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Bizarre symptoms with negative test results...

29 y/o Male here. So 14 weeks ago I engaged in unprotected, heterosexual drunken sex with a stranger. I have crippling anxiety which has caused me to constantly worry about the possibility of contracting an STI. We only had sex once. Here are my symptoms:

- intermittent pain in penis, in the urethra, not while urinating. Just while sitting at work.
- after urinating it feels like there's a small amount left in the tank that won't empty.
- terrible, day-long headaches about 2 weeks after encounter, that stopped after about 2 weeks.
- pain in my wrists, ankles, & knees, intermittent, changing daily. This symptom is currently the most concerning.
- yellow-ish coating of tongue for about 3 weeks, has since cleared up.
- I had a sore appear on my ankle, just one, it could be a bug bite...
- fatigue
- depression
- minor muscle aches in neck, back, & triceps

The kicker is, I had blood work and an urinalysis done at 4 weeks, then again at 12 weeks. All tests came back negative. They even did an ESR test and full CBC (complete blood count) to test for other possible causes or signs of infection, and everything looked normal.

I have become obsessed with checking my symptoms, and every little pain sends me into panic-mode. With all test results negative, do you think I'm in the clear? Could my symptoms be caused by stress? Another thing to mention, is that because of the stress I have been binge-eating at night, and gained nearly 40 pounds since the encounter. I was 190, now I'm nearing 230.

I'm just looking for answers. Thanks for reading.
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207091 tn?1337709493
Did you have actual STI testing? Did you tell them that you had unprotected sex?

You need to find out if they did specific testing for things like gonorrhea, chlamydia, NGU, etc. You don't mention those tests, and those won't be revealed in blood tests or a regular urinalysis.

No STI would cause you to binge eat, to gain weight, cause depression, minor muscle aches in neck, back, & triceps or give you a bump on your ankle. Those are unrelated. With the exception of the bump on your ankle, which could easily be a bug bite, I'd say the rest are easily due to stress or other mental health concerns.

While you find out if you had actual STI testing, you really need to consider talking to your doctor about your mental health. If you aren't already under treatment for your anxiety and depression, I hope you change that soon.  (I say that with only compassion, no criticism.)

Helpful - 0
Thank you for your thorough response—I've seen your answers on many other threads and really appreciate all that you're doing to alleviate concern and point users in the right direction.

I just started seeing a therapist for my mental health issues, and so far it has definitely been helping. If I'm being completely honest, the majority of the stress surrounding this encounter stems from the fact that I am a relatively happily married man. I haven't told my wife about the one night stand, but will be doing so soon, likely during a couples session with a counselor present. The guilt is literally eating away at me. I feel like a monster. I don't even remember the vast majority of that night...

Since you are so versed in this topic, I'd like to give you a breakdown of what's been done so far:

- At 1 week I had a complete panel of STI testing done - at this point I didn't realize that some infections had such long incubation periods. The doctor failed to tell me this as well (it was not my primary care, he was booked that week). Everything came back negative. This included a urine test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, and a blood test for HIV, Hepatitis, and Syphilis.

- At 2 weeks I had a 3rd Gen rapid test for HIV done at a Planned Parenthood. This was negative as well.

- At 5 weeks I had a 4th Gen HIV blood test, which at 5 weeks is apparently extremely accurate, according to the nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood. At this time I also had a NAAT (urine, not swab) test done for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. All of these tests came back negative.

-  At 10 weeks I went back to Planned Parenthood, with new symptoms, but they refused to order more testing until I reached the conclusive 12-week mark.

- At 12 weeks I had more tests done at my PCP's office. This included: 4th Gen HIV 1/2 antigen and antibody testing, HCV AB (REFLEX TO HCV PCR) test, Syphilis via an RPR test, ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) test,  Thyroid Cascade test, ANA (anti-nuclear antibodies) test, CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel), CBC (complete blood count) panel,  Rheumatoid Factor (RF) test, and a CT Scan of my brain (for the headaches). EVERYTHING came back within normal range (white blood cell count, etc.) or NEGATIVE.

That brings us to today, where I'm left feeling like a Hypochondriac and mildly insane.

I'm not sure how you test for NGU, that was definitely not listed on my results. However, I would assume that any bacterial or viral infection would have been eluded to by one of the above tests - particularly the ESR and white blood cell count, both of which I would expect to be elevated.

For some reason, I became convinced that I have DGI - or a Disseminated Gonococcal infection, which happens if Gonorrhea is left untreated, and can cause migratory arthritis, headaches, and small sores to appear on your ankles, wrists and extremities. I brought this up to my doctor prior to him ordering these tests. He said he would see which tests might help diagnose DGI. I'm not sure if you're familiar with this, but if so, wouldn't the above tests at the very least elude to DGI if I had it?

