Can STIs Cause Infertility?

two STIs linked to infertility

Did you know that one of the leading causes of preventable infertility is STIs?

Undetected chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause infertility. Chlamydia and gonorrhea cause at least 24,000 cases of preventable infertility every year.

STI Symptoms

The symptoms of chlamydia and gonorrhea often go unnoticed in women. Many women mistake chlamydia and gonorrhea symptoms as a UTI – if they even notice symptoms at all. Symptoms of an STI include:

  • Spotting between periods
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pain while urinating

What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?

PID is an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs. The symptoms of PID are often unrecognized by many women.

Symptoms of PID include:

  • Pain in your lower abdomen
  • Heavier than normal vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Fever
  • Painful urination or sexual intercourse

How Do Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Cause Infertility?

If chlamydia and gonorrhea are left untreated, they can move up the genital tract and cause PID. Ten to fifteen percent of untreated women with chlamydia will develop PID, according to the CDC.

PID can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes and uterus. When the fallopian tube is scarred, it becomes harder for the egg to meet the sperm because the scar tissue can block its way.

In addition, scarring of the fallopian tubes increases your risk of an ectopic pregnancy. The fertilized egg can get trapped in the fallopian tube’s scar tissue. Ectopic pregnancies can be life threatening if they’re not treated.

STIs can be scary and embarrassing. Your compassionate healthcare providers at All About Women are here to answer your questions. If you’re concerned that you may have an STI, make an appointment today.

For more information on chlamydia or gonorrhea, read: Silent STIs: Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.