The Impact of STDs on Your Reproductive Health

When you find out you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), it’s natural to feel a range of emotions including fear, anger, shock, and confusion as you ponder how this disease will affect your life. Many women worry about talking to future partners about their STD. You may also wonder if it might affect your reproductive health

The truth is that the impact of an STD on your reproductive health depends on which STD you have and how early it was detected. That’s why getting regular gynecological care and STD screenings as recommended is so important to your health. 

At the practice of Kelly Morales, MD, in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Morales offers compassionate and confidential STD testing and treatment as well as counseling about how your STD may affect your reproductive health. To help you better understand how certain STDs impact fertility, our team has created this informative guide. 

Take a moment to learn more about STDs and their connection to your reproductive health. 

What do I need to know about STDs?

Talking to Dr. Morales about STDs is an important step in learning more about STDs and how they may relate to your life. Here’s a quick overview of some of the key things you need to know about STDs.

STDs are very common

Some women are embarrassed or ashamed of discussing STDs, diseases which are caused by infections transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sexual intercourse. However, these infections are extremely common. 

Worldwide, one million STDs are acquired every day, and over 2 million new cases of STDs are reported each year in the United States alone. Teenagers and young adults under 25 make up over 50% of Americans affected.

There are many types of STDs

More than 25 types of STDs exist. Each type is caused by a different bacterium or virus and may require different types of treatment. 

Dr. Morales provides expert testing and diagnosis of STDs, including:

STD testing is essential

The only way to guarantee you won’t get an STD is abstinence. Since most people don’t abstain from sexual intercourse for their lifetime, nearly everyone is at risk at some point. Since some STDs don’t have obvious symptoms and can lead to serious complications, STD testing is essential for early diagnosis and treatment.

How can STDs impact my reproductive health?

Different STDs influence your fertility differently. Some STDs don’t have noticeable or identifiable symptoms, causing some women to live with an STD for years without knowing it. 

This increases your risk of developing serious complications, such as infertility. Early detection can prevent infertility and maintain your reproductive health. Here’s a closer look at the STDs most often linked to reproductive health:

Chlamydia

While chlamydia itself doesn’t cause infertility, many women diagnosed with chlamydia develop a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID occurs when the infection spreads and can impact the health of your reproductive organs such as the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. When not treated early with antibiotics, PID can lead to infertility.

Gonorrhea

Women with gonorrhea often don’t have symptoms, giving the infection time to negatively impact the urethra, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Women with symptoms may have spotting between periods, burning during urination, or unusual vaginal discharge.

When it’s not treated, gonorrhea increases your risk of developing PID, which increases your risk of infertility. It can also cause scarring in your fallopian tubes, making it more difficult to conceive. STD testing is the best way to get early treatment and preserve your fertility. 

HPV (human papillomavirus)

HPV is actually a group of more than 150 viruses and is the most common STD in the US. Some types of HPV can cause cancer to develop in your reproductive organs. When HPV leads to cancer of the vulva or cervix, the risk of infertility increases.

If you’re concerned about STDs or have questions about an existing STD’s impact on your reproductive health, don’t wait to seek medical attention. Contact Dr. Morales at our San Antonio office by calling 210-570-7277.

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