no evident manifestation of sores.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Asian Journal of Transfusion Science
Pan American Health Organization
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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To know how to address STDs, each individual must likewise be made aware that there are no two diseases that are entirely distinct from one another – each one carrying a similar symptom along with millions of other conditions, making it increasingly more difficult for physicians to provide a conclusive diagnosis, much less a layperson.