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Can Stress Cause STD Symptoms?

Although stress usually arises for mental and emotional reasons, its impacts move far beyond just the brain. Our bodies are designed to experience and react to stress, which means that prolonged periods of stress can manifest as physical symptoms.

The physical signs of stress include headaches, high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, chest pains, and stomach issues. And you might be surprised to know that it can even exacerbate or trigger STD symptoms.

In honor of Stress Awareness Month, we’re exploring how stress and STD symptoms related and giving a few tips for reducing anxiety.

STD Symptoms and Stress

Why Stress Causes STD Symptoms

While stress obviously can’t make you develop STDs you’ve never contracted before, it can bring out resting STD symptoms for infections you’ve previously caught and treated.

TEST SMARTLY LABS | Can Stress Cause STD Symptoms?Why? Research has shown that stress weakens the immune system, increasing your risk for falling ill as your body has less strength to fight off diseases. This means that previously dormant STD symptoms, such as genital warts, may resurface during stressful times as your body struggles to suppress them.

Symptoms of other STDs, such as HIV and human papillomavirus (HPV), may also resurface when you’re stressed out.

Stress Reduction Tips

The return of dormant STD symptoms is pretty much the last thing you need when you’re already emotionally and physically overwhelmed. Here are a few stress reduction tips to help keep your immune system functioning — and keep those STD symptoms at bay!

1. Lighten Your Load

The first of our stress reduction tips may seem a little obvious, but it’s key to take a few things off your plate when you’re overwhelmed. Prioritize the to-do-list items that must be tackled, but don’t pressure yourself to take on more than you can. If your stress is work-related, talk to a manager or supervisor about your concerns. If it’s a personal matter, troubleshoot the issue with family or friends. The first part of reducing stress is handling the things you can control.

2. Eat Healthy

Your body can’t combat stress if it’s not effectively fueled. Your immune system will already be dampened due to anxiety — so don’t make it worse by depriving yourself of nutrients! Follow the basics of good nutrition and you’ll be more primed to fight stress and the STD symptoms that can accompany it.

3. Exercise

Research has proved the stress-busting powers of exercise. Being physically fit triggers our happy hormones, endorphins, which can banish stress. Plus, physical activity will boost your overall health and strengthen your body, allowing you to better fight off stress (and thus, STD symptoms).


Monitor your sexual health with STD testing by TEST SMARTLY LABS! Our nationwide facilities offer quick, accurate, and confidential STD testing with no doctor’s orders required.

To learn more about STD symptoms or our services, find your nearest TEST SMARTLY LABS today!

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