Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) can cause a wide range of health complications, one of which is infertility.
However, not all STDs will affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant or to carry a baby to birth. Here is a review of some of the common STDs that could affect a woman’s fertility.
Chlamydia is a rather common STD. In fact, amongst STDs, it is the biggest causer of infertility in women. The disease is most common in people aged between 15 and 29 years. It is also more prevalent in women than men. Chlamydia is asymptomatic so it’s easy for one to get the infection and stay for a long time without being diagnosed or treated.
Chlamydia in women, if left untreated, can cause inflammatory pelvic disease (PID). PID often causes ectopic pregnancy and tubal infertility.
Women with the disease need to be honest with their doctors in order to prevent permanent damage of their reproductive systems.
Gonorrhea can cause just as much damage as Chlamydia except that it’s symptomatic. It is also the second on the list for STDs that cause infertility in women. The main difference between these two deadly diseases is that unlike Chlamydia, gonorrhea is more common in males than in females. If left untreated, gonorrhea can also cause PID leading to ectopic pregnancy and tubal infertility.
HIV is a well-known STD, probably the most unpopular on this list. The disease can be transmitted through sexual intercourse or from mother to baby during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. HIV has no cure and there are no vaccines to prevent it. The only way to prevent infections is through safe sex practices and controlled pregnancies.
HIV can decrease fertility in women. A research conducted by the U.S. National Institute of Health found that the levels of fertility in HIV+ women aged 25 years and above is significantly lower than that of HIV- women of the same age.
Genital herpes is also fairly common among sexually active people. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Genital symptoms include painful urination, painful blisters, and vaginal discharge. Close to 75% of all women diagnosed with herpes experience at least one flare-up during pregnancy.
In most cases, herpes will not affect the woman’s ability to become pregnant. However, couples are advised to abstain from sexual intercourse during a flare-up in either partner.
Trichomoniasis, also popular as trich, is an infection caused by a tiny, one-cell parasite and spread through sexual contact. It affects both men and women but is more common in women where the parasite usually infects the vagina, urethra, cervix, and bladder. Many times the disease will come without symptoms. However, where the symptoms develop, they usually appear within about a week after infection.
Symptoms in women include a change in vaginal discharge; you will notice an abnormal color or odor. Vaginal itching is also common as well as pain during sex.
There are a few other STDs such Mycoplasma genitalia not discussed here that can affect the fertility of a woman. The advice is for women to stay away from infection if possible. In the unfortunate event of an infection, see you doctor immediately.