My current symptoms include joint pain that moves around, a sore on my ankle (not pustular, but raised, red), and headaches that have since gone away, but for 2 weeks were very persistent, lasting for the majority of the day. I am also experiencing mild discomfort in my penis, inside the urethra, not near the tip, where it feels like I still have to pee after using the bathroom. Like I have some mild case of Urethitis or something.

Also, it didn't help my anxiety when the other party found me on Twitter... her twitter is full of two types of posts: those about promiscuity and sex, and those about recovery from HEROIN use.

PHEW... sorry for the book. I think venting all of that helped, though. If you have the time to read through this and give your thoughts I would greatly appreciate it. You seem more versed than my PCP on these symptoms and infections.
207091 tn?1337709493
Ok so first - thanks for sharing with me that it's guilt - that makes a LOT of sense.

I'm not saying your symptoms aren't real - and I haven't read the rest of your post yet, but I want to share this with you - https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/dec/29/stop-catastrophising-expert-guide-psychologist Catastrophizing is something we see a LOT of here.

So at 1 week, your gonorrhea, chlamydia and NGU tests are conclusive. You don't have those. (Which hepatitis are they testing you for? It should only be B, and you may have immunity to it if you've been vaccinated.)

Your 4th gen HIV test done at 5 weeks is conclusive. You do not have HIV.

Your 12 week HCV test (totally unnecessary, by the way) is conclusive, as is RPR.

They test you for NGU by looking for white blood cells in your urine. I assume they would have done this with your urine gonorrhea and chlamydia testing. It usually is.

Okay, now that I see the posts about the woman finding you on twitter, and her recovery from heroin, I see why they did the HCV test, even though it's almost never transmitted sexually, and when it is, it's by anal sex. In any case, your test is conclusive.

When I first read your post, I wondered about DGI, but your tests say you don't have it. Your NAAT test and certainly your CBC would show it.

Since you still have the urethral symptoms, find out if you were tested for NGU. That's a very simple urine test, and if they didn't do it, I'd be really annoyed. Have they done a dipstick urine test?

Not to make this too simple, but since you're so stressed - are you not drinking enough water? Getting enough sleep? Drinking alcohol? Caffeine? All of these can irritate the bladder, give you headaches, etc. Don't discount stress and fatigue as causing your symptoms. That's not minimizing them - stress and anxiety causes very real symptoms.

Still make sure you were tested for NGU, though. Has your doctor seen the thing on your ankle? That's not caused by an STD, but may still need checking out.

Hang in there. Oh and block that woman on Twitter. Nothing good will come of you seeing her tweets. If you decide to tell your wife, if she finds out that you are following her on Twitter, that won't be good, I promise.  (You didn't ask for that bit of advice, but I'm giving it anyway lol.)

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Mate, listen to some really good advice.  Please.  Don't tell your wife.  Your guilt might be eating away at you... but it's YOUR guilt.  You can weather this storm, you will be OK.  So will your marriage.  If you love yourself (well... even if you don't entirely) and you love your wife... don't tell her.  Might seem like odd advice but please, listen to me.  Deal with your issues... don't put this on her by trying to unburden your guilt.   You did wrong, you will survive, but trying to unload your burden by being honest about this incident... will do nothing to help her and in reality... you're being selfish by doing so.  Learn from your mistake... get right with yourself... move on from this.
Helpful - 0
I agree with this. Coming from someone who went through your exact situation. Let us know what you find out. don't limit yourself to just STD testing. Visit a Rheumatologist as there may be an underlying autoimmune disorder.
I totally agree with this. So long as you don't have NGU and haven't had sex with her (which would necessitate the need for telling her), then telling her unloads your burden and puts it on her.

Unless you keep doing it - then all bets are off. If it's a one-time thing, telling her to release your guilt is only for you.

As a woman who has been cheated on, I'd rather he'd have worked through his issues than continued to cheat and tell me. So yes, so long as you stop doing it, work through it, and have nothing infectious, I say don't tell if it's a one-off.  
Thank you all for taking the time to give your suggestions and words of encouragement. I've been dealing with the guilt and stress caused by Catastrophizing (Thanks for the great read, J) every possible scenario and outcome of my infidelity for what feels like forever, and finding this forum has been an emotional lifesaver. I will continue to work through my issues in therapy, and I'll consider not sharing my stupid mistake with my wife, although I'm not sure that I can promise that I won't come clean.

I feel terrible for what I did.

