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Anxiety or STD?

19 days ago I had protected sex with a seasoned porn star; both oral and vaginal.  I was pretty nervous during the experience so I wasn't always fully erect thus the condom was at times loose.  The encounter lasted about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Afterwards (a little late...I wish I could emphasize this for anyone considering such a risk) I started to worry about her exposure and catching an STD.  The fact that I had shaved the base of my penis earlier in the day further worried me that this might increase the chances of transmission especially since that area isn't well protected by the condom.

I swear it was the next day (but after reading this forum I question if it was really a few days later, I started to feel a mild but sharp pain in the head of my penis.   This feeling persisted for about 17 or so days.  During the 17 days the degree of pain varied but was always mild and felt a lot like getting soap inside the opening except that it persisted (in an on and off fashion).  Of course the feeling made me worry even more and I had some itching (the first week) but I'm pretty sure this was in my head (the one suppose to do the thinking).   At about 14 days my back started aching and I've experienced some mild cold symptoms but nothing that I would find strange normally.  At this point (18-19 days), I'm starting to feel more normal again (minus the back pain and mild cold symptoms) however masturbating did make the mild pain come back briefly again and seemed to aggrevate my back pain.  Other than being sensitive to the touch for the first 15 days and possibly being a bit red (like from friction; but if I was red, it was so mild I couldn't tell if I was making things up), I had no other symptoms.

So my questions are:

Can anxiety and guilt really cause this degree of symptoms?  I've seen this suggested in some posts.

If it is an STD which one is most likely?  From the other posts, the quick onset seems to suggest it can only be herpes.

Finally while I understand you can't be specific, the question everyone asks...are my odds good or bad?

Thanks, this is one of the most difficult things I've ever gone through.
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Avatar universal
I was relieved for a while but I was also confused by your answer when you said no STDs cause the symptoms I described.  I read some people mistake GH for a simple irritation of the skin, razor burn, jock itch, etc...   I also read that muscle aches and flu like symptoms are an indiction.  Furthermore, I'm not sure what a buring sensation feels like so I don't know if this was the mild sharp pain I described.  All I can say is it felt like getting a hair (or soap as I described earlier) in the opening of my penis. So I started to worry that maybe I didn't explain myself well enough.  Or was it not so much the symptoms but how they presented themselves that indicates its not from an STD? I certainly never had the telltale signs (red blisters) but also read that only happens in 20% of cases anyway (is that wrong?)

Anxiety definitely seems to play a part as thinking about it even at day 24 (today) triggers some of the symptoms at times but much milder (it certainly doesn't hurt to touch the rim or squeeze the head of my penis anymore as it did before).  I don't really feel anything when I'm not thinking about it.

Anyway, I had a standard STD panel done for Chlamymdia, Gonorrhoeae, Hepatitis, HerpeSelect, Syphilis, HIV.   These were done at Day 18.  I realize this is a bit early but I wanted to reconfirm my baseline (all negative) and they were.   I didn't get any levels just negative.  I almost wish the Chlamymdia or Gonorrhoeae tests had been positive just to help me stop worrying about Herpes (I know that doesn't quite make sense).

I sure hope you're right and keep trying to comfort myself with the fact that you're an expert.   As for what's next, I had a recent exposure IgM Herpes test done at 21 Days.   From prior testing and the recent one, I'm very sure I've never had Herpes I or II before so I thought the IgM test could be informative.   I'll then have the standard STD panels done again at Week 6 and then in 6 months.  I also have a doctors visit scheduled but that is still a couple of weeks out.

So if you could explain your first answer a bit further to clear up the confusion that would help me a lot.  If you'd like to comment on the tests great but I understand that may be more a new topic.   I posted it more in case it helps anyone who might be going through the same agony.

Thanks Again.
Helpful - 1
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
I'll just repeat the main part of my original reply:  "No STD causes the symptoms you describe."  You do not need "standard STD panels done again at week 6 and then in 6 months".  You need to accept reality, move on, and just learn to live with your symptoms, which do not indicate any health problem that will ever harm you or a sex partner.  If you cannot move on, seek mental health counseling.  I suggest it out of compassion, not criticism.

I won't have any further responses.

HHH, MD
Helpful - 0
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Any primary care provider (GP, family medicine, internist, etc) would be fine.  Or your local health department STD clinic (or GU medicine clinic, as they are called in the UK and some commonwealth countries).

HHH, MD
Helpful - 0
239123 tn?1267647614
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
No STD causes the symptoms you describe.  Anxiety often causes many of them.  (Actually, anxiety may or may not directly cause physical symptoms.  But it certainly can magnify otherwise normal body sensations in ways that are perceived by the brain as pain, discomfort, etc.)  Shaving the pubic area doesn't increase STD risk.  That your partner was a "seasoned porn star" could be bad news or good:  Lots of partners and thus high risk, but in an industry that is pretty knowledgeable about prevention and, in general, may have a relatively low rate of STD (notwithstanding one well-publicized min-epidemic of HIV infection).  And "loose" or not, a condom is a condom; you were highly protected.

So the answers are 1) Yes, anxiety can cause the symptoms you describe.  2) Your symptoms don't suggest any STD, including herpes.  3) Your risks for STD were low.

The standard advice applies:  See a health care provider if your symptoms persist and you are concerned.  But don't expect him/her to find a physical cause.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
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Avatar universal
One more quick question?  What type of doctor do you recommend seeing?   General Practioner?
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Avatar universal

I really hope the doc is right on this one.   It's really hard for me to believe all of the symptoms I had were just in my head.  Especially the pain in the tip of my penis.  In any case, I have an appointment scheduled next week with a counselor.

If case someone out there is going through a similar situation, here's my update:

The IgM test on Day 21 was Equivocal.

Symptoms gone Week 4.

Week 5 + 1 Day: Pain the tip of my penis is back

Week 5 + 2 Days: Muscle ache in back of legs

Week 5 + 3 Days: Red spot like big pimple without head exactly 90 degress to left side right where the waist band of my boxers are.   I had a similar one with the first episode right under my belly button again under the waist band.   I've had a pimple in both these places in the past but not frequently.   The first time I didn't think anything of it.  The second time I find it too coincidental.  The problem is there can be other explanations.

Week 5 + 4 Days: nasty flu symptoms; chills, continued muscle ache, some spasming of the glut muscles; swollen lymph nodes; runny nose; sore throat (from draining)

Week 5 + 5 Days: flu symptoms starting to clear up; still slight muscle fatigue

Week 5 + 6 Days: pain in penis gone for the most part, nose still stuffy but clearing.  Read spot about the same may be darker.


I feel for anyone going through this.  Its extremely tough emotionally waiting.

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Week 5 + 7 Days: the flu symptoms got worse after day 5 and now are finally clearing up.  I'm very congested.   The pimple like bump on my left side has stared to form a white-ish center.  However, it's more crust like than like from a pimple.
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Avatar universal
A related discussion, reply was started.
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