Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can cause infertility in men and women. The cause can either be directly or indirectly as most of them show zero symptoms and can take time before being noticed, diagnosed, and treated.
In short, the link between STDs and infertility is straightforward; some STDs such as syphilis and chlamydia can cause infertility. Infertility-related problems include stillbirths, inability to conceive, and miscarriages.
How do STDs cause infertility?
STDs are common though people take time before noticing that they are infected. This could lead to late diagnosis or treatment when the infections could have spread to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or uterus.
Once the infections (STIs) develop and move up the reproductive system, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), further causing scarring, damage, inflammation, or blockage in the reproductive organs – uterus, fallopian tube, or ovaries.
People with damaged or blocked fallopian tubes are at risk of getting pregnant. Broadly, the two main cause of STD-linked infertility is damage to the fallopian tubes and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the two leading STDs that cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The bacteria enter the reproductive system within the following organs: vagina, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. This can lead to permanent reproductive organs if not treated in good time.
The problems of fallopian tubes are the leading cause of infertility in women. The problem with the fallopian tubes is either blockage or damage. This will make fertilization impossible as the sperm would not reach eggs in the fallopian tubes for fusion. Also, already fertilized eggs in the fallopian tubes might not reach the uterus for implantation.
Which STDs can cause infertility?
Many STDs can cause infertility problems. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are the top two leading sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that cause infertility both in women and men, not only in the United States of America but also across the globe.
Some other STDs that can cause infertility include Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Herpes simplex virus (HSV), Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Syphilis, and Mycoplasma genitalium (MG).
STDs that indirectly cause infertility.
STDs that indirectly cause infertility problems include syphilis, human papillomavirus (HPV), and herpes simplex virus (HSV).
Syphilis affects fertility in men and women if not treated. Specific strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to precancerous cells whose treatment can impact fertility. Lastly, the herpes simplex virus (HSV) can make partners abstain from sexual intercourse, affecting pregnancy.
STDs affecting infertility in women and male.
Gonorrhea – it is a bacterial infection affecting both men and women transmitted through sexual contact, and it mostly affects the genitals.
Chlamydia – It is a bacterial infection affecting both women and men though it can cause permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – it affects the immune system. It is not curable but is treatable. If not treated early enough, it develops to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). There are some fertility treatments designed specifically for those with HIV.
Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) – it is a bacterial infection causing a burning sensation when urinating, vaginal itching in women, and symptoms of arthritis in men.
Chlamydia – it is caused by bacteria, so antibiotics treatment. Sex during treatment is not recommendable.
Gonorrhea – treated using antibiotics for both women and men. The prescription should be strictly followed, and if symptoms continue, follow up with the doctor.
Mycoplasma genitalium – treated using antibiotics because bacteria cause it.
· Abstaining from sex if possible.
· Be faithful to one partner who is STD-free.
· Having fewer partners and getting tested together to ensure you are STD-free.
· Use condoms correctly.
Always respond to STIs earlier before they bring health complications to the reproductive organ system. Some STDs can cause infertility in both men and women, and do regular screening if possible.