But, my therapist has a similar opinion to yours. While he didn't come right out and say "you shouldn't tell her" (therapists never seem to give actual definitive advice, even though most of the time I feel like that's exactly what I need) he asked if I felt that telling her to simply alleviate my own burden of guilt when I'm sure it won't happen again and I'm working through my self-destructive tendencies was the best option for moving forward.

Back to my symptoms—I will be going back to my doctor's and asking if they've tested for NGU early next week, and I'll be sure to update you all with the results. J - I had a few follow-up questions regarding your last reply (if you'll indulge me once more with your knowledge, of course!):

You said at that my tests for HIV, Hepatitis C, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia are all conclusive, based on when the tests were administered. Also, some of them were repeated multiple times (Gon/Chlam/HIV again at 5 weeks). That's all good news, and essentially the same thing I was told by my doctor (your information was much more thorough). Also, with the DGI symptoms (migratory joint pain, sores on my ankle, a few of which just appeared since yesterday and are extremely itchy, again, could be mosquito bites, we live in the middle of the woods) - wouldn't DGI be ruled out if my one-week Gonorrhea test was negative? Wouldn't the only way for me to have DGI to be if I left Gonorrhea untreated?

I'm just trying to rule out DGI, though my symptoms are so close to those listed for a disseminated/systemic Gonococcal infection. Also, my CBC showed a completely normal white blood cell count, actually on the lower end of the spectrum (normal range was 5-10 x 10^9/L - mine was 6.8), which I'm assuming would be elevated in the presence of nearly any infection...

Maybe I'm just being paranoid.

IF it's not NGU, and it's not any of the aforementioned STIs, then could if possibly be any of the following (considering my normal white blood cell count and other normal test results);

- Trichomoniasis
- Mycoplasma genitalium
- herpes simplex

And if so, how would I go about testing for these? Can I just ask my PCP for testing for those specific infections?

I have had sex with my wife maybe twice in the past 12 weeks. I abstained until I received the negative results on my 5 week STI tests, which at the time was for everything except for Hep C. She started asking why I was no longer interested - I told her I was working through some personal issues, but since I'm usually the one asking to increase the frequency that we are intimate with one another, it seemed very odd to her. We had sex at maybe week 6 or so.

Something else to consider - they never tested for Hep B, the nurse said I was "in the appropriate age-range" and that I would have had the vaccine when I was younger. Though I'm not sure my symptoms align with that type of infection.

wouldn't DGI be ruled out if my one-week Gonorrhea test was negative? Wouldn't the only way for me to have DGI to be if I left Gonorrhea untreated?  - Yes, you can rule it out entirely. Your tests were negative and conclusive. You don't have DGI.

Trich is hard to find in men, and most often doesn't give symptoms. I'd be surprised if that's what was causing this.

A UTI is a possibility, as is MG.

Here's some info on MG  - https://www.self.com/story/mycoplasma-genitalium-sti-test

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-permits-marketing-first-test-aid-diagnosis-sexually-transmitted-infection-known-mycoplasma - the new test is called the Aptima Mycoplasma genitalium Assay. Your doctor may not know about it. Many don't.

Here are the treatment guidelines by the CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/emerging.htm#myco (The testing info is out of date now, obviously)

By now, if this was herpes, you'd have had actual sores, and not just the rest of it. It's not at all likely to be herpes.

When you go back to your doc, I'd ask about NGU, a UTI and MG. You may have to show your doc the MG info. That's okay - they can't stay up to date on everything.

You've probably had the hep B vaccine, or your partner did. It's not likely you both didn't, if she's close to your age. If you're in the US, Canada, UK or other developed country, hep B isn't really something you need to worry about.

Remember that guilt does not equal risk. Symptoms don't equal risk, and don't discount that at least some of these symptoms may be anxiety, lack of sleep, stress, etc. I'm not minimizing them - stress and anxiety do horrible things to our bodies.
At this point, I'm not sure that any of my symptoms aren't caused by stress or anxiety.

As mentioned, I've also sort of let myself go. I'm a programmer, so without my daily morning regime of weights or running, I get little to no movement during the day, and I type between 6-10 hours daily. My wrist pain could be Tendinitis or Carpal Tunnel. My knee pain could be the extra 35 lbs in the past 14 weeks.

Once I have conclusive NGU, UTI, and MG results, I think it's time for me to move on...

I'll report back next week. Thanks again.
Totally agree, and good luck. Let us know what happens. :)

Also, 35 lbs in 14 weeks is a lot - stress or not. Ask them to test your thyroid again - you need these tests done to get a complete picture of your thyroid:

Free T4
Free T3
TSH - these test actual thyroid function

You also need these:

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOab)
Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb) - these look for Hashimotos, an autoimmune thyroid condition. You need both because some people make one type of antibody, and not the other, and some make both.

