Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
Our overall health is important; there is no doubt about it. We pay close attention to our physical and mental health, but it is easy to turn a blind eye to certain elements, particularly those conditions and topics more taboo than others.
Sexual health, for example. We all endured the often cringe-worthy lessons in school, alongside those talks with our parents. While nothing is embarrassing about being sexually active, there are often gaps in our knowledge regarding this type of thing.
That is where we come into things. Within this blog, we will discuss STDs and how they can cause infertility when left untreated.
What’s more, you will find advice and tips on preventing STDs and promoting safe sex while minimising the chances of you experiencing infertility. You can expect to find the following within this piece:
- What is Infertility?
- Male Infertility
- Causes of Male Infertility
- How to Treat Infertility Caused by STDs
Let’s jump right in, shall we?
What Is Infertility?
First thing’s first, it is best for us to address what infertility is. Infertility, also known as Subfertility, is the condition in which there is a failure to achieve pregnancy within a twelve-month window while having unprotected sex.
This is a condition that affects the reproductive systems in both men and women, but for the purpose of this piece, we will be focusing on infertility within men.
Infertility is a common condition, affecting approximately one in eight couples in the US. Concerning male infertility, the condition affects approximately 9.4% of the male population according to statistics published by the Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology journal.
Various factors cause infertility in men; the most common include the following:
Semen and Sperm
Infertility in men is often the result of low-quality semen. This can result from a low sperm count - either as a result of low levels of sperm or none present at all – sperm that are not moving in the way they should be, or sperm that are an abnormal shape.
Each of these factors can heavily impact the chances of pregnancy, for the sperm cannot reach the egg properly. Generally speaking, each of these factors can be challenging to determine without the opinion and assistance of a medical professional. If you or a spouse feel there are complications with these types of things, it is recommended to go and see your doctor to discuss the causes and solutions.
It is common knowledge that the testicles are the body part that produces and store a man’s sperm. There is no surprise that if there is a condition affecting your testicles or damage to this area of your body, you will most likely experience issues surrounding infertility.
Testicular cancer, surgeries relating to the testicles, and any infections relating to your genital area will impact the quality of your sperm.
It goes without saying, but if you have undergone a Vasectomy, you will most likely be experiencing troubles with infertility. Vasectomies are often completed when a man does not want children or does not want anymore.
Vasectomies are the process by which the tubes carrying sperm out of your testicle are tied; your semen will have no sperm in it.
That said, a vasectomy is not 100% guaranteed to prevent conception as this case study shows.
However, the procedure does have a good success rate and in any case vasectomies can be reversed.
A common factor contributing to male infertility, ejaculation disorders make it more difficult for men to ejaculate semen during a sexual experience.
There can be numerous reasons why a man is experiencing an ejaculation disorder, including both physical and psychological reasons.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
STDs are more common than most people believe and can contribute greatly to the fertility levels in a man. Leaving an STD untreated is both detrimental to your own health but to your sexual partner/s as well which can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). While it can be embarrassing to admit that you have an STD and to seek treatment for it, you should make every effort to do so as soon as possible.
It is estimated there are seven main culprits which can affect infertility. This includes the following:
This is one of the most common STDs in the United Kingdom and is the most common STD caused by bacteria. Although this is one of the most common STDs, it is hard to know whether you have it or not; those with Chlamydia often do not have any symptoms.
When left untreated, Chlamydia can indeed affect your fertility levels. The infection affects the motility and quality of your sperm, making it far more difficult to conceive.
Another STD that is caused by bacteria and another STD that can be hard to pinpoint. You guessed it; most people with Gonorrhoea do not know they have it due to a lack of symptoms.
While both of these bacterial STDs can be treated with a course of medication, if left untreated for a prolonged period of time, you run the risk of developing what is known as Epididymitis. This condition causes inflammation of the tubes that store and transports sperm out of the testicles.
Another commonly found STD, and one that is just as severe as our previous mentions is genital herpes. Unfortunately, unlike our previous mentions, this particular STD cannot be treated with medication but instead tends to clear up on its own. At the same time, the virus that forms the initial blisters remains in the body and can result in blisters forming again in the future.
Although the infection tends to clear up by itself, studies have found that genital herpes considerably impacts the sperm count of men experiencing this condition, and as a result herpes has a negative impact on male fertility.
Overall, when having sex with a new or casual partner, you should make it a top priority to undergo a full sexual health check. At the same time, ensure you are using barrier forms of contraception; hormonal contraception is not enough to prevent STDs.
How To Treat Infertility Caused By STDs
If you are suffering from the symptoms of infertility and think you may have an STD you need to go to seek medical advice for treatment, this may require a trip to a Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinic who will diagnose the condition and more than likely prescribe antibiotics.
During your course of treatment it is imperrative that you do not have unprotective sex with a partner.
Once your treatment has finished you may wish to take a fertility test to see if you can conceive a child.
However, you could look in to other areas that can help you improve your natural rate of fertility.
This could include improving your dietary choices, including exercise in to your daily habits, getting more sleep or reducing alcohol intake. Ensure that when you are ready to conceive that the woman is also in her fertility window, the point at which she is most fertile. If you are finding it difficult, you can try using Fertiligy, the unique formula includes a wealth of concentrated, proven micronutrients, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and plant extracts to enhance your fertility levels.
In conclusion, three of the most common STD's can cause infertility. Alarmingly, two of them do not often show symptoms so you can be infected and infect others without knowing.
This can have profound concequenses for you and your partner, either in the present or the future.
If you are showing the symptoms of infertility and cannot seem to pinpoint the issue but suspect you may have an STD you need to seek treatment and then look to ensure your lifestyle is as healthy as possible, and use a natural supplement to improve your fertility rate.