Can sexually transmitted diseases cause infertility? An expert answers


With 1 in 5 women being infertile due to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) have become a common public health concern. Sexual interaction between two people can be responsible for spreading STDs or sexually transmitted infection (STI). Though the spread mainly occurs during vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse, it can occasionally happen with other intimate physical interactions and result in infertility in females and males as well. It is brought on by bacteria or a virus that multiplies within the body and causes STDs.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an illness frequently brought on by STDs, can cause tubal factor infertility. Conditions such as gonorrhea and chlamydia may be associated with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and can cause damage to a woman’s fallopian tubes and thus, causes pregnancy complications. Both male and female reproductive systems can be affected by it. Not having any visible symptoms is often the case with such conditions.

Do STDs lead to infertility?

Both women and men may experience infertility as a direct or indirect result of sexually transmitted infections. When STDs are ignored, infections can move up the reproductive system and affect the woman’s uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, resulting in injury, scarring, or inflammation. If the reproductive organs are affected by the virus, then, this can lead to infertility.

Also Read: Infertility isn’t always about age: These factors can be responsible too

STDs that influence both male and female infertility

According to a National Institutes of Health report, the relationship between STDs and male infertility is unknown. However, they may directly impact male sexual function, such as erectile dysfunction.

When it comes to the female reproductive system, STDs can restrict the normal functioning of the organs which causes infertility.

1. Chlamydia (chlamydia trachomatis)

The most common type of STD, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), is chlamydia. Both men and women can contract chlamydia through sexual interaction. Since chlamydia shows no symptoms, many people who have it are unaware of it. In females, untreated chlamydia can harm and scar the uterus or fallopian tubes, decreasing the likelihood of getting pregnant. Chlamydia can affect the health of sperm in men, which can lead to male infertility.

2. Gonorrhea

Untreated gonorrhea can lead to infertility in women. Gonorrhea can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes and can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can result in scarring of the tubes which further comes with a greater risk of pregnancy complications and infertility. Males who have gonorrhea may develop epididymitis, an inflammation of the sperm ducts.

3. Syphilis

Syphilis is an STD brought on by a bacterial infection that is typically transmitted during intercourse. However, it can also be spread by coming into contact with a syphilis sore. Mothers can transmit syphilis to their unborn children if they are not treated.

Although syphilis doesn’t directly affect male fertility, it can lead to problems that can lead to epididymitis. This disorder can cause scarring in the sperm ducts, which can prevent sperm from being released during ejaculation.

What can be done to reduce the risk of infertility due to an STD?

You can reduce the chances of infertility by treating the STD that might increase your risk. Here’s how STDs can be managed:

1. Chlamydia

Since chlamydia is brought on by bacteria, antibiotics like doxycycline and azithromycin can be used to treat it. To guarantee that the infection clears up completely, it’s crucial to refrain from having sex while receiving treatment and to take the entire prescribed amount.

2. Gonorrhea

Both males and females can take antibiotics like Azithromycin can be used to treat gonorrhea. If symptoms persist, patients should follow up with their doctor and take the prescribed medicine.

3. Syphilis

Penicillin is an antibiotic drug that can be used to treat syphilis in its early stages and destroy the organism that causes it.

Prevention tips to avoid STDs

Here’s what you can do reduce the risk of STDs:

  • Avoid unprotected sex is the best approach to avoid contracting an STD or STI.
  • Correct use of condoms can reduce the risk of contracting an STD.
  • Never engage in sexual activity with somebody who exhibits symptoms like a rash, genital sores, or discharge.
  • The likelihood of catching an STD can be decreased by having fewer partners and being tested with a partner.
  • The most prevalent STDs can be warded off with vaccinations.
  • Before engaging in sexual activity, discuss how to avoid contracting STDs with any potential partners.
  • Get tested to confirm whether you might have an STD.
  • Continue receiving therapy since many STDs can be cured and all can be managed.

However, it is advisable to make sure that you don’t feel any itching or irritation in your vaginal area and genitals. If you have any, consult a doctor and get it treated as soon as possible. When it comes to intercourse, try to use condoms every time and avoid doing it orally. It is also advised that one should always pee before and after sex to avoid the risk of STDs. With such common precautions, you can avoid having to deal with greater risks.


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