STDs are infections that are both received and spread, by having sex with someone who has a sexually transmitted disease.
These can be gotten not only by having traditional sexual intercourse, but can also be acquired through sexual acts that involve the mouth or anus as well.
The most common reason for infertility and STDs to be linked is usually due to their being left untreated, for one reason or another. The most frequent reason being that many people are unaware that they have contracted this problem, and can carry the disease(s) for months, years or even for a lifetime in some cases.
Here is a list of sexually transmitted diseases that can have an effect on fertility. They include:
This is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases there is. Partially due to the fact that it is so easily spread, because many times it simply does not cause any symptoms. In fact, it has often been called, the ‘silent epidemic’. If, however, symptoms do occur, they usually tend to become noticeable within approximately 1 to 3 weeks of contact.
They can include the following:
- Itching or burning around or in the vagina
- Abnormal vaginal discharge that may contain an odor
- Painful menstrual cycles
- Pain during urination or more frequent urination
- Abdominal pain accompanied by fever
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bleeding between periods
- Lower pelvic pain
In men, the symptoms are slightly more noticeable, although most times they go without symptoms as well.
- Itching and burning around the opening of the penis
- Cloudy or clear discharge coming from the tip of the penis
- Pain or swelling around the testicular area
- Pain while urinating
Treatment is usually just simple oral antibiotics such as Doxycycline or Zithromax, and should clear up in just a few short weeks. After you finish your medication, however, it is recommended that you be re-tested to ensure that the disease is gone.
If you have contracted chlamydia, and it goes untreated, there are several risks to a woman’s future fertility. It may cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to the fallopian tubes becoming damaged, causing infertility. It can also increase the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy, as well as having a premature birth, during which a woman can transfer the disease to her baby during childbirth.
In a man, if it goes untreated, he can also have difficulties with fertility, as it can cause disruption of sperm transport or impair the sperm function which is related to what is known as male factor infertility.
This is a bacterial infection and most often affects moist, warm areas of the reproductive tract such as the uterus, cervix, the urethra and fallopian tubes. It is also known to affect and grow in the anus, throat and mouth. Much like chlamydia, gonorrhea is also quite common and may not have noticeable symptoms. If one does become aware of any symptoms, they usually will occur within approximately 2 to 10 days of exposure. But, in some cases, the symptoms may take up to 30 days to present. In women, the symptom of discharge often leads a woman to think that she has a yeast infection, making her treat with an over-the-counter yeast infection drug.
Symptoms can include:
- Discharge from the vagina that can be either whitish or greenish yellow
- Burning in the throat due to oral sex
- Conjunctivitis (itchy or red eyes)
- Vulvitis (swelling of the vulva)
- Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
- Spotting after sexual intercourse
- Swollen glands in the throat, also due to oral sex
- Burning during urination
- Bleeding between menstrual cycles
In men, the symptoms usually appear within 2 to 14 days and include:
- Painful or swollen testicles
- Burning during urination
- Swollen glands in the throat due to oral sex
- Discharge from the penis that can either be whitish or greenish yellow
- Burning in the throat, also due to oral sex
Treatment for Gonorrhea is usually either oral or injectable antibiotics.
Untreated gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease which can lead to tubal issues, something that occurs in approximately 15% of women who are infected. It can also lead to ectopic pregnancy as well as miscarriage, premature delivery, babies with low birth weights and eye infections in the infants themselves, which, if untreated, could result in blindness.
If left untreated in men, it can cause infection of the testes and surrounding tissues called epididymitis, which may possibly create a post-infective obstruction of sperm transport, leading to male infertility problems. It can also cause problems with the prostate, making the process of urination difficult.
Also, in addition to the possible fertility and pregnancy issues that can result from having gonorrhea, there are also a few other factors to take in to account. This includes the gonorrhea spreading to blood or joints and becoming life threatening. Also, those who are infected with this disease are at a much greater risk of contracting HIV, which, of course, is the virus that causes AIDS.
This condition is caused by HPV or the Human Papilloma Virus and though it should not have a direct effect on a woman’s ability to conceive, it could have an indirect one. This typically occurs due to the HPV increasing your risk of developing either pre-cancerous or cancerous cells in your cervix, which could lead to cervical cancer, although the strain of HPV that is known to cause genital warts is a low-risk strain of the virus. Genital warts will usually develop between 6 weeks and 6 months after being infected, though it may take even longer. There are usually no real symptoms for genital warts other than the warts themselves. They can grow singly or in clusters, they may cause, itching, redness or discomfort, especially if they are located in the anal area. They can be located anywhere in the genital or anal area, as well as on external surfaces of the body, such as the labia majora of the vagina, the scrotum, anus, penile shaft or head of the penis. They are also found in internal places such as inside of the vagina, in the anus, the opening to the urethra, or on the cervix.
Treatment for genital warts is usually removal of the warts themselves, and can sometimes be done by applying a medicine directly to the warts, although this will depend upon where they are located. Other times, you can get a prescription treatment and use it in the comfort of your home. And there are also the types of treatments that require a physician’s assistance such as, cryotherapy, (freezing them off) treatment with injections of interferon, (which is another type of medication) electro cauterization (burning them off) or removal with surgery or lasers. There is no cure for the HPV virus; however, so future outbreaks could remain a possibility.
This virus which is known to cause AIDS, may have an effect on fertility. This usually involves several factors which can include the following:
- Long intervals between your periods instead of regularity
- Missed periods with no pregnancy
- Can affect your body’s ability to produce the hormones progesterone and oestrogen (an entire class of related hormones that include oestriol, oestradiol and oestrone) which can affect your ability to actually become pregnant or cause early menopause, eliminating your chance of conceiving at all.
Treatment for HIV involves the taking of certain medications, and though there is no cure, it can help a person to live a long life. If you are attempting to become pregnant, you can also take HRT or hormone replacement therapy in an attempt to prevent or lessen some of the symptoms of menopause. Hormone replacement therapy is not recommended for long periods of time, however, as it can increase the risk of developing certain other conditions, such as breast cancer.
This STD is caused by a tiny organism that is called, Trichomonas vaginalis, and is the most common curable sexually transmitted disease. This particular condition usually does have more symptoms and obvious signs in both men and women, and usually takes somewhere between 5 and 28 days to show up.
- Discomfort or pain during intercourse
- Greenish-yellow frothy discharge from the vagina with a strong smell to it
- Vaginal itching and/or irritation
- Lower abdominal pain
- Pain during urination
In men, the symptoms will include the following:
- Slight burning after either ejaculation or urination
- Irritation inside of the penis
- Mild discharge
Treatment for this disease is usually an oral antibiotic called metronidazole or Flagyl.
This disease causes a vaginal infection that appears to play a significant part in the area of infertility. The infection of the cervical canal keeps sperm transport from occurring due to toxic metabolic products of this particular organism, along with intrauterine infection that results in meager, sub-optimal development of the endometrium, which can cause repeated issues with assisted reproductive technology procedures, as well as negatively affecting the development of the uterine lining.