STDs and Infertility
Often, infertility is unexplained. It can sometimes be very difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of infertility due to so many factors that can affect fertility. If you do get diagnosed with infertility, make sure you talk with your doctor about possible causes such as common STDs. STDs can harm your body in many ways and can lead to infertility if not treated.
It’s also important to get tested for STDs when you are trying to get pregnant because you do not want to pass any STDs onto your baby or your partner. There are many common STDs that cause infertility but they can be treated with prescription drugs so make sure you are tested for STDs when trying to get pregnant.
If you are going through fertility treatments such as IVF, most IVF clinics will require some STD testing before they start the IVF cycle such as HIV/AIDS, various Hepatitis and possibly Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis.
Below are some common STDs that you will be tested for if you are seeking fertility treatment such as IVF.
IVF clinics usually always test for HIV if you decide to go through with IVF. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is most commonly transmitted through sexual contact. Sexual contact can include vaginal sex, oral or anal. There are other ways to transmit HIV such as blood transfusions, needle sharing or breast mile but these are less common. Often, HIV symptoms will not be notices for years. The only way to tell if you have HIV is to get tested. Some symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Swollen lymph nodes and glands
Symptoms of HIV can also be similar to many other diseases and illnesses so never assume you have a particular disease or illness until you are properly tested by a professional.
One of the most common STDs in the U.S. is Chlamydia. Chlamydia affects millions of people each and every year. It’s typically transmitted through vaginal or oral intercourse and is causes by a bacteria in semen and vaginal fluid.
If chlamydia is not treated it can lead to PID, which is pelvic inflammatory disease and epididymitis which can lead to infertility. Most symptoms of Chlamydia are hidden so it’s hard to know if you have it unless you get tested.
If you do happen to have symptoms of Chlamydia, they can include:
- Painful intercourse for women
- Painful urination
- Discharge from the vagina or penis
Gonorrhea commonly affects men and women between the ages of 15 and 29, however, anyone can contract the disease. Commonly known as the clap, gonorrhea is caused by bacteria that live in bodily fluids. Gonorrhea is usually contracted through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. If left untreated, gonorrhea can also lead to fertility problems, including PID and epididymitis. Gonorrhea symptoms typically take between 2 and 10 days to manifest and include:
* nausea and vomiting
* in women, bleeding after sex
* yellow or bloody vaginal discharge
* green, white, or yellow discharge from the penis
Syphilis is usually contracted through sexual contact with an infected person. If caught early, it is easily treatable, however, if allowed to progress to its later stages, it can result in serious health problems, including blindness and psychological disorders. Men are more likely to contract the disease, though women are also at risk. Syphilis symptoms appear in stages and include:
* sores, called “chancres”
* brown rash
* sore throat and swollen glands
Genital warts are caused by the HPV virus, and are transmitted through oral, anal, and vaginal sex. It is an extremely common disease, with over 100 different strains. Many genital warts sufferers will exhibit no symptoms. Those that do illustrate symptoms tend to develop cauliflower-shaped warts on their genitals and in the pelvic region. These warts can grow on the:
Herpes is a very common STD, and is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact with an infected partner. Herpes is a lifelong disease, but can be managed through medications. Herpes symptoms tend to appear as outbreaks, which may be months or years apart. Symptoms include:
* itching and burning around the genitals and anus
* lesions on the buttocks, thighs, vagina, or penis
* vaginal discharge
Hepatitis B is a very serious disease that can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, contact with infected blood, or by using infected needles. Hepatitis B can become chronic in some sufferers, leading to severe liver damage. There is now a vaccine available to protect against this disease in those who have never been infected. Many sufferers will exhibit no symptoms while others will experience:
* nausea and vomiting
* loss of appetite
* abdominal pain
Trichomoniasis is a very common STD and is usually transmitted through unprotected vaginal sex. If left untreated, it can cause fallopian tube inflammation, complicating fertility. Symptoms are often invisible in men, however women commonly produce symptoms. Symptoms of trichomoniasis include:
* yellow-green vaginal discharge
* pain during sexual intercourse
* itchy genitals
Sometimes referred to as crabs, pubic lice are actually small, parasitic insects that feed off of human blood. Pubic lice attach to coarse hair all over the body, particularly in the genital region. Pubic lice can be easily transmitted through close contact with an infected person. Symptoms generally include itching and irritation.
For more detailed information on sexually transmitted disease, visit Epigee.com.