What is an STD?
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD), or to give them their proper medical name Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), are one of the most common problems that stop men and women from being able to have children. Most people have heard about the common STDs like herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis, but there actually more than 25 different infections that you could pick up. Any of these could have a potential effect on either the man’s or woman’s fertility.
What are the chances of having a STD?
Studies have shown that almost 1 in every 2 sexually active people will contract an STD during their lifetime and because many STDs don’t show any symptoms, many people won’t even know they have one. So if you’ve ever had unprotected sex, you have a chance of having contracted one.
The most common STD in the UK and America is chlamydia and there is a myth that it only makes women infertile. This is not true; chlamydia can make men infertile as well!
Many STD’s don’t have any symptoms, so the only real way you know if you have one is by getting yourself tested. But some do show some symptoms, so if you have any of the following you should definitely get yourself checked out:
- Look for unusual discharge from your vagina, penis or anus
- Itches, rashes, lumps or blisters around your genital area or anus
- Pain or burning when you go to the toilet
- Bleeding and/or pain during or after sex
- Bleeding when it is not your period
- Pain in your testicles
- Pain in your lower stomach
I recommend you visit your local Sexual Health or GUM Clinic (GUM stands for Genito-Urinary Medicine) where the staff can talk you through all the possibilities. The service is confidential (you don’t even need to give your real name) and there is no need to be embarrassed as the staff are trained to be understanding and always act with professionalism.
To find your local clinic, Google “sexual health clinic” with where you live.
This depends which STD you have picked up. Chlamydia for example is treated with a simple course of antibiotics if caught early enough. However all STD’s can cause permanent infertility over time if they are left untreated, while others may require you to have fertility treatment in order for you to have children.
Because there are many types of STD and the damage they do gets worse with time, if you have or have had an STD, you are best speaking to the people at your local clinic so they can advise you on your specific situation.
STD Associated Problems
If you are a man, you may also want to read up on the following conditions that can be related to STDs:
If you are a woman, you may also want to read up on the following condition that can be related to STDs:
If you live in the UK, to find out more about testing and to find your local clinic click on this link to the NHS website: NHS Visiting an STI Clinic.
It is not just sexually transmitted infections that can cause fertility problems, infections that are spread through other methods can also impact both men and women’s fertility. Find out more about these in the section: Infections and Diseases that Affect Fertility