Good luck bud. Keep us informed for sure. You are going through the same fears I went through. I also thought I had DGI. Even though I had 3 negative urine tests to confirm I don't. I even held my urine overnight for over 8 hours to make sure that I got a good first catch sample. My Rhuemy still can't pinpoint what I have due to the muscle aches and joint pains but my rhuematoid factor is slightly elevated. I've also been diagnosed with Low-T. Doing therapy for that too. Just things you can check. Good luck.
Got to agree with the above.  If you're never going to repeat this then telling your wife will only make YOU feel better.  Deal with your guilt and move forward.  As all the others have said, do get tested for NGU (simple swab and a look under the microscope for WBC) and if all is clear then you're good. All the best mate
For the record I am not advocating lying and cheating, there's just no need to transfer your feelings on to someone you care about if you never plan to do this again
Hey everyone,

I wanted to give an update on my symptoms and my test results.

TL;DR: Negative and normal.

Two weeks ago I went back to my primary, after the discussion had on this forum, and requested that I be tested for NGU, UTI, and MG. At the time, I was still having some bizarre urethral symptoms which correlated with Urethritis. My left testicle was also tender, and I believed it to be somewhat swollen, and I was still experiencing some discomfort in my joints. My doctor, although nearly convinced that I was simply suffering from guilt and anxiety, ordered the above tests, along with a re-test for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, since I was already providing a urine sample.

All of my results came back negative. There were no WBC in my urine, my protein levels were normal, my GC/CT tests were negative, as was my MG. He also preformed a prostate exam prior to providing a sample, which he said would help to determine whether I could have Prostatitis and would help the accuracy of my test results. My prostate was not enlarged and felt normal. He disagreed that my left testicle felt swollen.

Similar to a previous comment on this thread, I didn't urinate after midnight the night before the appointment, and held it until I provided my sample the following morning to ensure its accuracy.

While I was thrilled with the negative results, I couldn't help but to feel like something must've been overlooked. How could all of these symptoms be caused by stress or anxiety? Thankfully I can work that out in therapy as I continue along my journey.

As for my symptoms, the minor swelling and pain in my testicle seemed to fade within a week or so, as did the odd sensation of having urine stuck in my urethra after peeing. I still feel like my flow isn't as strong as it was before the incident, and I've noticed that my ejaculation is much weaker, as well. Though it could likely be dehydration. I'm attributing the testicle pain to weight-lifting, which I recently began doing after my last post on this thread.

All-in-all, I do feel better. Not emotionally, and certainly not about my actions, but physically, and somewhat mentally.

There was one minor scare, my wife had some odorless milky white discharge last week, but that was diagnosed as a yeast infection.

As for my wife, I'm still not sure what I'm going to do. I know that I love her and that I made a horrible mistake. I know that it won't happen again. That said, the guilt is still a powerful feeling, even overwhelming at times. Though it is improving.

Speaking of my wife, she may already know all that she cares to. When I came back from my work trip, I was obviously very doting and clung to her. I guess I told her that I loved her a few too many times, because she did end up asking (at the end of April) if something had happened on the trip, or if I had cheated on her. I sort of ignored the question and changed topic, and shied away from it. A few weeks later she said in the car "I really think something happened in Jersey. Either something happened to you, or you did something." I again just dodged the question and played it off as nothing. I'm a weak man, I couldn't bring myself to tell her.

Last night, while at the counter making dinner, she came over to me and hugged me close- we haven't been super intimate lately so it was a welcomed surprise. She said that she's been mad at me, and doesn't want to be mad anymore, and we just held each-other for awhile. I didn't ask what she had been mad about, I just held her. My wife is no fool. It felt like she knew. Or perhaps she was simply upset that I had forgotten a relative's birthday, or to put the seat down, and I'm just using this moment as an excuse to feel better about my actions.

Whichever the case, I think we're going to be OK.

We'll do couples counseling in the future, and if she brings it up, we'll address it at that time. Thank you auntieJ, and all, for helping me get through this troubling time in my life. I'm not sure what I would have done without your guidance.

I just re-read this thread.

Make sure they test your thyroid, test you for Lyme, West Nile (the mosquito bite) - rule everything out.

Your wife may know, or suspect. We aren't stupid. If she is willing to let it go when you don't talk about it, she doesn't want to know, at least for know. Your job know is to forgive yourself and take steps to stop this self-destructive thing you've got going on.

It's also to remember this feeling, so if you get tempted again - and you will - you'll be less likely to act on it. One night of sex, no matter how good it is, isn't worth all this stress.

Hang in there, and remember we're here if you need us, or just want to say hi. :)
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